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Season 4 Episode 21: 9/11 Victims Compensation Program Expands


This week Mary and Alex speak with Barasch & McGarry Partner, Sara Director as well as 9/11 Survivor diagnosed with uterine cancer, Karen Smith-Hagman to discuss the World Trade Center Health Program recently naming Uterine and Endometrial cancer to the list of conditions covered by the Victims Compensation Fund.



Guest Bios

Sara Director is a Partner at Barasch & McGarry who handles 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) claims, as well as complex personal injury cases.

Sara joined Barasch & McGarry in 2006 and earned her partnership in 2018, after demonstrating her dedication and commitment to the firm’s clients, resulting in numerous multi-million-dollar recoveries. Sara, a 9/11 survivor, interacts with the firm’s 9/11 clients daily, from their initial phone call to submitting their claims to the Victim Compensation Fund.

Sara takes a hands-on approach to her cases, working directly with our clients to ensure that they feel comfortable with the process and that their voices are heard. Her own 9/11 experience provides her unique insight and compassion toward our clients. From day one until the case is resolved, Sara is a fierce advocator and has demonstrated herself to be a champion for 9/11 and accident victims.

Drawing upon her two decades of court litigation experience, she has successfully won multiple appeals for our 9/11 clients. Her persistence, legal insight, and personal attention to every client have enabled her to win even the most challenging of appeal situations.

She has also been honored to lecture at numerous 9/11-related events to help spread the word about the Victim Compensation Fund and World Trade Center Health Care Program.

In addition to her 9/11 work, her practice includes all types of general negligence cases, with an emphasis on line-of-duty accidents on behalf of the FDNY and NYPD, as well as motor vehicle, trips and falls, premises liability and labor law accidents.

Sara’s accomplishments have been recognized by her peers in the legal community, earning her a place as a Rising Star in the 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and a Super Lawyer 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022 in the editions of Super Lawyers magazine. She has also been asked to lecture to her peers in the legal community on various legal topics.


Karen Smith-Hagman is a registered nurse with a Master’s Degree. She has a clinical background in behavioral health and more than 35 years of experience in managed care and has extensive experience in health plan clinical operations, health policy planning, programming, implementation and product development to improve clinical and financial outcomes.

Smith-Hagman has served in various senior-level capacities at the New Jersey State Psychiatric Hospital System,CentraState Medical Center and for EmblemHealth, Magellan Health Services, HealthNet, Integra,Inc., MHNet and Mnaged Health Networks,Inc. Ms. Smith-Hagman’s most recent position was at Blue Cross of Idaho where for the past 6 years she has served as the Vice President , Clinical Consultancy for BCI working with National and select client groups to help find opportunities to improve clinical outcomes and the health status of group members.


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Episode Links


Episode Highlights

  • Intro [0:13]

  • Welcome Back! [1:21]

  • Guest introductions [1:29]

  • Uterine cancer [2:22]

  • 9/11 Bill: Victim Compensation [2:42]

  • World Trade Center Health Program [4:10]

  • Compensation [4:20]

  • Educated and informed doctors [4:32]

  • “Never forget” [5:40]

  • Men vs Women [6:15]

  • 69 qualifying conditions [8:06]

  • Karen’s story [8:50]

  • Uterine/Endometrial cancer diagnosis [10:35]

  • Memorial Sloan Kettering [10:45]

  • 5 years NED [13:15]

  • Initial symptoms [16:10]

  • Transvaginal ultrasound [18:40]

  • Total hysterectomy [20:51]

  • Chemotherapy [23:01]

  • Adding uterine cancer [27:16]

  • Accommodations for employees with cancer [29:27]

  • 1 in 3 people get cancer [30:31]

  • Who is eligible for compensation? [33:35]

  • Providers who KNOW what to look for [37:23]

  • Autoimmune and heart conditions [38:57]

  • Incredible work [39:34}

  • Who to contact [40:10]

  • Thank you! [42:58]

Summary Keywords

Podcast, Spotify, Anchor, research, advocacy, cancer, 911, compensation, Barasch and McGarry, uterine cancer, endometrial cancer, Memorial Sloan Kettering, World Trade Center




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