Michele Ramos is the Kathy Olsen Patient Safety Advocate for Consumer Watchdog focusing on health care, patient safety, legislation, and regulatory board matters in California. She has 20 years experience working in the public interest. She is a statewide and national patient advocate and brings that experience to Consumer Watchdog leading the effort to organize advocates to work on medical board public policy, medical board sunset review, legislation, and public participation in legislative hearings.
With a passion for public advocacy, Michele worked in politics at Los Angeles City Hall and spent years on the campaign trail throughout the State of California. Following graduation from UC Irvine, she worked for two Los Angeles City Councilmembers based out of Los Angeles City Hall. As a Communications Director, she covered media and public relations at Los Angeles City Hall and throughout the district including managing public relations staff at El Pueblo de Los Angeles Historical Monument otherwise known as Olvera Street. Her greatest accomplishments in the community include contributing to the foundation of the Boyle Heights Youth Opportunity Movement and the many landmarks throughout the district which are still serving generations of constituents throughout the Eastside and Northeast Los Angeles.
Michele worked to promote water issues by managing the media and public relations for two water districts. She brought the issue of water conservation and access to drinking water to communities from the South Bay to the San Gabriel Valley through community outreach and education.
She managed and consulted for political campaigns across California. She was the campaign manager for successful Los Angeles City Council races, she was the political consultant for winning municipal races, and she organized the Latino community in Oxnard. The tools she learned in political organizing served her well as she transitioned from political organizing to the politics of health care.
Michele’s career in health care public advocacy was born in the trials of personal tragedy. Her life, activism, love for community and public service mirrored the background, interests, and goals of her then fiancé Lloyd Monserratt. Months before their wedding, Lloyd entered a Los Angeles hospital and died tragically in 2003 three days following elective surgery.
Michele’s determined tenacity uncovered that Lloyd was a victim of surgical errors that remained unaddressed by complicit hospital staff and was committed by a doctor with a disreputable medical practice, a significant criminal record, and a history of substance abuse.
Determined to change public policy and legislation to improve patient safety, Michele spent the next 15 years working on improving medical board transparency, legislation to improve consumer protection, and building coalitions to focus on the lack of consumer protection. Some of Michele’s accomplishments include the 2008 passage of SB 1441 which called for the Uniform Standards for the evaluation, monitoring, and discipline of all substance abusing health care professionals in the State of California. The Uniform Standards provide consequences for minor and major violations and is one of the few tools that the Medical Board of California possesses to issue a cease practice order. Another legislative accomplishment that Michele worked on is the 2018 passage of the Patients Right to Know Act. Michele spent two years lobbying for the legislation that requires some doctors on probation to notify their patients of their probation for negligence related to substance abuse, sexual misconduct, criminal conviction involving patient harm, and over prescribing resulting in harm to patients. This groundbreaking legislation originated from her advocacy group’s earlier policy efforts and national advocates mirrored these efforts to produce similar legislation in Washington State.
Michele’s focus is on Consumer Watchdog’s advocacy to improve patient safety in California. She works with families across the state to educate the region on medical negligence and the movement to update the cap on medical negligence lawsuits. Michele’s expertise in political organizing has led her to oversee a campaign in the Central Valley to educate families on maternal health issues, medical negligence, the medical negligence cap, and physician accountability. She helps families navigate through the state regulatory process while empowering them to transition from victims to advocates working for the betterment of Californians.