Board of Directors

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Lawrence Kaplan, MD

Board Chair
A native of Minnesota, Larry is a retired gastroenterologist with a MPA degree in healthcare financing and conflict resolution from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government. He moved to Maine in 2016.

Larry comes to Maine Healthcare Action with multiple perspectives:  Clinical assistant professor of medicine, board member of two major health insurance companies, chairman of a large Twin Cities multi-specialty medical group, President and CEO of MetroWest Medical Center (MA) and 30 years of clinical practice.

Over the past 35 years, Larry has been active in various international medical relief missions in Cambodia, Nicaragua, and India.  After the January 2010 Haitian earthquake, he founded Cite Soleil Opportunity Council, a community development organization in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Betsy Sweet

Betsy Sweet is a life-long human rights activist, political organizer, small business owner and mother.

Betsy has carried that sense of determination with her throughout her adult life. As an advocate for underserved Mainers for almost 40 years, Betsy has been on our side fighting to protect working-class values in Maine’s state budget for 37 years.

She got her start organizing for the Equal Rights Amendment to ensure everyone is on a level playing field, and she learned early on that her life’s passion is doing everything she could to make this world a better place. Betsy went on to serve as program coordinator for the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Executive Director of the Maine Women’s Lobby (where she successfully advocated to raise the minimum wage), Commissioner for Women under Governors Brennan and McKernan, and she was a founding supporter of Equality Maine MLGPA.

Ben Hagopian, MD

Dr. Ben Hagopian is a direct primary care physician at Maine Integrative Family Care in Portland. He received his medical and masters in public health degrees from Case Western Reserve University.

He completed his residency and chief residency in family medicine at Maine Medical Center. He also completed a fellowship in integrative medicine at Maine Medical Center and the Andrew Weil Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona.

He spent 3 years in Oxford County providing holistic primary care services to rural Mainers. Dr. Ben is passionate about health system reform and bringing better health care to more Mainers. He lives with his wife, 2 kids, and Ketchup the dog.

Abbie Ryder

Campaign Manager/Treasurer
Abbie moved to Maine in 2015. She had previously worked as a graphic designer in real estate marketing covering the tri-state area. (NY, NJ, CT)

Since moving to Maine she has committed to working on issues that matter to her. She was a Field Manager for Environment Maine, and Maine Citizens for Clean Elections. The Canvass Director with Maine Votes, collecting signatures for the Stand Up for Students initiative. In 2016 she was a Field Organizer with FairVote Maine on Ranked Choice Voting.

In the Spring of 2017 Abbie started working with Maine AllCare with a focus on universal healthcare. In between she left to work on the People’s Veto for Ranked Choice Voting where she served as the Deputy Field Director. After the June 2018 election she returned to Maine AllCare as the Field Director until November 2020. She has now has taken on the role as Campaign Manager for Maine Health Care Action, where she is whole heartedly dedicated in bringing universal healthcare to Maine.

Contact: abbie.ryder@mainehealthcareaction.org

William Clark, MD

Dr. William Clark graduated from Harvard Medical School. He served in the Epidemic Intelligence Service at the CDC, and did a fellowship in Health Services Research at Harvard School of Public Health.

At Cambridge Hospital 1971-1987, he directed the Medicine Residency and was the Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard. Dr. Clark practiced general medicine in Bath and was Medical Director of the Addiction Resource Center in Brunswick (1987-2005).

He is a founding member of the Academy on Communication in Healthcare, President from 2005-2007, and was managing editor of DocCom: An interactive e-learning resource for Healthcare Communications.

Oren Gersten, MD

Dr. Oren Gersten is a board certified family doctor who brings his passion for caring for people and building community to Portland Direct Primary Care.

Raised in the Rocky Mountains of Montana and Wyoming, he developed a love for the outdoors, which eventually led him to Portland, Maine. He completed Medical School at the University of Washington, which is consistently ranked as the top medical school for training primary care doctors. He chose Maine Medical Center in Portland for residency due to its excellent reputation for training well rounded family doctors who are ready to take on any challenge.

During residency he also completed an extra 200-hour integrative medicine curriculum, which trains physicians to look at the whole person and acknowledges the incredible healing power of complementary approaches to health in addition to traditional western medical approaches.

He founded Portland Direct Primary Care with the mission of creating an environment where excellent communication between the patient and their doctor leads to understanding of personal health and empowerment to change lives for the better.

Alex Newell Taylor

A lifelong summer resident, Alex made the permanent move to Maine in 2019. After a career in education and non-profit management, Alex turned her attention to the political landscape after the election of 2016. She was a founding member of Women’s March Florida, and served as the Vice President of the state Executive Board.

In 2018, Alex was the Deputy Director of Voter Engagement for the Second Chances Florida/Amendment 4 campaign, which successfully passed with 64.5% approval. Amendment 4 restored voting rights to 1.4 million people with previous felony convictions- the largest increase in US voting access since the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Prior to qualifying for the ballot, the campaign collected over 1.1 million petition signatures.

Currently, Alex works as a distributed organizer for a national union, with a focus on healthcare justice. She is also the Executive Director of Summer Festival of the Arts, an arts education nonprofit serving the MDI area.

Alex is a graduate of the New Leaders Council and a magna cum laude graduate of Emory University. She lives in Southwest Harbor with her toddler, husband, and dog.

Lisa Savage

Lisa Savage was born in Bangor in 1956 and recently retired from teaching in Maine public schools for 25 years. There she witnessed the catastrophic effects on K-12 education for students whose families lack adequate healthcare. As a small business owner in Skowhegan prior to becoming an educator, she experienced first hand the financial challenge of providing health insurance for her own family and for employees. She is a vigorous advocate for universal health care and housing as human rights, and a Green New Deal to create jobs addressing climate justice.

As a founding member of the Maine Natural Guard she has worked for years to help people connect the dots between the health crisis of climate change and the Pentagon’s immense carbon footprint. She has twice been the recipient of Peace Action Maine’s annual peacemaker award, and as an ally of Maine-Wabanaki REACH she participated in the successful campaign to prohibit Native-themed school mascots. A published author, she blogs at Went 2 the Bridge.

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