Empowering Health Care Consumers

Project Title

Cultivating the Next Generation of Consumer Advocates

Grant Amount


Priority Area

Empowering Health Care Consumers

Date Awarded

December 13, 2021




In Progress



New York State is home to some of the most sophisticated and effective consumer health advocates in the nation, yet the number of go-to advocates is small relative to the size and complexity of the State.

In addition to their finite number, many of the State’s most prominent consumer and patient advocates are nearing the later stages of their careers. To prepare for the next generation of consumer advocates, it is time to identify and cultivate dynamic mid-career professionals who represent the geographic, racial, ethnic, and gender diversity of New York State. Investing now in rising consumer advocates will have an enduring impact and help ensure that the State’s health care system evolves and continues to meet community and consumer needs. In 2021, NYSHealth awarded Community Catalyst a grant to implement the New York State Health Consumer Advocacy Fellowship, a leadership development program to train the next generation of professional consumer advocates.

Under this grant, Community Catalyst will develop and implement the New York State Health Consumer Advocacy Fellowship. An inaugural cohort of eight fellows will receive training and professional development to equip them with the skills, tools, and knowledge to collaborate with each other and make meaningful change on behalf of New York’s health care consumers. Community Catalyst will recruit and engage fellows from New York State’s community-based consumer advocacy and health policy organizations. Selected fellows will learn from experts and each other, growing as leaders within their organizations and in their fields of expertise. Fellows will participate in assessments, including an individual strength finder and a racial health and equity tool. They will participate in monthly workshops, led by expert faculty, that focus on personal leadership development skills and technical skills in advocacy, health policy, coalition-building, and stakeholder engagement. Based on the workshop series, fellows will develop and implement individual leadership plans. Each fellow will be assigned a coach with expertise relevant to their goals and priorities. Fellows will then collaborate with leadership and colleagues at their home organizations to implement a capstone advocacy project and close out the fellowship by presenting how they will sustain their work.