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Nancy Altman, Christine Baker, Jacob Hacker, and Lisa Mensah Elected to NASI Board of Directors


For Release:
May 1, 2008
Contact: Jill Braunstein at (202) 452-8097

WASHINGTON, DC–The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) has elected Nancy Altman, Christine Baker, Jacob Hacker, and Lisa Mensah to four-year terms on its Board of Directors.

“The Academy is pleased that these four distinguished individuals have joined its Board of Directors, said NASI President Margaret Simms. “They bring with them a wealth of leadership experience and diverse substantive expertise in the various aspects and politics of social insurance and related issues, including Social Security, Workers’ Compensation, health insurance, pensions, savings, and finance.”

Nancy J. Altman has a thirty-year background in the areas of private pensions and Social Security. She is currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Pension Rights Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the protection of beneficiary rights. She is the author of The Battle for Social Security: From FDR’s Vision to Bush’s Gamble (2005). From 1983 to 1989, Ms. Altman was on the faculty of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and taught courses on private pensions and Social Security at the Harvard Law School. In 1982, she was Alan Greenspan’s assistant in his position as chairman of the bipartisan commission that developed the 1983 Social Security amendments. From 1977 to 1981, she was a legislative assistant to Senator John C. Danforth (R-Mo), and advised the Senator with respect to Social Security issues. From 1974 to 1977, she was a tax lawyer with Covington & Burling, where she handled a variety of private pension matters. A founding member of the National Academy of Social Insurance, she is also a member of NASI's founding Board of Directors. Ms. Altman is a graduate of Radcliffe College and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.

Christine Baker is the Executive Officer of the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers' Compensation (CHSWC), where she has served since its inception in 1994. Prior to this, she served in several management capacities in the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) including Chief of the Division of Labor Statistics and Research and Deputy Director for the Division of Workers' Compensation. She co-chaired the October 2006 Symposium on Workers' Compensation, Health and Income Security for Injured Workers: Key Policy Issues. A member of the National Academy of Social Insurance since 2002, Ms. Baker received her master's degree from the School of Education at the University of California–Berkeley.

Jacob S. Hacker, currently a Professor of Political Science at Yale University, will begin teaching at the University of California—Berkeley in Fall 2008. Professor Hacker’s newest book, The Great Risk Shift, was released in September 2006. He is the author of several other books, including Off Center: The Republican Revolution and the Erosion of American Democracy (with Paul Pierson); The Divided Welfare State: The Battle over Public and Private Social Benefits in the United States; and The Road to Nowhere: The Genesis of President Clinton’s Plan for Health Security (which received the Brownlow Book Award).

Currently, Professor Hacker is heading a Social Science Research Council project on the “Privatization of Risk.” He has also written numerous journal articles, book chapters, book reviews and articles for many different magazines and daily newspapers, including the New Republic, the New York Times and New York Times Magazine, the Los Angeles Times, and the Washington Post. His dissertation, Boundary Wars: The Political Struggle over Public and Private Social Benefits in the United States, won the 2002 NASI John Heinz Dissertation Award. A member of the National Academy of Social Insurance since 2004, he co-chaired NASI’s 19th annual conference “For the Common Good: What Role for Social Insurance?” Professor Hacker received his Ph.D. in political science from Yale University.

Lisa Mensah is Executive Director of the Initiative on Financial Security at the Aspen Institute. Ms. Mensah began her career in commercial banking at Citibank prior to working 13 years with the Ford Foundation. Serving as Deputy Director of Economic Development for the organization, Ms. Mensah led the Foundation’s work in microfinance and women’s economic development. She became the leading national funder of individual development accounts (IDAs) – an innovative savings account structured with matching incentives and personal financial training used to finance homeownership, entrepreneurship and education. A member of the National Academy of Social Insurance since 2005, Ms. Mensah served on its Uncharted Waters study panel. She holds an M.A. from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies of The Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. from Harvard University.

For interviews or additional information, contact Jill Braunstein at the National Academy of Social Insurance at (202) 452-8097 or by e-mail at jillbraun@nasi.org.

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The National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization of the nation’s leading experts on social insurance. Its mission is to conduct research and enhance public understanding of social insurance, develop new leaders, and provide a nonpartisan forum for the exchange of important ideas in the field. For more information on the National Academy of Social Insurance, visit www.nasi.org or call (202) 452-8097.
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