Tennessee Justice Center hires Director of Children’s Health Kinika Young to Protect and Strengthen Children’s Health Safety Net

Kinika Young

Kinika Young

The Tennessee Justice Center (TJC) has hired Kinika Young as Director of Children’s Health. The newly-created position was made possible after the organization was awarded a $200,000 grant from the prestigious David & Lucile Packard Foundation for its “Insuring America’s Children Reaching the Finish Line Project.” Anna Walton has also joined the children’s health team as Health Action Associate

As part of the work funded by the grant, Young will lead TJC’s efforts to protect and improve public health insurance programs that serve over 600,000 Tennessee children, and work to ensure all Tennessee children have access to what they need to grow up healthy. Children with health insurance have better access to care, get better grades, are less likely to intersect with the juvenile justice system, and ultimately have more professional success later in life.

“For me it means an opportunity to make a bigger impact on people’s lives particularly children, I’m excited to be a part of that effort,” said Young.

“We are so thrilled to have Kinika on the team, and for the investment from the David & Lucille Packard Foundation which makes it possible,” said Michele Johnson, TJC’s executive director. “Her experience and passion will make all the difference for Tennessee children. We are so grateful for the opportunity to grow our team to focus specifically on children’s health issues, and will work tirelessly to ensure they have a healthy start and a brighter future.”

Young brings over ten years of experience as an attorney and community leader. She helped to grow the managed care practice group as a partner at Bass, Berry & Sims, PLC in Nashville, where she represented hospitals and other health care providers in disputes against insurance companies. Young brings extensive analytical, advocacy, and management skills along with a passion for health care policy work that will further TJC’s efforts to provide access to affordable health coverage for Tennessee children.

“There is much talk in Washington and in our state about changing or restricting the programs that keep our state’s children healthy,” Young said. “We will work to make sure the voices of real Tennesseans are part of that conversation, and that our system reflects our state’s cherished value to keep our children healthy and give them every opportunity to succeed.”

The Tennessee Justice center is fighting for our American values in terms of what the future holds. Medicaid funding is tied into the efforts that are taking place right now with repealing the Affordable Healthcare Act and that will directly impact children.
“We’re very concerned that people don’t have the information and don’t realize the high stakes of the repealing the ACA,” said Young.

But Young says she is confidant that the system will not fail and that the rest of the government will make the right decision.
“Even if the House passes it we’re hopeful that we can convince our Senators that this is a bad deal for us as American citizens,” Young continued.

TJC also welcomes Walton to the children’s health team as Health Action Associate. Walton studied Political Science with an interdisciplinary concentration in Healthcare Policy at Yale University, focusing on Comparative Effectiveness Research in policy and practice through the Affordable Care Act. She joins TJC as a full-time advocate for children, focusing on content creation and public relations.

Building on the foundation of the organizations past victories fighting to protect Tennesseans’ access to health care, TJC’s children’s health team will focus specifically on protecting children and parents. It will educate Tennesseans and state leaders about the importance of programs on which children rely to stay healthy, such as Medicaid (TennCare), Children’s Health Insurance Program (CoverKids), and Affordable Care Act coverage.

Anyone interested in learning more about Medicaid (locally known as TennCare), the Children’s Health Insurance Program (“CHIP” or locally known as CoverKids), the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) and what is at stake in the future should sign up and listen to the webinar series by visiting Tnjustice.org/help/trainings/.