Sonia Canzater, JD, MPH, oversees the Institute’s Hepatitis Policy Project, which focuses on national Hepatitis C (HCV) law and policy issues, particularly barriers to access to effective treatments for HCV. She also is a part of the Institute’s Addiction and Public Policy Initiative, where she works on projects that address the intersection of incidence and prevalence of infectious diseases such as HCV and HIV and the nation’s injection drug use epidemic.
Prior to joining the Institute, Sonia worked as an adjunct public health instructor at Benedict College, where she taught courses on human diseases, drugs and society, and general health and wellness. She spent several years working for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control’s Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, and as a youth drug abuse prevention program coordinator for the Lexington – Richland Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council in Columbia, South Carolina. She has also worked as a legal intern for the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services in the Office of Civil Rights, where she was part of a team that developed, interpreted, and enforced policy for federal health and civil rights laws such as HIPAA, the Affordable Care Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Civil Rights Act of the 1964.
In addition to her extensive work in public health, Sonia founded a consulting business to offer professional grant research, proposal writing, strategic planning, and evaluation services to non-profit organizations, schools, faith-based organizations, and businesses. Sonia is a Certified Health Education Specialist and a Certified Grants Consultant.
Sonia is also a practicing attorney in the state of Maryland, and an active member of the Bar Association of Montgomery County, Maryland’s pro bono program, where she provides free legal representation and advice to low-income residents.
Sonia holds a Juris Doctor and Master of Public Health from the University of South Carolina, and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Temple University.
A native of Brooklyn, NY, Sonia has made it her professional mission to be a force for change to eliminate health disparities and barriers to health care access in the U.S. She used her personal experiences of facing frustrations navigating the health care system while caring for her sick mother and working with increasingly reduced resources at the health department as the impetuses for her to pursue her Master and Law degrees, so she would have the skills to work with entities that influence U.S. health law and policy. Her work to date has brought attention to barriers to access to life-saving curative treatments for Hepatitis C patients, state violations of federal disability rights laws, and challenges that limit or preclude access to affordable health care for many Americans.