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Lauren Ruiz

Programs Manager

Lauren Ruiz has worked in nonprofits for over a decade, providing education, navigation services, and emotional support to people and families living with complex and chronic diseases. Her career has focused on health insurance access and utilization, having successfully led teams of patient advocates to provide direct support services including health insurance education and enrollment to tens of thousands of people impacted by rare diseases in both private and public health insurance systems.

She is an experienced program manager, public speaker, and patient and caregiver advocate who enjoys working with a diverse range of communities. She believes strongly in the mutually beneficial relationship between patient and patient advocate, whatever form that may take. She attended Virginia Tech, receiving degrees in political science and mass communications with a focus on English writing.


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Greg Smiley

Founder / CEO

Greg brings more than 20 years’ experience in both U.S. domestic and global public health policy and management. Career highlights begin with managing the U.S. Presidential Advisory Council on HIV/AIDS at President Clinton’s White House Office of National AIDS Policy and shepherding the council into former President George W. Bush’s first year. He later inaugurated government affairs programs for two national health nonprofits before joining the United Nations Joint Program on HIV/AIDS in 2008 with duty stations in Washington, D.C., South Africa and Switzerland. In 2017, he separated from the U.N. to return to the U.S. to lead nonprofit work and launched Adira Foundation in 2019.

Greg leads Adira from both professional but also personal experience with complex health needs. Living in Johannesburg in 2013, he sustained multiple traumatic injuries to his face and mouth in a high-speed cycling accident on a nearby mountain road. In the wake of 12 surgeries and multiple complications, he has lived the challenges of health navigation, isolation, and understands the urgency for new approaches to supplement current good work.


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Sarah Ward

Community Outreach Manager

Sarah Ward has nearly 20 years’ experience in the nonprofit sector managing social service programs and public health initiatives both domestically and internationally. She has advocated for better community support for children in out-of-home placements, newly arrived refugees, and women exiting the criminal justice system. Further, she has collaborated on research and symposiums to address social determinants of health and improve healthcare and social service practices. She is passionate about promoting health equity to ensure everyone can attain their best health and believes public health strategies are critical to addressing a variety of community challenges. Sarah has a master’s in public health from the University of Texas in Austin, and a bachelor’s from Central Michigan University in Mount Pleasant.

As a mother of a child with a chronic illness, Sarah understands the commitment it requires to care for a loved one and is passionate about building holistic communities that are better prepared to support specialized needs.