Health Access Welcomes Interim Executive Director Amanda McAllister-Wallner

Amanda McAllister-Wallner began serving as Interim Executive Director for Health Access California this week, taking over for longtime leader Anthony Wright who was named the new Executive Director of Families USA

McAllister-Wallner has served eight years at Health Access, including as Deputy Director since 2021. She will continue our consumer advocacy campaigns at both the state and federal level

SACRAMENTO, CA – Health Access California, the statewide health care consumer advocacy coalition, is proud to welcome Amanda McAllister-Wallner to her new role with the organization as Interim Executive Director starting this week. She takes over for Anthony Wright, who after serving for 22 years as the organization’s Executive Director, is departing the organization to lead Families USA, the national, non-partisan voice for health care consumers, based in Washington, DC. The Health Access board selected Amanda to serve in the role in April while the organization undertakes a nationwide search process for a permanent executive director.

Amanda has been with the organization nearly eight years, holding the role of Deputy Director at Health Access since 2021, and prior to that serving as Director of the California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network for five years. She is well positioned to lead Health Access given her years of work guiding the organization. As Deputy Director, Amanda has provided oversight for Health Access’ policy, organizing, communications, and LGBTQ HHS Network teams and supported organizational fundraising efforts, new program initiatives, staff professional development, and the organization’s various advocacy campaigns.

In her role as Director of the CA LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network, she grew the staff from one to six and raised over $5 million to support LGBTQ health equity. She was instrumental in developing a statewide LGBTQ health policy agenda and successfully advocated for policies that strengthened collection of sexual orientation and gender identity data and improved access to LGBTQ-affirming services. She also led the way to develop multiple projects focused on reducing LGBTQ health disparities, including: #Out4MentalHealth, We Breathe, Out About ACEs, and LGBTQ+ COVID Safety.

“I am honored to be taking on this new role with Health Access California to continue its success as a voice for California’s health care consumers with policymakers and state agencies,” said Amanda. “I have learned so much in my eight years working with Anthony, and he is leaving the organization on solid footing financially and politically. We are stronger than ever and will continue take on the kinds of ambitious fights that have characterized our work over these last two decades.”

Amanda and the Health Access team will continue to actively lead on several major state and federal proposals over the coming months, including:

  • ensuring accurate provider directories (AB 236, Holden)
  • preventing medical debt from impacting credit scores and families’ financial futures (SB 1061, Limon)
  • putting public oversight on private equity takeovers of health providers (AB 3129, Wood)
  • opening up Covered California to all regardless of immigration status (AB 4, Arambula)
  • making permanent the federal premium subsides for Covered California enrollees, extended in the Inflation Reduction Act, which has capped premiums to no more than 8% of a person’s income (and often much less), and are set to expire next year.

“I have such confidence in Amanda and the whole Health Access team to continue our consumer advocacy agenda and achieve real results for patients and the public. Our effectiveness will continue to come from our coalition and community, and Amanda has been instrumental in the success of the organization and the movement for the last eight years,” said Anthony Wright, former Executive Director of Health Access California. “Amanda has already been an active and visible leader in the LGBTQ and health equity worlds, and I am glad the broader public of California can now see and get the benefit of her work. Under Amanda’s leadership, Health Access will continue to ensure that patients and the public are well represented in the California Capitol, administrative agencies, and the broader community, as a counterpoint to industry interests, toward the goal of a quality, affordable, equitable health system for all Californians.”

The search for a permanent executive director will be overseen by Isaacson, Miller. A detailed job description for the role, and application details, will be available soon. Both Amanda McAllister-Wallner and Anthony Wright are available for interviews as they undertake these transitions.

Read more:

Amanda McAllister-Wallner bio

Press Release: Longtime Leader of California’s Health Consumer Advocacy Coalition Tapped to Lead National Counterpart, Families USA

Blog: Anthony Wright’s Top 10 Health Policy Accomplishments


Press inquiries can be directed to:

Rachel Linn Gish,