Sunday, January 21, 2024

Chris Chavis Returns to Legal Ruralism

For the first time in four years, I am back on Legal Ruralism! It is a tremendous honor to be able to return to my former blogging home and contribute to the collective knowledge of rural access to justice and continue advocating for solutions.

Where I have been for the last four years? 

In December 2019, I was fortunate enough to land at the National Indian Health Board in Washington, DC where I was able to directly advocate for access to health care for rural Tribal populations. My specialty was Medicaid policy, which exposed me to politics in a variety of states. One of my first projects was advocating against Medicaid work requirements, which given their impact on rural populations was a dream come true. As we all know, March 2020 changed everyone's world and I was thrown head first into the world of health policy during a once in a century global pandemic. I conducted policy research and led advocacy efforts to preserve and expand access to health care for rural Tribal populations (who were hardest hit by the pandemic). I started out as a Policy Analyst and left in the Summer of 2022 as the Policy Director. This experience was transformative.

I left NIHB so my wife and I could move to her hometown of Los Angeles to start our family. Our daughter was born in October! In December 2022, my wife and I began working on what has become Chavis Policy Group - where we provide BIPOC and rural serving non-profits with policy research, advocacy, and campaign planning support. We also provide policy research and education on matters that impact rural and BIPOC populations, including the historical underpinnings of many of the systemic inequities that we see manifested daily in our communities. My return to Legal Ruralism is part of the latter initiative. 

I grew up in rural Tribal community in southeastern North Carolina and spent five years in Washington, DC. During my time in DC, one of the consistent themes that I saw was a lack of representation of impoverished rural and BIPOC interests in policy discussions. Chavis Policy Group seeks to change that. It makes no sense for the vast majority of the small nonprofits that serve rural and BIPOC populations to employ a policy staff, but it does make sense for them to be engaged in the policy process. 

I am looking forward to being active in this space again and going back to contributing (what I hope is) top-notch policy research and commentary. 

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