Webinar December 14

12:30pm ET / 9:30am PT

Healthcare at Risk for Immigrant Families: How Major Gaps in States’ Medicaid “Unwinding” Performance Threaten Health and Health Equity

Join the Protecting Immigrant Families Coalition (PIF) and members of PIF’s Medicaid Unwinding Task Force for a discussion about the impact of the Medicaid “unwinding” on immigrant families’ access to healthcare. PIF recently fielded a survey of state advocates to assess how states’ performance in addressing the unique obstacles to enrollment faced by immigrants and their families. Join this webinar to learn more about the threat to immigrant families, what PIF is doing to protect health care access, and how your organization can help. PIF speakers will provide an overview of the findings, and we’ll get a frontline perspective from PIF members.


Adriana Cadena, PIF

Adriana Cadena Headshot

Adriana Cadena joined the Protecting Immigrant Families (PIF) campaign in early 2022 and has led the growth of the PIF campaign to a robust national coalition of over 650 member organizations at the intersection of immigration and public benefits working to increase and expand access for immigrant families. Adriana provides leadership on the coalition’s strategic programmatic direction, policy priorities, community engagement initiatives, coalition building, narrative building, and operations. Adriana drives PIF strategic planning with engagement from PIF’s Executive Committee, Steering Committee, and general membership. In addition, she is responsible for fundraising to achieve PIF’s vision, mission, and goals.

Sonya Schwartz, PIF

Sonya Schwartz leads the Protecting Immigrant Families Coalition’s administrative advocacy efforts and coordinates the coalition’s Policy Legal Working Group.

Sonya’s work includes advising the coalition on its public charge advocacy strategy; drafting key comments and policy recommendations on improving immigrants and their families’ access to health and anti-poverty programs; and coordinating our efforts with partner organizations.

Sonya is a public policy consultant who has spent more than twenty years advocating to end poverty and improve access to health care. Sonya most recently served as a Senior Policy Attorney at the National Immigration Law Center, and Co-Chair of the Protecting Immigrant Families Campaign. Sonya has also served as a Research Fellow and Faculty Member at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy; a Program Director at the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP); and worked at Families USA and FRAC (both active members of PIF) early in her career.

Sonya holds a JD from the UCLA School of Law Program in Public Interest Law and Policy, and a BA in political science and Italian from Middlebury College.

Justin Gust, El Centro, Kansas

Justin Gust started with El Centro in 2014 as a Health Navigator in El Centro’s Olathe office. He now serves as Vice President of Community Engagement and was previously the Director of Community Health, overseeing El Centro’s Health Navigation Program, ¡Inscríbase! (Get Enrolled!) project, and ¡Vacúnate! (Get Vaccinated!) projects. A native of Olathe, KS, Mr. Gust graduated from Kansas State University in 2012 with a BA in Social Work and is completing his Masters of Social Work at the University of Missouri in Kansas City. He is certified in Patient Navigation through the Harold P. Freeman Patient Navigation Institute, has completed over 120 hours of Advanced Medical Interpreting courses, and has been a Navigator and Certified Application Counselor for the Health Insurance Marketplace since its implementation. He has served as Vice President on the Board of Directors for the Coalition of Hispanic Women Against Cancer. Justin’s passion to work with the Latino, immigrant population began while serving with different organizations in Mexico, from volunteering as an interpreter to helping with community development and health education programs.

Vanessa Zapata, Tennessee Justice Center

Vanessa is the Director of Health Policy and Equity at the Tennessee Justice Center. Vanessa started at TJC as a legal intern while in law school, and then served as Vanderbilt’s George Barrett Social Justice Legal Fellow. As a Staff Attorney, Vanessa provides direct legal services to low income Tennesseans who face challenges to accessing the public benefits to which they are entitled, by representing them through the administrative process and litigation. Vanessa’s practice in public benefits law is focused on nutrition and healthcare. As the Director of Health Policy and Equity, Vanessa provides legal advice by interpreting current and proposed laws and regulations impacting TJC’s clients, and crafts legal strategies to promote health equity, strengthen and expand the availability of healthcare, and remove barriers that prevent TJC clients from accessing safety net programs in Tennessee.

Vanessa has a B.A. from Mount Holyoke College and a J.D. from Vanderbilt University Law School. She was admitted to the Tennessee bar in 2019 and was admitted to the New York bar in 2022.

Kate Purrington, Health Law Advocates, Massachusetts

Kate Purrington is the Supervising Attorney for Public Programs Advocacy at Health Law Advocates in Boston, MA. Kate represents clients in public health insurance, medical debt, and other health access matters and manages HLA’s public health insurance advocacy. She has expertise in immigrant eligibility for Medicaid.

Before joining HLA, Kate was an Equal Justice Works Fellow at Lenox Hill Neighborhood House in New York City, where she helped immigrant clients access health care and resolve medical debt