Mary Beth Donahue has been tapped to lead the Better Medicare Alliance’s (BMA) community of 160 ally organizations and more than 500,000 grassroots advocates supporting Medicare Advantage.

BMA announced on Monday that Mary Beth Donahue will take over as president and CEO of the research and advocacy agency later this summer. She will replace the organization’s founding president and CEO, Congresswoman Allyson Y. Schwartz, who announced plans earlier this year to leave the BMA after more than six years of leadership.

Donahue brings to the role nearly a decade of leadership in public service at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), culminating as Chief of Staff to HHS Secretary Donna E. Shalala during the critical early days of Medicare Advantage as “Medicare+Choice. 

Most recently, Donahue served as executive director of Kidney Care Partners, a coalition of patient advocates, dialysis professionals, care providers, researchers, and manufacturers dedicated to improving quality of care for individuals living with kidney diseases.

A leader in patient advocacy and health equity, Donahue has additionally served on the board of directors for Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a national nonprofit dedicated to empowering children to develop lifelong healthy habits. She recently completed six years of service as an advisory council member to the Cancer Support Community.

Donahue is also the past executive vice president of advocacy and operations of AHIP. She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Boston College and a master’s degree in public policy from Georgetown University’s McCourt School where she recently served on the Alumni Board of Directors.

“Having been part of the senior leadership team at HHS during Medicare Advantage’s earliest days when it was signed into law, the opportunity to serve as president and CEO of the Better Medicare Alliance is truly a full-circle moment,” said Donahue in the announcement. “As Americans begin to re-emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, we will ensure that Medicare Advantage is ready and able to help beneficiaries navigate the road ahead while continuing to offer the better outcomes, lower costs, and high satisfaction that are hallmarks of the program today.”