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On Dec. 12, a group of health care professionals met at the office of Dr. Tessa Fisher to release a statement – signed by fifty-six health care providers – endorsing Democratic candidate Robyn Gabel for State Representative in the 18th District.  Ms. Gabel is one of five candidates running to replace Representative Julie Hamos, who is running for Congress.  

The event organizer, Dr. Elizabeth Feldman, noted in her opening remarks that “Robyn is the best among very interesting and progressive group of candidates.  Her distinguishing characteristic is her tremendous amount of experience.”   Her experience includes working for Planned Parenthood, six years as co-director of the Chicago Women’s Health Center, and over twenty years as the Executive Director of the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition. One endorser, registered nurse Deb Wolen, recalled that “she met Robyn in 1977 when we were educating women on sexual health in a storefront in Chicago.”  

In her remarks, Robyn thanked the group and told them that she talked about her hopes should she win the election.  “Thanks to President Obama and his effort to pass national health care reform for the first time in many years we can begin to provide health care to everybody.”  She observed that successful health care reform would require significant effort on the part of the states to make sure it was properly implemented.  “Quality health care for everybody has been my passion and I look forward to continue being at the front lines of this issue as your next state representative.”

As doctors, nurses, dentists, therapists, and other health professionals, we are devoted to ensuring the well-being of our patients.  But public health depends on more than the devotion and skills of health care providers; it requires leaders in the public sector who provide the vision for a society where quality health care is available for everyone, and the resources to make that vision a reality. Robyn Gabel has been such a leader and that is why we are endorsing her.  

Robyn’s accomplishments are substantial.  She was the driving force in the creation of the Kid Care program (now called All Kids) that guarantees access to health insurance for every child in Illinois.  Robyn helped conceive the idea for All Kids, spent years building the coalition that could pass the program, and then spent years ensuring that Illinois implemented it fully.  It is this type of sustained commitment that is needed to get things done in Springfield; Robyn has demonstrated that she has the dedication and experience to accomplish important and difficult tasks.  

Among her many other accomplishments: Robyn led the campaign to reduce the amount of lead that children are exposed to in urban environments; she successfully fought to get dental care for low-income adults; she secured optometric care for hundreds of thousands of Illinois residents; and she has supported expanding health centers in schools, creating access to medical, mental and dental health care for underserved youth who often forgo necessary services.  

Robyn worked with then-State Senator Barack Obama to pass the Health Care Justice Act that developed a plan for universal health care.  Many of these ideas are now part of President Obama’s efforts to reform health care at the national level. In these tough times, Illinois needs leaders who are willing to make difficult choices to improve our lives.  Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky has endorsed Robyn Gabel, knowing that Robyn has demonstrated that she has the experience, integrity, and commitment to be a superb State Representative. We, the undersigned health care professionals, are honored to strongly endorse Robyn Gabel.   

Elizabeth Feldman, MD, FAAFP
Shoshana Elkin Waskow, MD, FAAP
Michael Slater, MD, FAAEM
Elysa Barack Fisher, MD
Chester S. Handelman, DMD
Phyllis J. Handelman
Margaret Wiedmann, MD
Lucy Fox, MD
Irene Elkin, PhD
Eleanor Smith, MD
Stacey L. Johnson, LCSW
Cecilia Ackmann, RN, APN
Joe Feinglass PhD
Susan Moss, MA, LSW
Andrea Kuebbeler, LCSW
Audrey Stillerman, MD
David Freedman, MD, MPH
Heidi Britton, MPH
Zena Handlon, LCSW
Mandy Gittler, MD
Nancy Fritz, MD
Deborah Wolen, RN, APN
Janelle Landis Kheshgi, APN, CNM, IBCLC
Edward Pont, MD
Nancy T. Segall, LCSW
Kathy Swartwout, PhD, APN, FNP-BC
Steven Fox, MD
Jane Perrin, MD
Stacie E. Geller, PhD
Terri Kapsalis, Health Educator
Carol Wardlaw RN MSN APN
Julie Russell, RN
Adina Kleiman, PhD
Judy Teibloom-Mishkin, RN, IBCLC
Vivien Eisenberg, MD
Samuel Dorevitch, MD
Andrea Gundersen, MA, CMT
Rachel Abramson, RN, MS, IBCLC
Frederic M Ettner, MD
Randi Ettner, PhD
Linda Edelstein, PhD
Tina Escobar, RN
Ellen Mason, MD
Mary Driscoll, RN, BSN
Rhona Jacobs, RNH.
Garry Gardner, MD
Loretta Lattyak, BSN
Dennis Vickers, MD
Jan Fowler, BSN
Tessa Fischer, MD
Arthur Hoffman, MD
Betty Van Leuven, MD
Michael Puisis, DO
Amy Steinhauer, AM, LCSW, ACSW
Maurice Lemon, MD
Catherine Kallal, MD
Jorge Kurganoff, MD