Who We Are and What We Do

DUH Mission Statement

It is the mission of Demand Universal Healthcare (DUH) to advance the cause of establishing a truly universal, comprehensive, and equitable single-payer healthcare system in the United States. This mission is carried out by:
  • Informing the general public of the facts about such a system
  • Providing social media platforms on which to engage people in discussion, debate, and investigation of healthcare and other related social justice issues
  • Encouraging vigorous participation in the political process, including non-violent protest
  • Working to elect progressive legislators who support H.R. 676 and/or other single-payer legislation
  • Forming alliances and partnerships with other single-payer and social justice groups and individuals to support each other in our effort
  • Ending the national embarrassment of being the only major country that doesn't provide healthcare to its people as a right

DUH is unique in its structure. We are NOT a 501(c)(3) or (4) - we're not tax exempt (donations are NOT deductible), but we have the freedom to endorse specific candidates and legislation.

We also don't follow the consensus, membership-based model of most other groups, but if you object to that, there are many other organizations who do. As for DUH, we will never ask you for dues, as we finance each project we take on through specific campaigns. We also have identifiable leaders and form teams of volunteers as each project dictates. All we ask is that if you volunteer or offer goods or services, you don't bail on us!

​As of 2017, DUH is also identifying itself as a TREEROOTS organization. This is a time when social justice activists must empower themselves and each other to work toward the vision of the just, balanced, peaceful, healthy, and happy society we all want. As part of that empowerment, DUH believes “grassroots” is a word that keeps us small, insignificant, and easily damaged. Treeroots, on the other hand, reflect the strength, growth, longevity, and tenacity of our movement. Grass will never change the landscape, but trees can become the landscape.


​​THE DUH TEAM​​​​




Sue Saltmarsh – Executive Director

Having worked in the field of HIV/AIDS services for over 20 years, Sue has witnessed both the painful struggles of those living with HIV/AIDS and the fierce, successful activism from the AIDS community. Brought to the single-payer cause as a result of that, as well as living with a rare auto-immune liver disease herself, she is determined to make DUH an organization of unifying action, bringing all people together to demand, in one powerful voice, the end of the for-profit healthcare system and the establishment of Medicare for All. Sue subscribes to the idea that every lifetime has a purpose and in this one moving universal healthcare forward is it for her.










Donna M Ellington – Deputy Director

Formerly in the Air Force, then an educator and counselor, Donna now devotes her time to healthcare and political activism. She lives in South Carolina, where her experience includes a stint as Chairperson of Americans for Healthcare, and founder of Americans for Healthcare, Too and Taking It to the Streets for Healthcare.

Donna is also DUH’s Social Media Director, and understands not just the importance of DUH having a social media presence, but also how best to use all the functionality that’s available. Thanks to her, DUH has Facebook pages, and is on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube. Since 2013, she has taken our FB page from 347 followers to DUH’s current (2017) almost 70,000 followers and has reached over a million people frequently. The page she created for more general political posts, People Overcoming Politics (POP), has, as of January 2017, acquired 3,369 followers since its inception in November 2016. Donna’s painstaking attention to creating new content and engaging both established followers and new fans has resulted in DUH appearing in Facebook’s annual Blue Book of progressive pages every year since 2013. Someday she might get the respect she’s due, but for sure we are in awe and so grateful for her skill.


THE ORIGINAL DUH-STERS


Laurie Simons, MA and Terry Sterrenberg, MSW – Filmmakers, Activists


Licensed counselors and filmmakers Laurie Simons and Terry Sterrenberg are a married couple of mixed cultural heritage, Laurie being Canadian, and Terry American. From 1982 to 1992, Terry and Laurie lived in Canada and their two sons, Jeff and Jay, were born there. In making the documentary The Healthcare Movie, they became leaders in the effort to push the U.S. toward the same peace of mind and state of good national heath that Canadians enjoy. Forging a strong friendship with Sue and the DUH team, the screening of their movie and the opportunity to meet them has been quite a draw for audiences. Look for news of their new sequel, Now Is the Time, which they’re currently taking on the road.
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Bob Sisler – Labor/Legislative Activist

A DUH-ster from Detroit, Bob Sisler is Chair of Region 1A Retired Workers Chapter of the UAW, a member of Retirees for Single Payer, and the Michigan Alliance to Strengthen Social Security and Medicare. He served the membership of UAW Local 6000 as chief steward and was elected steward-at-large. Bob’s work also encompassed 29 years as a clinical social worker specializing in Young Adults, and he served as a crisis counselor for the International UAW in New York City, assisting many Americans who suffered directly from the 9/11 attack. Currently retired but never idle, he organizes activists to lobby for and educate about H.R. 676 and Representative John Conyers has requested that he speak at many events, locally and nationally, on healthcare. On DUH’s first trip, Bob established himself as an expert on H.R. 676 and a passionate speaker on how the current healthcare situation is devastating to many Americans. He’s also a great map-reader.





Doris Wojtala — Healthcare Activist

Also from Detroit, this octogenarian is a longtime social justice activist and shares her name and energetic determination with the heroic “Granny D,” Doris Haddock, who, at the age of 89, walked 3,200 miles across the country in support for the McCain/Feingold campaign finance reform bill. She was as dedicated to that legislation as our Doris is to H.R. 676. On DUH’s first trip, Doris became known as the Queen of the Petition, tirelessly pursuing passers-by on the street to get them to sign our petition to stop for-profit insurance and healthcare injustice. Molly Ivins once said about Granny D, “The thing about [Doris] is that she makes the rest of us look like such schlubs,” and our Doris often makes those of us who are more than 20 years her junior look (and feel) like total slackers!

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DUH ALLIES



Ryan Splitt — Executive Assistant & Travel Guru

A multi-talented, energetic addition to the DUH team, Ryan has been instrumental in finding the lowest airfares, car rental rates, and the best motel deals, as well as lending his muscle strength and encouraging support to the group, carrying heavy items, running for coffee, even arranging for wheelchairs to get Sue from check-in counters to boarding gates in airports! Ryan is a world traveler who has also lived in England, Ireland, and New Zealand, so he’s seen the way a national health
program can work in other countries. His enthusiasm and positive attitude, along with his battle cry, “I have a coupon!” make Ryan an invaluable part of DUH.




Rick Guasco – Graphic Genius

Rick is the designer of our logos, flyers, brochures, and promotional/educational material. He worked with Sue at Positively Aware as Creative Director and is the creator of A Day with HIV, the annual photo essay for the magazine, published every November. Photos are available on a dedicated website, which he also helps to design. Though Rick’s passion lies in the aesthetics rather than the activism, his generous support of DUH’s mission by working for free, as well as applying his talent to make it look good, are invaluable.





Joshua Monroe Lowe – Singer/Songwriter, Computer Translater

Joshua is a man of many talents — his performance of his hauntingly beautiful song, Silence Is Consent, is sadly hard to hear at the end of The Healthcare Movie, but his talent can be heard on his first album, Inimicus. He is also an amazing woodworker, computer game designer, and passionate opposing force of all injustice. DUH was lucky to have him join us to perform live at one of our events and to have his help when Sue tries to understand “computerese.”





HEALTHCARE JUSTICE MARCH TEAM

On August 1, 2015, DUH organized a rally on the National Mall in conjunction with Medicare’s 50th anniversary. The rally would never have taken place without the following activists helping Sue and Donna pull it off!​​

David Ball – Speaker/Volunteer Coordinator, True Believer

David was the level-headed, Type Triple-A, EverReady Bunny who took on not just the pressurized job of relentless pursuit of speakers for the rally, but also the marshaling of the volunteers. But perhaps his role that was the most challenging (to him) and treasured (by us) was as the tenacious, unstoppable force that kept Sue sane and who never waivered in his belief in our mission, no matter the opposition or obstacles he encountered.




Peter Robbins – Database and Research Hero


Peter was in upstate New York and worked tirelessly to build our database and reach out to other organizations, and individuals. He never missed a conference call, maintained a positive attitude, and was a totally reliable self-starter so we had no worries about having to tell him what to do. As NY gets closer to achieving single-payer healthcare, they are lucky to have an advocate like Peter on their side








Luule Vess – Email Blaster Extraordinaire

Luule was the Speedy Gonzales of email. Having decades of experience as an AIDS activist, starting her own AIDS Service Organization, Project Vida (where she was Sue’s boss), we knew she was good at multi-tasking. What we didn’t know was how fast she’d get through a mile-long list of email addresses to make sure the maximum number of people got our fundraising appeals and updates! Not only that, but she ended up donating almost every time she sent out an appeal! The best part was seeing her at the March – she drove from NC to be there and she wore her HJM t-shirt proudly!




Donna Dewitt – Labor Liaison and Consultant

Donna is another great S.Carolina advocate and president emeritus of the SC AFL-CIO. She worked hard reaching out to union leaders she knows and sending paper letters to locals all over the country. She also offered sage advice and constant encouragement. It was one of the disappointments of the day when medical concerns kept her from attending the HJM, but she remains a valued friend and we look forward to working together again in the future!





Dr. Bill Honigman – Spokesman, Advisor (Rock Star!)

A favorite among core DUH-sters, Dr. Bill was the one who, during our West Coast tour, suggested we do something for Medicare’s 50th. He was also the first speaker to commit to appearing and even agreed to perform his own rendition of Silence Is Consent! Though his job in the ER made it hard for him to join our conference calls, his advice and encouragement were greatly appreciated! He was also our spokesman on his social media pages and during PDA calls, never failing to mention the HJM or get us on the agenda. We love Dr. Bill!
 
​WE ARE TREE ROOTS!