Guttmacher President and CEO Dr. Herminia Palacio announced today that Heather D. Boonstra has been selected to serve as the Institute’s new Vice President for Public Policy, effective January 1, 2020. Boonstra, currently the Director of Public Policy, will succeed Rachel Benson Gold, who is retiring after over 40 years with the Institute.
Ms. Boonstra’s appointment helps to round out the Institute’s senior executive team, with the goal of reaffirming Guttmacher’s position as a leader and an effective partner in a sexual and reproductive health landscape that is changing rapidly domestically and around the world.
“I am very pleased to welcome Heather in this new role and excited to work with her even more closely as we seek to defend sexual and reproductive health and rights in the face of extraordinary challenges,” said Dr. Herminia Palacio, President and CEO of the Guttmacher Institute. “Heather’s expertise, experience and vision will advance the Institute’s goal of arming advocates, opinion leaders and decision makers with timely evidence and incisive policy analysis. Her longstanding relationships with partners in the field and her commitment to reproductive health, rights and justice are critical at this time in our country’s history, when so much is at stake.”
Ms. Boonstra has held the position as Director of Public Policy in the Institute’s Washington, DC office since 2014. In this capacity, she serves on the Institute’s Management Team, where she helps to set Guttmacher’s overall strategy, coordinate work across divisions and ensure the financial health of the organization. She oversees the Institute’s advocacy efforts and is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Guttmacher Policy Review, a widely read source for timely analysis of sexual and reproductive health policy issues.
“I am grateful and excited for the opportunity to lead our talented policy team, and to maximize the impact that Guttmacher’s research and policy analysis have in the policy sphere,” said Heather Boonstra. “I am proud of the high-quality work our state, federal and global policy teams are doing, and especially how we, along with the rest of the staff, have stepped up to the challenges of a hostile environment at the federal level and in many states.”
Ms. Boonstra joined the Institute in 1999 as a Senior Public Policy Associate, after working with the Reproductive Health Technologies Project, among other organizations in the sexual and reproductive health field. Ms. Boonstra graduated summa cum laude from the University of Oregon and holds an MA in religion from Yale University, where she studied medical ethics. In her previous positions at the Institute, she managed a portfolio of reproductive and sexual health issues and represented Guttmacher in advocacy and outreach activities with Congress, government agencies, coalition partners and other organizations. She has authored numerous policy analyses on issues such as insurance coverage for abortion under Medicaid, the sexual health needs of adolescents in low- and middle-income countries, and the harms of “abstinence-only-until-marriage” programs.
“I am thrilled to know that the Guttmacher policy team and the crucially important work it does will be in such capable hands,” said Rachel Benson Gold, outgoing Vice President for Public Policy. “I have known Heather for more than 20 years, and, throughout her career, she has stood out as a rigorous analyst, a thoughtful and respected colleague and leader, and a compelling communicator. I'm excited to see her take on this new challenge.”