Tara Leystra Ackerman is a seasoned policy and legislative professional with more than 10 years of experience working with state and federal government officials on transportation and healthcare initiatives.
At NSC Tara leads state lobbying efforts, with a focus on eliminating motor vehicle crashes, fighting the prescription drug overdose epidemic and improving workplace safety.
In transportation, where 40,000 lives are lost annually to crashes, Tara educates and encourages lawmakers to support bills on seat belt use. In about 50% of motor vehicle fatalities, a car occupant failed to use a seat belt. She also works for legislation to lower the legal blood-alcohol limit to .05, as science shows that impairment begins with the first drink. Tara supports efforts to use automated enforcement at intersections, which also has been successful in reducing crashes.
Prior to joining NSC, Tara served as state affairs associate at the American College of Surgeons. In this role, she supported the ACS Committee on Trauma, Commission on Cancer and state chapters in their advocacy efforts, effectively advocating for policies to improve trauma care, prevent injuries and ensure patients access to quality surgical care.
Before ACS, Tara was the grassroots and state affiliate outreach administrator at the American Society of Clinical Oncology. There she oversaw grassroots efforts, increasing engagement by oncologists in advocating for policies to increase funding for the National Institutes of Health and fixing Medicare programs. Her article on palliative care was published in the Journal of Palliative Medicine and Tara was a regular contributor to Bulletin of the American College of Surgeons.
Tara graduated from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, with a bachelor’s degree in political science, and received her master of public health in health policy from George Washington University.