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Erika
Erika Fricke
Health Policy Director

Sometimes it’s easier to think about health as the job of doctors and nurses, and forget that health and medical care aren’t the same thing. Hopefully, our children may see a medical professional for a few hours at most each year. Health needs to be lived outside the confines of the doctor’s office, and our whole community needs to make sure that children have the opportunity to lead full, rich and healthy lives.

Throughout her career in writing, advocacy and government fields, Erika Fricke maintained a strong interest in the health of women, children and communities. At Allies for Children, she continues to pursue her passion and elevates the voice of children in health policy conversations taking place in Allegheny County and across the commonwealth.

To connect children and families to quality health insurance plans and ensure that children get the basic health care services they need and deserve. Erika led a coalition with the Office of Mayor William Peduto, the Allegheny County Health Department, the Consumer Health Network and Enroll America. The Healthy Together campaign was a part of a national initiative through the National League of Cities, which helped more than 16,000 uninsured children and parents enroll in or renew health insurance coverage. To drum up awareness about campaign, March Pittsburgh, a series of pop-up marching bands, brought music and messages about children’s healthcare to ten neighborhoods.

Erika & March Pittsburgh

To ensure children and youth are taking advantage of all health services offered, Erika managed a team to produce a School Breakfast Report that highlights how school policy changes can help combat childhood hunger and increase the number of breakfasts schools serve. Guided by the report, Breakfast Basics: A Comprehensive Look at School Breakfast in Allegheny County, Erika educates school districts on the importance of school breakfast, how to increase the number of students eating at school and how to implement alternative breakfast models.

Additionally, Erika is co-chairs the Action for Healthy Kids New Innovations Committee and the Food and Health Equity sub-committee of the Food Policy Council and participates in the statewide CHIP and Medicaid Watch Group. To build on this work, she joined the Children’s Health Leaders Network, a leadership development program developed by The Annie E. Casey Foundation, the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and The Atlantic Philanthropies.

Before joining Allies for Children, Erika served as chief of staff to State Representative Dan Frankel. There, she promoted policies supporting greater transparency in healthcare and  helped get Allegheny County residents connected to health insurance programs post.

Prior to working for Representative Frankel, Erika worked at Planned Parenthood of Western Pennsylvania, where she helped increase access to emergency contraception and support for sex education. As Vice President for Public Affairs, she also oversaw the c4 lobbying arm, PPWP’s Action Fund and volunteer field campaigns for endorsed candidates.

Before joining the government and advocacy world, she reported on it. Erika contributed to various newspapers, including the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Pitt Magazine. Her work has also been reprinted in the textbook “Mirror on America: Essays and Images from Popular Culture.”

Erika holds a Bachelor of Arts from Yale University and a Master of Journalism from the University of California, Berkeley. Read her résumé in its entirety here.