RVP of Inclusive Policy & Advocacy, Elevance Health
Merrill leads inclusive policy and advocacy for Elevance Health. She works collaboratively with advocates, community leaders, and stakeholders to ensure the diversity of individuals and personal experiences inform Elevance Health’s health benefits approaches and healthcare programs. Ms. Friedman advances the integration of the independent living philosophy, self-determination, lived experience, and person-centeredness along with the National Advisory Board (NAB) on Improving Healthcare Services for Older Adults and People with Disabilities six foundational principles throughout policy, programs, individual interactions, and business practices. In addition, she leads strategic partnerships with national and local organizations to advance access, health equity, and inclusive public policy.
Previously, Ms. Friedman was interim director at a nonprofit foster care agency serving children and adolescents who experienced severe neglect and abuse. She also served as president and chief executive officer of a private organization that owned and operated residential treatment facilities, group homes and home and community-based services in several states for adolescents with mental health conditions, substance use disorders, and intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Ms. Friedman has served on numerous national boards and commissions. She was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities and by Governor Jennifer Granholm to the MI Statewide Independent Living Council where she served as Board Chair. Currently, Ms. Friedman serves on the board of directors for Mental Health America (MHA), the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), the Institute for Exceptional Care (IEC), and EveryLife Foundation, and is an Advisory Board member for Uplift and ADvancing States’ MLTSS Institute.