Autumn Brings Fond Farewells & Warm Welcomes

This year’s autumn brings the fond farewells of two dear, long-time staff and dedicated team members, Julie Schoen and Anne Gray. Julie was one of the founding members of California Health Advocates and has served as Director for our California Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) since its inception in 1997. Her leadership, commitment, and enthusiasm have led our staff and volunteers and our ability to make a difference to ever-new heights. We will miss her and are excited for her and the many people she will touch as the new Deputy Director for the National Center on Elder Abuse at University of Southern California. Please join us in wishing Julie all the very best in her new endeavors!


Anne Gray, our SMP Project Coordinator, has also served on our team coordinating training and communication on fraud and abuse issues among the 26 local Health Insurance Counseling and Advocacy Programs statewide since 1997. Her great wit and sense of humor (even when training volunteers on the seemingly mundane subject of timesheets and reporting!) always sparks people’s enthusiasm and brings out the best in us all. We will miss her, and wish her the very best in her retirement and her move up to the beautiful state of Washington.


With these changes, we also have some exciting promotions among our staff. Micki Nozaki, our former SMP Data & Case Specialist, is now our new SMP Project Director. Micki joined our team in 2011 and has since continued to take on more responsibilities and leadership. We are thrilled to have Micki as our new SMP Project Director! And Sandy Diaz, former Bilingual Case and Outreach Specialist, is now our new Outreach and Volunteer Coordination Manager. Sandy joined our team in 2013 and is dynamite. She does an outstanding job in her outreach work and managing a multitude of complex cases. Please join us in extending our heartfelt congratulations both to Micki and Sandy!

We are also pleased to welcome our newest SMP staff member, Michele Kogler as our new SMP Data Entry Specialist. Michele recently worked at the Council on Aging Orange County managing several successful projects. She is very much looking forward to her work with the SMP team. Welcome Michele! See our website for more info on our staff team.

Karen Joy Fletcher

Our blogger Karen Joy Fletcher is CHA’s Communications Director. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she is the online “public face” of the organization, provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare and other health care issues. She is responsible for digital content creation, management of CHA’s editorial calendar, and managing all aspects of CHA’s social media presence. She loves being a “communicator” and enjoys networking and collaborating with the passionate people and agencies in the health advocacy field. See her current articles.