Florida TaxWatch announced the addition of Tamara Demko, JD, MPH as Executive Director of the Florida TaxWatch Center for Health and Aging.
Tamara has extensive education and experience in health policy research, development, implementation, management and leadership. She earned her undergraduate degree in psychology and completed premedical requisites at the University of Florida, her juris doctor from Harvard Law School, and a Master of Public Health (Public Health Administration) with a graduate certificate in health policy and programs from the University of South Florida. She is currently completing work on a Doctor of Public Health degree (Health Policy Management and Leadership) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, focusing on state health legislation for her dissertation research.
“I am thrilled about Tamara beginning her work with Florida TaxWatch. She is certainly an expert on the issues facing Florida in health care and aging, and will be an outstanding addition to what is already a strong research staff,” said Dominic M. Calabro, President & CEO of Florida TaxWatch.
Earlier in her career, Tamara practiced law for several years in the private sector focusing on white collar criminal defense and health litigation, primarily Medicare and Medicaid fraud and abuse investigations of pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, and health care providers. She is an active member of the Florida, Massachusetts, and District of Columbia Bars. She regularly appears as a law school guest speaker on the nexus of public health, politics, law, and medicine.
“Tamara’s background is exactly what is needed to make sure that the Center for Health and Aging, the newest Florida TaxWatch Center of Excellence, hits the ground running, and can make a substantive impact right away,” said John Zumwalt, III, Florida TaxWatch Chairman.
In 2007, after serving on the gubernatorial legal affairs transition team, she entered into government service as the Assistant Deputy Secretary for Health at the Florida Department of Health, working with nine public health divisions, overseeing the Office of Minority Health, and fulfilling the prior statutory role of Florida’s Officer of Women’s Health Strategy. By the end of 2008, she was serving as the Chief of Staff for the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, a billion dollar agency serving the needs of 49,000 Floridians. During this period, she also served concurrently as the Executive Director of the Governor’s Task Force on Autism Spectrum Disorders. In addition, she has served as a senior health policy advisor during gubernatorial transitions and with the Executive Office of the Governor, and has lobbied on behalf of the State of Florida in various roles.
“This is the perfect time to welcome Tamara on board,” said Robert Weissert, who supervises the work of all of the TaxWatch Centers of Excellence as Vice President for Research. “With state and national attention focused on health care, we need to achieve appropriate, effective, and accountable delivery of taxpayer-funded health care for all Floridians. With Tamara as Executive Director of this new Center, TaxWatch will be an even stronger voice for needed reforms.”