Debbie Forrest

Senior Policy Advisor
Deborah Forrest

Debbie Forrest is a public policy advocate who uses her experience to support clients with strategic solutions that advance their legislative objectives. Debbie’s background in healthcare policy and advocacy provides a uniquely informed perspective as she helps clients navigate the complexities of building support for and pursuing their policy goals.

Debbie has substantial experience with a range of health and social policy issues, including Medicare, Medicaid, public health, biomedical research, family leave, and welfare reform. Prior to joining Venable, she advised clients on public policy in the Washington, DC office of a full-service international law firm. Debbie was the president of the ACT for NIH Foundation, leading the nonprofit organization’s efforts to increase federal funding for biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She also served as deputy director of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues under President Obama. During her time on Capitol Hill, Debbie was a senior advisor for several congressional leaders, including Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, Congressman Robert T. Matsui, and Congressman John W. Olver. Debbie leverages her decades of public policy and nonprofit experience to advance the legislative goals of her clients.




  • M.P.P. Health and Social Policy University of Michigan Ford School of Public Policy 1997
  • B.A. Religion Duke University 1991