Dr. Jennifer Lee serves as a medical analyst for CNN and as an emergency room physician. Previously, Dr. Lee served as the Director of Virginia’s Medicaid agency, where she was responsible for overseeing a $10 billion budget and providing health coverage for over 1 million Virginians. Prior to her role in Virginia, she served as Deputy under Secretary for Health for Policy and Services and Senior Advisor to the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. From 2014-16, Dr. Lee served as Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Resources for Governor Terry McAuliffe. Dr. Lee has also served as a White House Fellow, a health policy fellow on the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and a Policy Research Scholar and Associate Professor at George Washington University. She received her bachelor’s in biophysics and biochemistry from Yale University, her medical degree from Washington University School of Medicine, and completed her residency at Johns Hopkins. She is a board-certified, practicing emergency physician.
The challenge of poverty sometimes seems too daunting to confront and overcome directly, whereas the opioid epidemic simply cannot be ignored. My proposal is to leverage the opioid crisis in communities that have been disproportionately affected to first unite multidisciplinary stakeholders around a common goal—reducing opioid abuse and overdose— but then to build on the momentum of success by providing community coalitions with a toolbox of two-generation approaches that will help lift families out of poverty.