Meredith Ponder Whitmire is the Federal Policy and Media Coordinator for the Elder Justice Coalition based in Washington, D.C.
At the Elder Justice Coalition, Meredith supports the work of over 3,000 individuals and organizations dedicated to fighting elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. In addition to Meredith’s role at the Elder Justice Coalition, she also serves in leadership roles at Matz, Blancato, and Associates and the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs.
In each of her roles, Meredith provides policy analysis and direction for advocacy on a wide variety of aging topics, including nutrition, elder justice, and access to community-based services. Meredith has been a member of UnitedHealthcare’s National Advisory Board (Board) for over two years and believes that “as the population ages and becomes more diverse, it’s important to make sure that all voices are heard in the health care system and the Board is an important step toward that goal.”
Meredith notes that the value of the Board to her and her work is based on “having the opportunity to engage not only with other aging and disability organizations, but also with people directly affected by the choices we make and policies we support”. For her, the work of the Board to raise awareness of elder abuse for those in the health care system was pivotal. In addition, the Board’s current focus on person-centered care and creating a culture of access complements her work at the Elder Justice Coalition.
“Listening more to consumers and incorporating person-centered care into the health care system is incredibly important because it informs policies that lift up all individuals, not just those who have the privileges of good health, a good community, or a good support system,” Meredith argues.
When asked what impact the Board has had on the overall health system, Meredith notes, “I think that slowly but surely ideas championed by the Board are finding their way into the health care system at large, particularly a culture of access and person-centered care”. Meredith uses the deliverables developed by the Board to inform her own policy priorities and also widely distributes them to her Coalition members.