Profile: Barbara Manard -- From bayou to beltway

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LeadingAge VP Barbara Manard
LeadingAge VP Barbara Manard
It's a good thing Barbara Manard likes Boston, or long-term care might be without one of its most respected policy experts. The New Orleans native fell into the field as a graduate student, when her sociology professor asked her to assist with a research project.

“My first question wasn't about the topic—but where I would be doing the research,” she said. “When he told me Boston, I said, ‘You've got your person.'”

But it was the research that ultimately ignited Manard's passion. While conducting interviews for an Administration on Aging study on “old age institutions,” she saw firsthand the need for change.

“We visited some places that had previously been poor farms, and they simply changed the sign on the door,” she said with her gentle southern Louisiana inflection. “You could play bingo or be bored.”

Manard spent the next three decades trying to transform long-term care. She worked on landmark projects such as the Bill of Rights for nursing home residents and The Channeling Project, which looked at reducing institutionalization rates.

 After serving as a policy analyst for the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), Manard moved into private consulting with The Lewin Group. She later assisted ASPE with designing Medicare payment system changes for skilled nursing facilities and home health. Manard also developed or evaluated Medicaid payment systems for more than half of the states.

Since becoming AAHSA's vice president of long-term care and health strategies in 2003, she has focused on financing, quality and information technology issues. One of the highlights of her career was working on the CLASS Act.

Colleagues credit Manard with bringing stakeholders together to approach Congress with a unified voice. Known for working long hours, she is well respected in Washington for her impeccable command of the issues—delivered with a healthy dose of humor.

When she does get a break, Manard enjoys cooking New Orleans style and reading. She recently finished a book of 19th century essays on Creole cooking, which she heard about on the HBO drama “Treme.” Another recent read includes a book on the Panama Canal.

One of Manard's mentors was Robert Derzon, the first administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration (now the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services). And she continues to be inspired by her 90-year-old mother's “contributions to society at every stage in her life.” She describes her as “a post-war mom who stayed home and took care of the family, drove us to games and taught us to read.”

Manard has fond memories of growing up surrounded by relatives. When Hurricane Katrina devastated her hometown, she helped launch Washington Episcopalians Respond to Katrina, which brought in volunteers to help rebuild her home town.

Friends say the city's culture, as well as its challenges, are close to Manard's heart. She might like other places such as Boston, but as AAHSA colleague Robyn Stone puts it, “Barbara is a New Orleans girl through and through.”

Please send your resident care-related questions to Sherrie Dornberger at



Earns A.B. from Vassar College

Receives Certificate in Health Planning from the Uçniversity of Virginia School of Medicine

Earns doctorate degree in sociology from the University of Virginia

Assistant Professor of Sociology,
University of California-Riverside

Policy Analyst at Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE), HHS

VP of the Lewin Group

Special Expert Consultant, ASPE

Founds and
operates the Manard Company

Becomes VP of Long-Term Care/Health Strategies, AAHSA