The idea of DUH was born in Sue's Chicago living room in 2010. Following decades of work in the arts - film, stage, opera, and dance - and touring the world with Hubbard Street Dance Company before and after it became Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Sue left for Albuquerque, NM and received certification as a Clinical Herbalist from the SW School of Botanical Medicine (now located in Bisbee, AZ). Sue returned to Chicago, hoping to "corner the market" for herbal medicine in the Midwest. As it turned out, in 1994, most people desperate enough for help to try even gnarly-tasting herbs were those living with HIV/AIDS and 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.
Formerly (1993 - 2002) Sue's boss at Project Vida, the HIV/AIDS agency Luule co-founded in Chicago's underserved Latino "Little Village" community, Luule has spent her life helping others. In 1998, she was inducted into Chicago's Gay & Lesbian Hall of fame and has gone on to work with HIV/AIDS agencies around the country and to volunteer as a visiting companion for seniors. A native of Estonia with a father who lives in France, along with her experience with HIV+ people here, Luule is well-acquainted with the difference between life in countries with universal healthcare and life in the U.S.
For DUH, she has earned herself the title Sainted Queen Volunteer Extraordinaire. She has been indispensable in helping us research candidates, being a Jill-of-All-Trades during the organization of the Healthcare Justice March and now becoming the official post-er on our DUH FB page. Though a non-profit livelihood has left her with no "golden parachute," and we should be paying HER, she still manages to be a frequent donor of small (but invaluable to us) amounts. If all our followers would send the same, we'd HAVE enough money to pay her!
Recently a Phoenix, AZ resident, she now lives in N. Carolina, where she's volunteering in a number of environmental and political activities when she isn't helping DUH. She is a friend, a fighter, a survivor, an overcomer, an inspiration, and most of all, an invaluable helper. And to DUH, she will always be a treasure!
Josh Dill, Comminications Director
Josh is currently DUH's part-time Communications Director. Sue met Josh while volunteering for Dr. David Gill’s campaign. Impressed by his management and commitment, she is excited to have both his knowledge and his help with DUH’s endorsement process.
Josh has a degree in Political Science and experience in data analysis, speech writing, strategy and canvassing which served him well as a field organizer, strategist, and fundraiser for the Gill campaign. He is also a former State Senate Candidate, and has been a campaign organizer and strategist on both the local and Congressional level. He is a member of Progressive Democrats of America and elected Precinct Committeeman for the Sangamon County Democratic party.
His positive energy serves him well as a single dad, but what DUH pays him is laughable (whatever's left in Sue's bank account after her bills are paid) so his talents and skills are completely wasted by driving a FedEx truck to support his family.
Though we know we’ll only have him temporarily until his next paid political job comes along, we are lucky and grateful for every minute he gives DUH. Now if only we could win the lottery and actually pay him, Luule, hire more staff, donate to our candidates, and travel to every event we should attend, DUH and Josh might reach their potential!
Rick Guasco – Graphic Genius
Rick is the designer of our logos, flyers, brochures, and promotional 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. 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.
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 best motel deals, as well as lending his muscle strength and encouragement to the group, carrying heavy items, running for coffee, even arranging for wheelchairs to get Sue around in 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.
Joshua is a man of many talents — his performance of his hauntingly beautiful song, Silence Is Consent (click on his title to hear it), 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.”
ORIGINAL DUH TEAM
Sue and Donna met at the 2012 Global Health & Humanitarian Summit at Emory University where they both spoke, along with filmmakers Laurie Simons and Terry Sterrenberg, who made the introductions. In organizing the first tour with The Healthcare Movie, Donna quickly became indispensable in promoting it and subsequent tours and events, as well as taking the original DUH FB page from 347 followers to almost 90,000 over the next 7 years. She obviously earned her 2013 title of Social Media Director and the 100% raise from her $0 salary and in 2015 she got another title bump (and subsequent 100% raise) to become DUH's Deputy Director until her departure in 2019. Donna continues to repeatedly walk Sue through such inscrutable mazes as how to schedule a post, delete a comment, or find workarounds to the dysfunctions built into Facebook. Donna has several FB pages but hopes the original DUH's 90,000 followers will shift to the renamed page NIMA, National Improved Medicare for All.
Laurie Simons & Terry Sterrenberg - Activists, Filmmakers
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.
Bob Sisler - Labor Activist, HR 676 Expert
A DUH-ster from Detroit, Bob Sisler is a member of Region 1A Retired Workers Chapter of the UAW, and Retirees for Single Payer, and the Michigan Alliance to Strengthen Social Security and Medicare. He organized activists to lobby for and educate about H.R. 676 and worked closely with Representative John Conyers, the bill's sponsor. 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 social justice activist 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 of the McCain/Feingold campaign finance reform bill. 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.
THE HJM TEAM
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 wavered in his belief in our mission, no matter the opposition or obstacles he encountered.
Peter Robbins – Database and Research Hero
Peter lives 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 – Master Email Blaster
Having decades of experience as an AIDS activist, we knew Luule 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!