Many Consumer Voice members, advocates and colleagues remember a treasured friend and co-worker, Jackie Koenig. Jackie was the first Communications Director of Consumer Voice and later became Director of the National Long-Term Care Ombudsman Resource Center. Jackie met an untimely death in 1998 but memories of her unique brand of heartening advocacy live on.
One of Jackie’s many “specialties” was mentoring new people in gerontology, a practice she began in the 1980s when she served as a local ombudsman in Ohio and as a member of the Consumer Voice's Board of Directors. She was devoted to helping people approach their advocacy with positive passion, and was always enthusiastic about the many young interns the Consumer Voice has been privileged to tutor. That's why, in honor of her legacy, Jackie’s friends and family established a special fund to support the Jackie Koenig Memorial Summer Internship Program.
Each summer, a fundraiser is held in Washington, DC, to build a fund to sustain our internship program throughout the year. Interns make a special contribution to the Consumer Voice's advocacy through specific projects.
Each year the Consumer Voice holds a summer event in Jackie's memory. Long-term care advocates gather at Consumer Voice for an open house and share stories and raise fund to support the Jackie Koenig Internship Program.
Deepa Menon, 2009
My Koenig Memorial Internship Experience
As a law student, walking into an internship can be an intimidating and daunting prospect. I was concerned whether my two semesters of writing academic memos and briefs would be enough to guide me through three months of the real world. From a separate perspective, I had heard stories of interns being forced to play solitaire for lack of work. My fears were unfounded. At the Consumer Voice, I was given the opportunity to work with a group of seasoned policy experts who patiently took the time to teach me the ropes, and who gave me the freedom to experiment and expand my understanding through a plethora of opportunities.
My responsibilities at the Consumer Voice were primarily divided between assisting advocacy efforts for Nursing Home Transparency, researching the policy and legal basis to challenge the ongoing racial discrimination in nursing home care, summarizing potential legislation such as the Community Choice Act, assessing the legal implications of such legislation, and gathering content for the policy pages of Consumer Voice’s new website. In addition, I was given the opportunity to meet with and listen to healthcare and civil rights law practitioners across the country. Adding to the equation was a group of fun, committed and understanding individuals, and the result was a fruitful and enlightening summer.
The full impact of my work did not strike me until mid summer, when Janet Wells, the Consumer Voice’s Policy Director, invited me to attend a Capitol Hill meeting that the late Senator Kennedy had called for to discuss the Community Choice Act. The Act aside, what really touched me was the crowd of expectant faces who attended the meeting. These were people whose lives could change as a result of what would be just words for scores of policy experts and legal practitioners across the country. That moment, looking around the room, I realized the magnitude, for lack of a better word, of the profession that I was stepping into. And the reality of its impact.
2007 Interns Allison Leib, Abigail Andrus and Anthony
Pledger with Ralph Nader
Kristy Smith, 2008
Anthony Pledger, 2007
Victoria Schall, 2006
Monika Ras, 2005
Luisa Grillo-Chope, 2003
Tanisha Landrum, 2002
Danielle Giordano, 2001