Green Festival Speakers

Vanessa Beck, MSW


Vanessa Beck became a healthcare activist five years ago, motivated by her own struggles to obtain care for a chronic condition. She was searching for the care she needed in the short-term, and for a long-term solution for uninsured, under-insured and un-insurable people like herself. That is when she discovered Healthcare-NOW.org, a national organization fighting for single-payer national healthcare, and House Bill 676, the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act. Heartened, especially after Michael Moore’s SiCKO was released, Vanessa became a fighter, and with other activists, co-founded the grassroots group Chicago Single-Payer Action Network (ChiSPAN) in the summer of 2004. ChiSPAN is dedicated to fighting for national healthcare through action and education.

Representing ChiSPAN, Vanessa has spoken about single-payer and healthcare disparities at numerous universities and rallies across Chicago and in Champaign, IL. In Chicago, Vanessa has helped organize rallies, protests and a sit-in as part of the national campaign of civil disobedience for single-payer in 2009. Vanessa attends University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration. She is a health policy analyst intern at Health and Medicine Policy Research Group where she has been doing research on Medicaid-managed care and the effect it will have on people with disabilities. She also does research and writing for the Elder Economic Security Initiative. Vanessa is an artist and DJ with the Peoples’ DJ Collective. After graduation in spring 2011, Vanessa plans to continue organizing to build the movement for single-payer, both professionally and in the grassroots movement until it is won.