For Immediate Release | February 20, 2024


Tom Novotny at

WASHINGTON, DC — The National Academy of Social Insurance is pleased to announce the election of several of the nation’s top social insurance experts to steer its Board of Directors, as well as the addition of a former longtime Board member and nationally renowned social insurance leader to its staff to increase the organization’s policy impact.

Paul Van de Water, a Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, has been elected Chair of the Board of Directors effective January 1, 2024. Van de Water is a well-respected, longtime leader on Medicare, Social Security, and health coverage. Van de Water succeeds Renée Landers, Professor of Law at Suffolk University Law School, who chaired the Academy’s Board from May 1, 2021 to December 31, 2023.

“Having the opportunity to serve as Board Chair of the National Academy of Social Insurance and to be colleagues with the exceptional scholars and policymakers who work in the various areas of social insurance has been a tremendous honor,” said Renée Landers. “Sustaining the ability of the Academy to inform the public and to participate in the policy dialogue on traditional and emerging social insurance policies is important given how essential these policies and programs are to the economic security of individuals and families. I have confidence that–with Paul Van de Water, Josie Kalipeni, Douglas Holtz-Eakin joining Merrill Friedman – leading the Board at a time of staff transition–the Academy’s future will thrive through excellent stewardship.”

Van de Water has a long, distinguished career spanning health and Social Security policy, as well as a history of deep engagement with the Academy. A Founding Member of the Academy, he was Vice President for Health Policy from 2005 to 2008. From 2001 to 2005, Van de Water served as Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Policy at the Social Security Administration (SSA), where he managed the agency’s policy analysis, research, and statistical activities. From 1999 to 2001, he was Associate Commissioner for Research, Evaluation, and Statistics at Social Security.

Prior to joining SSA, Van de Water worked for over 18 years at the Congressional Budget Office. As Assistant Director for Budget Analysis, he supervised the agency’s budget projections, analyses of the President’s budget, cost estimates of legislative proposals, and estimates of the cost of federal mandates on state and local governments.

“The Academy plays a unique role as a trusted source of information about Social Security, Medicare, and other social insurance programs,” said Van de Water.” That function is particularly important today, as the social insurance system faces both significant opportunities and challenges.”

Additionally, Josie Kalipeni has been elected Vice Chair of the Academy’s Board. Kalipeni is the Executive Director of Family Values at Work – a movement network of grassroots organizers and coalitions in more than two dozen states that is winning paid family leave and paid sick and safe days at the state level, with a commitment to winning equitable paid leave at the federal level. Born in Malawi, Kalipeni’s inspiration to advocate for a robust care economy is her mother, who worked as a nurse and raised six children in a new country. As an ordained minister and former social worker, Kalipeni has spent much of her career supporting families working to overcome systemic barriers in order to thrive.

Additionally, Doug Holtz-Eakin has been elected as the Board’s Secretary. Holtz-Eakin is Founder and President of the American Action Forum, and a longtime policy leader who has served in such roles as Chief Economist of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers and Director of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO). Merrill Friedman, who leads inclusive policy and advocacy at Elevance Health, continues to serve as the Board’s Treasurer.

Newly joining the Academy’s Board are: Tracey Gronniger, Managing Director of Justice in Aging’s Economic Team, and a nationally recognized leader on income policy for low-income adults, and John Slatery, Director of Worker Benefits for the American Federation of Teachers (AFT). Leaving the Academy’s Board after many years of service due to term limits are Renée Landers; Bill Rodgers, Landers’ predecessor as Board Chair; and Shaun O’Brien, who chaired the Academy’s Membership Committee for six years. Each provided invaluable service to the Academy.

Additionally, Bill Arnone, who has led the Academy as Chief Executive Officer for the past 7 years, has announced that he will be retiring in June 2024. A nationwide CEO search is underway. “As a Founding Board Member at the inception of the Academy in 1986 and a former Board Chair from 2013 to 2016, the opportunity to serve as its Chief Executive over the past 7 years has been extremely fulfilling. I look forward to the Academy continuing to play a unique and impactful role during these challenging times for our nation,” said Arnone. “My gratitude goes to the Academy’s Board, staff, Members, and funders for their consistent support of the Academy’s work, especially during difficult times due to the unexpected pandemic.”

With the start of a new year, the Academy has also made an important addition to its staff. After nearly eight years of service on the Academy’s Board, including several as Secretary, Rebecca Vallas—a longtime, nationally respected thought leader on social insurance and disability policy—has joined the Academy’s team as a Distinguished Fellow and Senior Advisor to help the organization expand its reach and deepen its policy impact. A member of the Academy since 2012 and its Board from 2015-2023, Vallas has served on several study panels, including most recently the Older Workers Retirement Security Task Force and the Economic Security Study Panel.

“Having Rebecca Vallas join the Academy’s team is already making a significant difference. Her deep policy knowledge and boundless enthusiasm are exactly what the social insurance community needs. I greatly look forward to collaborating closely with her over the final months of my tenure as CEO,” said Bill Arnone.

A longtime champion for building an economy and society grounded in common humanity, interconnectedness, and shared abundance, Vallas began her career as an attorney in the Aging and Disability Unit at Community Legal Services in Philadelphia, where she spent 2009-2013 representing low-income individuals and families facing barriers to accessing social insurance and public assistance.

She spent 2014-2019 in a range of leadership roles within the Center for American Progress’s Poverty to Prosperity Program and cofounded the organization’s Disability Justice Initiative. Most recently, she was a senior fellow at The Century Foundation, where she originated the organization’s disability economic justice work and co-founded the Disability Economic Justice Collaborative, bringing together nearly 50 leading organizations across the policy/research and disability rights and justice communities to apply a disability lens across economic policymaking.

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, or follow @socialinsurance on Twitter.

See related news: News About NASI

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