Resume of an Activist

Anne C Woodlen

Syracuse NY 13210                                                         

“Perhaps when we face our maker, we will not be asked, ‘How many positions did you hold,’ but rather, ‘How many people did you help?’” ―Thomas S. Monson

In 2001 I began the work necessary to cause Centro’s Call-a-Bus, the paratransit subsidiary, to achieve the standards set by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act.  This included working with the Public Transportation Advisory Committee (at ARISE) and Centro, stimulating the re-creation of Centro’s advisory council for paratransit, and working in cooperation with the FTA Office of Civil Rights.  The result was a completely revamped eligibility process for more than four thousand riders, as well as the procurement of additional buses.  (See March 2008.)

Simultaneously, I began work on Medical Answering Services (MAS), a private corporation that dispatches rides for 22,000 Medicaid recipients in Onondaga County.  The service was substandard and noncompliant with regulations.  After failing to get working cooperation from the Onondaga County Dept. of Social Services or Legislature, I pressed the issue with a state senator and thence to the NYS Office of the Medicaid Inspector General.  In 2009 MAS was fined $80,000 and required to sign a Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA)—the first and one of only seven times that OMIG has resorted to using a CIA.  (Available on-line at

In 2010 I presented a convincing case to the mayor to get the City of Syracuse to restore the curb-cuts in the Adams/University/Harrison/Almond Street corridor, which is the city’s most heavily traveled area and in which vehicular and wheelchair traffic were intermingled in the streets.

Consequent to working with the administration of Crouse Hospital, they replaced broken sidewalks and stopped putting front loaders and dump trucks to work removing snow from parking lots in the middle of the night under the windows of a HUD-subsidized apartment building that is home to 176 people.

SUNY Upstate Medical Center’s laboratories had been denying patients copies of their test reports.  Following my intervention, President Dr. Smith directed his lawyers to rectify the situation.

Madison County Mothers:  Two women in Madison County were being denied visitation with their sons in a psychiatric treatment center.  Using my contacts with the state, I was able to get the local barriers withdrawn.

Working with the NYS Department of Health, the Visiting Nurses Association has been found to be in violation of Title X, and is working to become compliant.  Additionally, there is a state DOH investigation into the performance of the Long Term Care Unit of the regional office.

I assist citizens in filing complaints through the Citizens Review Board to the Syracuse Chief of Police regarding questionable police behavior.

When the Syracuse Post-Standard newspaper declined to publish information about the county use of Welfare and Medicaid, I researched the matter, procured raw demographic data from the Onondaga County Dept. of Social Services about the 60,000 people that receive taxpayer support and published it on my blog.  Those blogs have been read by about 7000 people and are available at and

Currently I am working on a book entitled “God, Caesar and the Citizen,” as published on my blog beginning at and continuing forward.

Prior to 1975, I was employed in various secretarial positions.  In 1975, consequent to the death of my fiancé and following the orders of physicians, I took antidepressants every day for 26 years, which resulted in full disability commencing in 1991. I stopped taking antidepressants in 2001 and completely recovered from all psychiatric illness, however, the psychiatric medications left me with permanent physical disabilities.

In the past decade I probably have helped about a hundred thousand citizens.  It’s a start.

About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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