Elisabeth Ryden Benjamin
Vice President of Health Initiatives
Joined CSS: 2008
Departments & Programs
Elisabeth Benjamin is the Vice President of Health Initiatives at the Community Service Society, where she supervises health policy, health advocacy, and consumer health assistance programs, including: the CSS Navigator Network, Community Health Advocates, Independent Consumer Advocacy Network, Harlem Health Advocates Project, and the Small Business Assistance Program. Collectively, these programs help over 100,000 New Yorkers each year enroll in or use their health insurance or access low-cost health care. Most of these programs offer direct assistance through a toll-free helpline or in-person assistance through a network of community-based organizations and small business-serving groups. She is a co-founder of Health Care for All New York Campaign (HCFANY), a statewide coalition of over 170 organizations devoted to securing affordable, quality health care for all New Yorkers. She has published extensively and has been a frequent commentator about health policy issues.
She has received a number of honors, including: the New York State Health Foundation Health Care Luminary Award (2016); Progressive Leadership Award from Citizen Action of New York (2012), State Consumer Health Advocate Award from Families USA (2011), the Special Merit Award from the Public Health Association of NYC (2009), and was labeled a “Health Care Hero” in New York’s Westsider newspaper. Prior to CSS, Ms. Benjamin worked as a health lawyer at the New York Civil Liberties Union, the Legal Aid Society, and Bronx Legal Services. She also worked overseas in various community health and humanitarian projects in India, Iraq, the Philippines, Morocco, and Tunisia.
Ms. Benjamin received a Master of Science degree in Health Policy and Management from Harvard School of Public Health in 1988 and a Juris Doctor degree from Columbia University School of Law in 1992. She clerked for the Honorable Robert Sweet, a federal District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York. In 2003-2004, she was a Visiting Scholar in Bioethics in a program jointly run by Montefiore Medical Center, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and New York University.