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Renée M. Landers Elected Chair of Board of Directors, National Academy of Social Insurance

For Immediate Release: May 4, 2021

Contact: Meghan Griffin at 202-243-7286, mgriffin@nasi.org

The National Academy of Social Insurance is pleased to announce the election of Renée M. Landers, Professor of Law at Suffolk University Law School, as the new Chair of its Board of Directors effective May 1, 2021. Landers succeeds William M. Rodgers III, Professor of Public Policy at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, and Chief Economist at John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development, at Rutgers University. Rodgers created a “Main Street” initiative to make the Academy’s work more relevant and accessible to families and local communities. During his tenure, Rodgers also led a strengthening of the Academy’s long-term financial sustainability.


“Serving as the Academy’s Board Chair for the last five years has truly been an honor,” said Bill Rodgers. “Renée will provide savvy and steady leadership, as the Academy continues our work to create an equitable, efficient, and cost-effective social insurance infrastructure. This includes reinforcing the essential role of economic security in social justice.”


In addition to Landers as the new Board Chair of the Academy, Indivar Dutta-Gupta, Co-Executive Director at the Georgetown Center on Poverty & Inequality, will serve as the new Vice Chair. The Academy’s Board leadership also includes: Treasurer Jason J. Fichtner, Chief Economist at the Bipartisan Policy Center; and Secretary Rebecca Vallas, Senior Fellow at the Century Foundation.


“As Chair of the Academy’s Board of Directors, I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues, with special emphasis on continuing the initiatives that Bill Rodgers championed for making the Academy’s work more accessible and visible to the general public,” said Renée Landers. “The nation has learned many lessons over the past year that underscore how many long-overdue changes are required to reinforce the social insurance infrastructure, from more effective access to unemployment insurance to healthcare. With over 1,200 Members across the country, it is more important than ever for the Academy to serve as a resource for policymakers looking to address economic insecurity and social inequities.” 


Debra Whitman, Executive Vice President and Chief Public Policy Officer at AARP, joins the Academy’s Board this year. Whitman is filling the remainder of Kilolo Kijakazi’s term due to Kijakazi’s resignation, when she was appointed to serve as Deputy Commissioner, Retirement & Disability Policy, at the Social Security Administration.


“I am thrilled to be working closely with Renée and the rest of the Academy’s Board of Directors to continue to fulfill our mission,” said Bill Arnone, Chief Executive Officer of the Academy. “Nearly a year ago, Bill Rodgers and I issued a pledge to create a stronger society and a fairer future for all us – starting with acknowledging that we haven’t done enough to address racial injustice. Renée and the full Board remain committed to this pledge and will be providing updates on specific follow-up actions that the Academy is taking.”


In addition to teaching administrative law, constitutional law, and health law at Suffolk University Law School, Landers is the Faculty Director of the school’s Health and Biomedical Law Concentration and a new Master of Science in Law: Life Sciences program. She has worked in private practice and served as Deputy General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Policy Development at the U.S. Department of Justice during the Clinton Administration.


President of the Boston Bar Association in 2003-2004, Landers was the first woman of color and the first law professor to serve in that position. Landers has also served as Chair of the Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice of the American Bar Association. Currently, Landers chairs the board of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts. She was also a member of the Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct and served on the task force that drafted the revised Code of Judicial Conduct effective in 2016. Currently, she is a member of the Committee on Judicial Ethics. Previously, she was a member of the Supreme Judicial Court’s committees studying gender bias and racial and ethnic bias in the courts. Landers is the author of articles on the potential for Massachusetts health care reform initiatives to eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in health care and aspects of the Affordable Care Act.


A Member of the Academy since 2008, Landers has served on several study panels, including most recently co-chairing the Academy’s Study Panel on Economic Security. She is a regular commentator on legal developments in constitutional law, health law, and administrative law for media organizations.

Since the National Academy of Social Insurance was founded in 1986, it has provided rigorous inquiry and insights into the functioning of our nation’s social insurance programs – Social Security, Medicare, Unemployment Insurance, and Workers’ Compensation. Comprised of over 1,200 Members – the nation’s top experts in social insurance and related policies and programs – the Academy studies how social insurance can continue to meet the changing needs of American families, employees, and employers, including uninsured or underinsured economic risks. To learn more about the Academy’s work, please visit www.nasi.org, or follow @socialinsurance on Twitter.

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