Isabella Izquierdo

Isabella supports Lewis-Burke clients by closely tracking and researching federal agency funding opportunities, congressional updates, and legislative activity. At the firm, she focuses on agencies like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the National Science Foundation (NSF), among others. Isabella’s background in biological science and research has provided her with a unique perspective on how scientific research can often influence policy and has allowed her to pursue her passion of bridging the intersection of experimental research and its direct impacts on public health.

Issue Areas: Biomedical research, social determinants, global health, public health, social science, and arts and humanities.

Additional Information: Prior to joining Lewis-Burke Associates, Isabella interned with the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) where she spent a summer working on an NIH-funded R01 study focused on maternal health and drug abuse. It was here that she found her passion for public health policy. During her time abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark, Isabella joined a public health program where she frequently met with different non-profits, research facilities, and social services working to solve issues such as, but not limited to, homelessness, drug abuse, and mental health. Most recently, Isabella worked with the Florida Department of Health as a Contact Tracer and in the latter half of her time there, as an Epidemiologist, offering testing, medical, and economic resources to those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Vital Statistics: Isabella was born and raised in Miami, Florida but received her undergraduate degree in neuroscience at Pomona College in Claremont, California. Isabella has always loved giving back to her local community and spent time offering translation services to hospital patients and their families throughout her time in college, something she hopes to continue doing in Washington. Outside of the office, Isabella loves checking out new restaurants, traveling, and admiring the full four seasons that D.C has to offer.


Srinu Sonti

Srinu Sonti is a seasoned health policy and communications professional who provides clients with unique insights into the inner workings of Congress and regulatory agencies. With years of experience on Capitol Hill and in the private sector, Srinu assists clients achieve their goals by listening to their complex issues and developing a strategy for success. His primary focus is on health policy and is passionate about reforming the nation’s delivery system to ensure quality access to care, particularly for vulnerable populations.

Issue Expertise: Policy and regulations impacting academic medical centers, the healthcare workforce, hospitals and hospital systems, federally qualified health centers (FQHC’s), and rural health clinics.  Medicare, Medicaid, and health IT.

Additional Experience: Srinu has worked on and off Capitol Hill for years on a wide range of health policy and regulatory matters, in both the public and private sector. Srinu served for several years as the Research Director for then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), focusing on policy development, messaging and strategy. Srinu was a part of Senator Reid’s team that worked on, and helped pass the Affordable Care Act, the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program, as well as other legislation. Srinu also worked at the Center for American Progress where he raised awareness of and coordinated advocacy efforts on health policy and poverty issues. Srinu went on to serve as Health Policy Advisor to Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL). There, he primarily managed the Senator’s health finance portfolio, focusing on the Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security programs. Srinu left Capitol Hill to join the Federation of American Hospitals, where he was part of the government relations team and managed the health IT portfolio. Srinu then went on to work as a consultant for organizations focused on public health prior to joining Lewis-Burke.

Vital Statistics: Srinu earned a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Wisconsin, and a Juris Doctor degree from New York Law School. Of note, Srinu is also one of the few and proud who were born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area.


Elevating Biomedical Research with Federal Policymakers

Working on behalf of an Association client, Lewis-Burke designed and executed the client’s annual meeting in Washington, DC during a period of protracted political sensitivity on a variety of topics important to research institutions.

In designing a program of federal speakers and policymaker engagement for the meeting, Lewis-Burke surveyed the current landscape of policy issues impacting research institutions and leveraged professional relationships to secure appearances by key federal policymakers and related thought leaders, including the Director of the White House Office of Science Policy, the Director of the National Institutes of Health, a senior official from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, and a leading science journalist with NPR, among others.  In addition, Lewis-Burke planned the client’s Capitol Hill Advocacy Day, which saw 100+ individuals fanning out over Capitol Hill to conduct more than 60 meetings with their congressional representatives to advocate for the federal policy priorities of the Association.

Lewis-Burke’s efforts in planning and executing the annual meeting ensured that the Association and its leadership were viewed by federal policymakers as key stakeholders in the development of the nation’s biomedical research agenda.


Protecting Teaching Hospitals from the Disproportionate Impact of Cuts

Teaching Hospitals have a unique role.  They not only train the next generation of healthcare providers in the use of cutting-edge technology and treatments, but also provide care to safety-net patients throughout the United States.  Over the last few years, as Congress and the Administration have considered various budget proposals to reduce the federal deficit, they have often proposed cuts without regard to the unique impact on teaching hospitals and the underserved populations these hospitals treat.  Lewis-Burke has worked with clients to ensure that federal agencies, Congress, staff, and other relevant individuals understand the role teaching hospitals play in the healthcare infrastructure, and how proposals often disproportionately and unfairly impact teaching hospitals.  For example, many congressional staffers did not take into consideration that cutting indirect medical education (IME), proposed in several budget measures, unfairly targeted teaching hospitals.  Nor did they fully realize the complexity of this funding as payment for care provided to patients.  Lewis-Burke helped clients develop a strategy to convey this message and helped develop strategies to advocate against other funding reductions such as cuts to outpatient hospital departments.


Protecting Research Infrastructure Costs

Following a government proposal to cap facilities and administrative (F&A) costs on NIH awards at 10 percent, a policy that would have devastating consequences for the research and higher education community, Lewis-Burke pursued an aggressive strategy to prevent any changes in F&A cost reimbursement to universities and research institutions.  Leveraging a coalition approach, Lewis-Burke worked closely with House and Senate Appropriations Committees to ensure that language prohibiting any changes to F&A cost policy was included in all annual appropriations bills funding the NIH.


Elevating Funding in Federal Opioid Research and Response

Lewis-Burke worked with a university client to identify new research funding areas for the Medical School.  Specifically, the firm designed a new product for the dean of the Medical School which provided weekly updates on federal funding progress, accompanied by action items, to help formulate new opportunities.  After three months of careful analysis, Lewis-Burke consultants carved out a strategy for the Medical School in the space of federal response to opioid use, that was also well-aligned with the Medical School’s research capabilities.  Lewis-Burke developed a memorandum for the dean which outlined a detailed strategy to thoughtfully position the Medical School once new federal funding opportunities in opioid research became available.  This strategy was so well received that the University’s Vice President for Research (VPR) requested that Lewis-Burke adapt the strategy, beyond the Medical School, and for the entire Academic Health Center, which includes multiple colleges, schools, centers, and institutes.  Currently, Lewis-Burke’s strategy is being implemented across the Academic Health Center.  Lewis-Burke consultants also continue to serve as advisors for the dean and VPR as it pertains to updates and funding opportunities in opioid research.  Additionally, per the request of the dean of the Medical School, Lewis-Burke continues to send weekly updates to help identify additional emerging areas for funding in biomedical research.


Libby O'Hare, Ph.D.

Dr. Libby O’Hare leads Lewis-Burke’s biomedical research advocacy efforts, advising clients in the areas of federal research policy and health care, with a focus on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and agencies that determine grantmaking policies including the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).  Leveraging her prior experiences as an academic neuroscientist, congressional staffer, and National Academies study director, Libby taps into her work with researchers and research organizations to develop strategies and approaches to enhance clients’ biomedical research portfolios and protect them from federal proposals that would undermine efforts to advance critical life sciences research.

Libby has an in-depth and practiced understanding of how to work with Congress, the Executive Branch, scientific and health organizations, and other stakeholder partners to achieve results.  Libby is a trusted advisor on research administration and grants policy issues.  Her knowledge of the federal grantmaking process enables her to understand the needs of both faculty and administrators.  Libby brings a passion for science and research to her efforts on behalf of clients and relies on her relationships with key stakeholders across the government to protect policies and programs, create new opportunities, and position clients for success in enhancing and protecting their biomedical research portfolios.

Issue Expertise: Appropriations, biomedical research, research policy and regulatory issues, graduate education and the science and engineering workforce, STEM education, and social and behavioral sciences.

Additional Expertise: Libby got her start in science policy as an American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Congressional Science Policy Fellow and gained Capitol Hill experience working with New Jersey Representative Rush Holt.  Before joining Lewis-Burke, Libby directed several high-profile studies at the National Academies of Sciences , Engineering and Medicine, designed to inform action on pressing issues in higher education and the science and engineering workforce.  During Libby’s career as an academic neuroscientist, she investigated relationships between brain and cognitive development and her research was supported by awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Association of Women in Science (AWIS), and the University of California.

Vital Statistics: Libby is proud of her New Hampshire roots.  She holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of California, Los Angeles and an A.B. in Psychology from Bryn Mawr College.  Her favorite brain region is the cerebellum.


Jack Goodman

Jack Goodman leverages his engineering studies and higher education experience to help clients navigate federal interest in STEM education, automation, and the need for an educated workforce.  Jack actively monitors federal policy developments for Lewis-Burke clients with a specific focus on education, immigration, and healthcare issues.

Issue Areas: Higher education policy, workforce development, immigration, social and behavioral science, healthcare delivery.

Additional Experience: Jack gained experience in the office of New York Representative Grace Meng, where he closely supported the legislative staff through policy analysis and research.  Jack also worked at the University of California, Berkeley’s student leadership office as a NASPA (Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education) Undergraduate Fellow, handling projects regarding student government and campus safety.

Vital Statistics: Born and raised in New York, Jack headed to the Midwest to attend Washington University in St. Louis.  There he received a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science through the School of Engineering and Applied Science, with a second major in Applied Economics and Business Strategy through the Olin School of Business.  Jack is a black belt in Karate and an avid fan of New York sports teams.


Amber Cassady

Amber is a national security policy expert who leverages broad federal agency expertise, spanning the Department of Defense (DOD) and the National Institute of Standards of Technology (NIST), to develop and execute federal advocacy strategies.  Amber drives agency engagement across the federal S&T enterprise, including basic and applied defense research, defense health research, and emerging technologies and innovation. Amber creates and protects vital S&T research programs through authorization and appropriations legislation. As a leader in the Coalition for National Security Research (CNSR), Amber identifies and advocates for community-wide defense S&T priorities on behalf of Lewis-Burke clients. 

Issue Areas: Defense, national security, defense health, manufacturing, technology, and international affairs 

Additional Experience: Prior to joining Lewis-Burke, Amber worked as a Research Assistant at the Bertelsmann Foundation, a transatlantic think tank where she covered European Union-U.S. policies in artificial intelligence, technology, manufacturing, and the future of work.  She also interned with the Department of State at the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal and gained international diplomatic experience in the Embassy’s politics and economics section.  Amber worked as an Education Outreach Assistant at the Center for European Studies, at the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. 

Vital Statistics: Amber received both her undergraduate and graduate degrees from UNC (Go Heels!). She earned a B.A. in Global Studies, a B.A. in Contemporary European Studies, and a minor in Spanish. She also earned an M.A. in Political Science, during which she studied at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona, Spain, and was awarded two Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) scholarships by the U.S. Department of Education for her study of Portuguese.   

Amber leans into her role as a go-to foodie at Lewis-Burke and enjoys giving restaurant recommendations (fine dining to dives) across the DMV.  

 


Christina Laridaen

Christina Laridaen has honed her understanding of environment, agriculture, and biomedical portfolios including coastal resilience.  She supports Lewis-Burke clients by providing in-depth information about actions in Congress and at federal agencies and strategizing new initiatives and positioning for success.

Issue Areas: Environment, resilience, oceanic and coastal research, agriculture, and biomedical health.

Additional Experience: Before joining the Lewis-Burke team, Christina worked in the office of Senator Amy Klobuchar, where she assisted on the research, commodity, and conservation titles in the 2018 Farm Bill in addition to covering regulation of bioengineered foods.  Prior to moving to D.C., Christina worked as the Government and Legislative Affairs Coordinator for the Minnesota Student Association, where she managed advocacy efforts relevant to University of Minnesota students at all levels of government. At the State Capitol, she helped secure increases in biennium university funding by creating a statewide coalition of student advocates, regularly testifying at the legislature, and authoring letters on behalf of the student body to the Governor.

Vital statistics: Christina is a proud lifelong Minnesotan and graduate from the University of Minnesota, where she studied political science and applied economics. Her congressional experience traces all the way back to her high school days when she served as a United States Senate Page.