Chuck Grassley

United States Senator from Iowa

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Grassley Announces Health Policy Staff for 116th Congress

Dec 20, 2018

WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, presumptive chairman of the Senate Finance Committee for the 116 Congress, today announced his permanent health policy staff.

Dr. Karen Summar, Director, Health Policy

Evelyn Fortier, General Counsel, Health Policy and Director of Special Projects

Erin Dempsey, Deputy Director, Health Policy

Brett Baker, Senior Advisor, Health Policy

Ryan Martin, Senior Advisor, Human Services Policy

Stuart Portman, Advisor, Health Policy

“Iowans and the American people are fortunate to have an experienced and highly-qualified staff working on their behalf,” Grassley said. “My top priorities in health policy as chairman will include lowering health care costs, including prescription drug costs, improving access to affordable and quality health care, especially in rural America, and increasing competition, transparency and accountability in the public and private sectors of the health care industry. We have the chance to make real progress. I look forward to working with my colleagues on a bipartisan basis to get the job done.”

Summar currently serves as health policy director for Grassley in his personal office and prior to that served as a health policy assistant to Reps. Martha Blackburn and Cathy McMorris Rodgers. Before working on Capitol Hill, Summar served as director of the Jane and Richard Thomas Center for Down Syndrome and worked for thirteen years as a pediatric doctor in Nashville, Tennessee. After receiving her M.D. from the University of Tennessee Center for Health Services, Summar worked for five years as a medical officer in the United States Navy. Summar received her M.S. from Vanderbilt University Medical Center and her B.S. from Middle Tennessee State University. She completed her pediatric residency and developmental pediatric fellowship at Vanderbilt.

Fortier currently serves as chief counsel for justice programs for the majority of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. She has worked in the House and Senate for 18 years in various capacities, including as majority counsel to former Sen. Mike DeWine, the chairman of Judiciary’s Antitrust Subcommittee, counsel to Sen. Roger Wicker, legislative director to former Sen. David Vitter, and general counsel to former Sen. Peter Fitzgerald. Fortier also worked as deputy general counsel for the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and as a vice president for the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. Early in her career, Fortier practiced law in the corporate litigation department of Richards, Layton & Finger, Delaware’s largest law firm. Fortier received her J.D. from the University of Virginia and her A.B. from Harvard University.

Dempsey currently serves as deputy health policy director for the majority on the Senate Committee on Finance and previously served as a senior health policy aide to Sen. John Barrasso and the late Sen. Craig Thomas. Before working on Capitol Hill, Dempsey worked at the Wyoming Department of Health’s substance abuse division. Dempsey received her B.A. from Colorado College.

Baker currently serves as senior health policy advisor for the majority on the Senate Committee on Finance and previously served as a health policy aide for the House Committee on Ways and Means. Before working on Capitol Hill, Baker worked for fifteen years at the American College of Physicians in the governmental affairs and public policy department. Baker received his B.S. from Pennsylvania State University.

Martin currently serves as senior human services advisor for the majority on the Senate Committee on Finance and previously served as a policy aide for the House Committee on Ways and Means. Before working on Capitol Hill, Martin worked in various roles at the Office of Family Assistance in the Health and Human Services Administrator for Children and Families. Martin received his M.P.P. and his B.S. from Brigham Young University.

Portman currently serves as health policy advisor for the majority on the Senate Committee on Finance and previously served as a health policy aide for Sen. Orrin Hatch. He previously worked as a research assistant at the Department of Health Policy and Management at the George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health. Before that, Portman worked at the University of Denver’s Department of Biological Sciences in a forensic genetics laboratory. Portman received his M.P.H. from the George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health and his B.A. from the University of Denver.

The permanent health policy staff will be assisted by other committee staff, detailees and fellows.

Announcements on tax, trade, oversight and investigations and other committee staff will be made in the new year.

After announcing in November that he would opt to serve as chairman of the Senate Finance Committee next Congress, Grassley gave a floor speech outlining his priorities on health care.

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