July 22, 2010

Capitol Hill liaison Bass departs

Capitol Hill liaison Bass departs

Mel Bass

Mel Bass

Bass, VUMC's Director of Federal Affairs since 2000, will work in Cooper's Washington, D.C., office. He replaces James Leuschen, who is now senior policy adviser to Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.

“In his time here, Mel worked closely with the Medical Center's leadership team through some challenging issues, including the recent health care reform, and his insight and advice have been invaluable,” said Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the School of Medicine.

“We wish him well in this exciting new position with Congressman Cooper.”

At Vanderbilt, Bass focused on legislative issues affecting the funding and regulation of the medical education, research and patient care conducted at the Medical Center. He has more than 30 years of policy experience, is a graduate of Georgetown Law School and is a U.S. Naval Air Reserve Veteran.

“My 10 years at VUMC were extraordinarily stimulating and rewarding. I learned so much from the talented and generous people at Vanderbilt, and I can never thank them enough,” Bass said. “Those friendships and that knowledge will be invaluable in my new role with Jim Cooper.

“Jim is one of the most thoughtful, creative and well-informed members of Congress. He digs deep on the issues, and is a leading advocate for fiscally responsible investment in the nation's future needs. He is a visionary thinker on health policy and a strong supporter of federal funding of biomedical research. I look forward to working with Jim on behalf of the people of Middle Tennessee and the nation,” Bass said.

Cooper said he is fortunate to have Bass taking the reins of his policy staff.

“Mel has distinguished himself throughout an extensive career on Capitol Hill and his close connection to Middle Tennessee and will be an incredible asset to our Washington office,” Cooper said.

Beth Fortune, vice chancellor for Public Affairs, said Bass has played an important role in Vanderbilt’s federal relations activities and initiatives over the past decade.

“Fortunately, we will have the opportunity to continue interacting and working with Mel in his new role with Congressman Cooper,” she said.