February 14, 2022
It is with a heavy heart that we share the sad news that Carol A. Lee, Esq., a fierce champion for community health who dedicated herself and her career to addressing disparities in our health care system, passed away earlier this month. Her passing is felt by so many of us in the California Medical Association (CMA) family who had the pleasure and good fortune to work with such an effective and focused advocate, whose work at CMA spanned three decades, from 1986 to 2008.
Carol started her 21 years at CMA by first serving as Associate Director of Government Relations and then was promoted in 1998 to President and CEO of the CMA Foundation. The CMA Foundation, now known as Physicians for a Healthy California, serves as CMA’s charitable arm.
Carol leaves a lasting impression on health care policy in the state, as her work shaped some of the most pressing issues of our time, including patient access to care, universal coverage, managed care reform and medical staff issues, among many others. She helped to lead CMA’s 1992 ballot measure, the Affordable Basic Coverage initiative. Under Carol’s leadership, the CMA Foundation grew to national prominence because of its cutting-edge programs including the Alliance Working for Antibiotic Resistance Education (AWARE), the Network of Ethnic Physician Organizations (NEPO), Obesity Prevention Project and Cervical Cancer and HPV Project. In her work with the Foundation, she was focused on improving community health and addressing health disparities, workforce diversity and patient education.
In her time in CMA’s Center for Government Relations, Carol had an impact on nearly every health care bill before the state legislature. Through advocacy she was a part of, California became the first state to ban in-door smoking, mandate motorcycle helmets, and create a grievance process for HMO enrollees.
“Carol was a great mentor, friend and colleague. Her intellect and sharp sense of humor kept everyone at CMA on their toes,” said CMA CEO Dustin Corcoran. “She will be remembered for her long-lasting contributions to expanding health care coverage and improving physician practice and patient health.”