Center for Reproductive Rights Announces Lourdes Rivera as Senior Vice President, U.S. Programs

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(PRESS RELEASE) Lourdes Rivera has joined the Center for Reproductive Rights as the organization’s new Senior Vice President for U.S. Programs. Rivera most recently served as Senior Program Officer at the Ford Foundation.

Rivera is a leader in the fields of health law and policy, women’s rights, and sexual reproductive health and rights, bringing more than 26 years of nonprofit expertise and an impressive background to the Center. At the Ford Foundation, she designed and implemented the Foundation’s U.S. and global sexual and reproductive health and rights grant making initiatives, using a social justice and human rights approach. Joining the Center, she brings years of strategy experience in fundraising, organizational development, capacity building, and policy advocacy. Rivera is a leader and has mentored women of color in the reproductive health and rights. She is widely known for putting the concept of intersectionality into practice and leveraging efforts with donor partners. 

As Senior Vice President of U.S. Programs, Rivera will serve as a member of the Center’s management team and oversee the Center’s U.S. work, including litigation, human rights advocacy, and state, federal, and foreign policy. 

“I’m honored to join an organization that is so well-respected across the globe and so critical to the lives of millions of women around the world,” said Lourdes Rivera, Senior Vice President, U.S. Programs at the Center. “I look forward to bringing my experience, including my partnerships with diverse allies, to build on the Center’s legal and advocacy successes to ensure that all women can access the reproductive health services they need.”

“Lourdes Rivera’s leadership, depth of knowledge in reproductive rights and law, and hands-on experience will be a critical resource to the Center as she leads our U.S. portfolio,” said Nancy Northup, president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights. “We are delighted to have Lourdes join the team, especially at a time when we will face particularly formidable challenges in defending reproductive rights and health.”

Before joining the Ford Foundation in 2006, Rivera was the Managing Attorney of the Los Angeles office of the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) and specialized in issues relating to Medicaid, managed care, and women’s and children’s health. In 1996, she created and directed NHeLP’s Initiative to Promote Access to Reproductive Health Care for Low-Income Women. Previously, Rivera worked in Washington D.C. as a Senior Associate with the Children’s Defense Fund, Health Division and as a Georgetown Women’s Law and Public Policy Fellow with the National Women’s Law Center. She co-founded California Latinas for Reproductive Justice and formerly served as a member of the American Bar Association’s Council of the Individual Rights and Responsibilities Section (now known as Civil Rights and Justice Section). Within the American Public Health Association (APHA), she served on its action board, as a section counselor to APHA's Population, Family Planning and Reproductive Health Section, and as a member of its Latino Caucus. Rivera was also an active member and former Board Treasurer of the Funders Network on Population Family Planning and Reproductive Health and Rights and previously served as the co-chair of its Women of Color Working Group. Rivera was former board member and board chair of the National Women’s Health Network. Rivera currently serves on the boards of the National Health Law Program and the Brush Foundation.

Rivera has a J.D. from Yale Law School and a B.A. in Latin American Studies from Yale University.  She is an adjunct Professor at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, where she teaches a graduate level course in Health and Human Rights.

The Center for Reproductive Rights’ game changing litigation and advocacy work, combined with its unparalleled expertise in the use of constitutional, international, and comparative human rights law, have transformed how reproductive rights are understood by courts, governments, and human rights bodies. It has played a key role in securing legal victories in the U.S., Latin America, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and Eastern Europe on issues including access to life-saving obstetrics care, contraception, safe abortion services, and comprehensive sexuality information, as well as the prevention of forced sterilization, child marriage, and female genital mutilation. It has brought groundbreaking cases before national courts, U.N. Committees, and regional human rights bodies, and has built the legal capacity of women’s rights advocates in over 60 countries. It is headquartered in New York with offices in Washington, D.C., Bogota, Colombia, Geneva, Switzerland, Kathmandu, Nepal, and Nairobi, Kenya.

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