About Renee Gross
Renee is a senior health policy consultant in the Institute for Health Policy at Kaiser Permanente. In her role, Renee leads the organization’s mental health initiative and provides content and strategy expertise on a variety of health care topics, including food security, mental health services in schools, child trauma and resiliency, and trends in Medicaid. She also manages research projects, tracks policy developments, and facilitates conversations among internal and external experts in the field. In 2023, Renee is closely following the Medicaid redetermination process and emerging mental health workforce issues.
Prior to joining Kaiser Permanente, Renee served as public policy manager at the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a nonprofit organization focused on ensuring that the environments that surround children promote good health. In this role, she led the organization’s policy strategy and supported legislative campaigns across the country aimed at reducing childhood obesity and diet-related chronic diseases. Before that, she worked at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Health, conducting research on food and beverage marketing to children and sugary drink taxes. Renee holds a bachelor’s degree from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University and a J.D. from DePaul University College of Law.
Get to know Renee
What are your areas of policy expertise?
Throughout my career, I have focused on improving children’s health through a variety of programs and policies at every level of government. The pandemic has shifted how health care is delivered, so I am tracking which flexibilities and waivers should continue, such as simplifying the SNAP/WIC enrollment processes, ensuring continuous coverage for Medicaid beneficiaries, and improving telehealth options for mental health services.
Tell us about a few of your professional accomplishments.
I bring over a decade of experience in the non-profit and private sectors. Prior to Kaiser Permanente, I led a policy initiative focused on passing childhood obesity prevention policies at the state level in collaboration with over 40 national public health partners. I also conducted research and worked on several reports outlining the prevalence of unhealthy food and beverage marketing to children: 2014 Sugary Drinks F.A.C.T.S. Report and a Report Detailing Food and Beverage Marketing to Communities of Color. A highlight of my career is testifying before the New York State Assembly in support of sugary drink warning labels and submitting public comments on a variety of public health topics, including school wellness policies and federal nutrition guidelines. More recently, I developed a policy paper, in collaboration with the American Public Health Association and AcademyHealth, that highlighted food security as a key driver of community health before and throughout the pandemic.
I currently serve as an advisor to the Healthy Food Policy Project, a USDA-funded collaboration between the UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy and Health, Vermont Law School, and the Public Health Law Center to identify and elevate local laws that promote access to healthy food while also contributing to strong local economies, an improved environment, and health equity.
What drives you in health policy?
Health equity has played an important role in my career. I’ve worked in legal aid to improve housing options for low-income families, researched and reported on unhealthful food and beverage marketing to children and youth, examined nutrition and food access policies, and highlighted emerging environmental issues. Currently, I am interested addressing health equity issues within behavioral and mental health care.
Outside of work, what interests you?
Outside of work, I enjoy cooking, hiking, and reading. After the pandemic, I am looking forward to spending time with my family and friends across the country.