Posted Online: Dec. 11, 2012, 2:39 pm

CBHC names Karen Metcalf as Volunteer of the Year

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Press release submitted by Campaign for Better Health Care

2012 Volunteer of the Year

Quad Cities - The Campaign for Better Health Care (CBHC), Illinois' largest grassroots coalition representing consumers, health care workers and providers, community organizations, seniors, religious, labor, disability rights organizations and other citizens concerned about health care and wellness named Karen Metcalf of Progressives for the Common Good their 2012 Vounteer of the Year.

The Volunteer of the Year award, which is given each year to an outstanding and dedicated volunteer who has donated countless hours to advocate for health care reform. Karen will receive the award at CBHC's Annual Meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 11, 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Illinois Institute of Technology - Hermann Hall 3241 S. Federal, Chicago 60616.

"I am so proud that Karen Metcalf was selected for the award for her volunteer work with Progressive Action for the Common Good as well as with our Faith Caucus Steering Committee. Her willingness to go above and beyond for this cause is inspiring, and recognition of her work is long overdue," said Laura Leon, Director of Faith Initiatives for CBHC. "Karen has also hosted forums and public meetings, including a summit with Reverend Linda Walling, Executive Director of Faithful Reform."

Metcalf, who says that health care reform is "cause of my life," lives in Bettendorf, Iowa, part of the Illinois-Iowa area known as the Quad Cities. She is married to a pediatrician who has practiced in Silvis, Illinois for 18 years and who spent many years training and practicing in England and Canada. Their experiences in those countries have driven them to advocate for health care justice in the U.S. "When I returned to the U.S. in 1994, I began to realize the depth and breadth of the insecurity that most Americans felt about health care, … so I began to speak and write about the issue of health care justice."

"My concern turned to outrage in 2004, when I learned of the report from the Institute of Medicine that estimated that 18,000 people were dying annually because their lack of health insurance kept them from getting timely health care. Those were unnecessary and preventable deaths, and we needed a public policy that would get people adequate health care coverage so that they could access appropriate care" Metcalf said.

The Health Care Justice Awards are given during CBHC's Annual Meeting, the campaign's biggest event of the year. Guest speakers at this year's event will include Congresswoman Donna Edwards (MD-4) and Illinois State Senator Dave Koehler, insurance industry expert and writer Wendell Potter, Dave Chandra from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Michael Gelder from the Illinois Department of Insurance, State Representative Robyn Gabel, kathy Chan from the Illinois Maternal & Child Health Coalition,

At the 2012 Annual Meeting, an award ceremony will take place to honor five outstanding individuals or organizations in the categories of National Health Care Legislative Leader of the Year, Health Care Provider of the Year, Best Investigative Health Care Reporting, Volunteer of the Year, National Health Care Justice Leader of the Year. The recipients of the awards represent some of the hardest workers in the fight for justice and equality in the health care system.

"Karen is the definition of dedication. The Faith Caucus cannot thank her enough for her past and future efforts." CBHC Faith Caucus chairperson Rev. Larry Greenfield said he is "I am very pleased Mrs. Metcalf is being acknowledged, and can't think of another person more deserving of this award."

"Working with Illinois policymakers including Barack Obama, she has always passionately advocated for those among us who have suffered a loss due to being underinsured or uninsured. I am honored to work with her, and delighted to present her with this award," concluded Leon.