Maryland House of Delegates
One of the most passionate advocates for equal health care is Del. Joseline Pena-Melnyk, a Democrat representing Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties. She is serves as vice chair of the Health and Government Operations Committee.
Last year, she sponsored several bills aimed at identifying and eliminating health disparities. One bill sought to require health care officials to complete bias training before they renewed their licenses. Another bill, named in honor of former state Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, D-Baltimore, aimed to create the Maryland Health Equity Commission. One more bill authorized the creation of a health disparity policy report card through a collaboration with the Office of Minority Health and Health Disparities and the Maryland Health Care Commission.
Peña-Melnyk, who was born in the Dominican Republic, immigrated to the United States as a child with her mother and sister. The first in her family to attend college, she went on to earn a Juris Doctor from State University of New York at Buffalo and worked as a federal prosecutor.
Elected to the General Assembly in 2007, she notes her greatest achievement thus far is the faith her constituents place in her to represent them. Over her 15 years of service, Peña-Melnyk has been the primary sponsor on more than 80 successful bills.