WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today Families USA announced that Sherry Hirota is the winner of its Health Equity Health Advocate of the Year award. She has been a leader in working with immigrant communities to access and maintain health care coverage and has led #Onenationaapi to defeat the dangerous and un-American Public Charge Rule and shift the narrative about health care coverage for immigrants.

Each year at its Health Action conference, Families USA recognizes the efforts state and community leaders make in advancing social justice through health care advocacy. Awards are presented in recognition of Families USA’s four core areas of focus: Health Equity, Health Care Value, Coverage, and Consumer Engagement. The recipients, selected for their exemplary work in championing for better health care in their respective communities, will be honored at an awards luncheon during the 2019 Health Action Conference on Friday, Jan. 25 at the Hyatt Regency Washington. The recipients’ bios can be found here.

Hirota is chief executive officer of Asian Health Services an Oakland, California based Community Health Center and advocacy organization. An advocate and pioneer in the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) health movement, she has championed underserved communities for 40 years. She advises Congressional leaders on various health issues such as language access and cultural competence, and eligibility criteria for indigent care population-based medically underserved designations. And as a leader of movements to expand health access for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, Hirota has created positive change in California and across the nation.

“This recognition from Families USA comes at the perfect moment to bring together communities across the country around health care for all and while stopping Public Charge which threatens health care for immigrants,” Hirota said.

Patrick Willard, senior director of state and national strategic partnerships at Families USA said, “Sherry Hirota’s deep passion for underserved populations marries beautifully with her commitment to ensure health care is seen as a right, not a privilege. It is our delight to recognize her tremendous work.”

Other awardees are: Brian Johns, executive director, Virginia Organizing, for Health Coverage; and Cara Stewart, health law fellow, Kentucky Equal Justice Center, for Consumer Engagement; and Maura Collinsgru, health care program director, New Jersey Citizen Action, for Health Care Value.

Families USA is a bipartisan public interest group that has been fighting for health care consumers since 1981. Its Health Action Conference, in its 24th year, is an annual national grassroots health care conference that gathers consumer health care activists, health care professionals, advocates, policymakers, policy experts, and media to confer on the nation’s health care agenda. Families USA is excited to welcome Maryland Attorney General Brian FroshSister Simone Campbell, Executive Director of NETWORK; Stacey Abrams, Founder, Fair Fight; Chirlane McCray, First Lady of New York City and Founder of Thrive NYC; and Rep. Sharice Davids (D-KS-3) as keynote speakers.

While conference registration is closed, individuals who are interested in attending can register at the onsite registration desk starting Wednesday, January 23 at 5:00 pm. Members of the media may request a press pass via email at press@familiesusa.org.