San Diego’s most vulnerable have lost a true champion with the passing of Greg Knoll, the longtime executive director of the Legal Aid Society of San Diego (LASSD).
For 50 years, Greg — who died on Aug. 27 — led this organization, which delivers high-quality, free legal services to low-income people throughout the county. He served as a fierce and unwavering advocate for the San Diego region’s underserved, helping thousands in need throughout his lifetime. This is a blow to all who knew him, all who worked with him, and all who value health care in San Diego.
During his time at LASSD, Greg revolutionized the delivery of public health care to low-income people. Under his leadership, LASSD founded the Consumer Center for Health Education and Advocacy in 1999 and was one of the founders of the Health Consumer Alliance, a coalition of 10 legal aid organizations throughout the state that provides health consumer advocacy services and education statewide. Since its inception, Greg continuously served as either the chair or co-chair of the Joint Professional and Consumer Advocacy Committee for the Healthy San Diego program.
Greg was the conscience of our health care community, he used his advocacy strengths and authenticity to bring consensus among differing personalities, roles, and systems. He was driven to achieve consensus across disparate opinions and ideas. A master at weaving equity into business discussions, he drove San Diego County’s reputation as the most collaborative county in California.
Our team had the honor of working closely with Greg, and he constantly challenged all of us to help improve how health care is delivered in our community. Every phone call from Greg was an opportunity to collaborate on solutions for patients and community members in need of health care services. With Greg’s leadership, hospitals built a true partnership with LASSD, working side-by-side for decades to navigate changes to Medi-Cal and Medicare. Just last March, we co-hosted a Medi-Cal training for the community with more than 130 staff members from hospitals and community clinics in attendance.
It would be no overstatement to say that Greg played a pivotal role in shaping the health care landscape for the most vulnerable in our community. His unwavering dedication to helping address the harsh realities of poverty, systemic racism, and discrimination was in his DNA.
Greg was set to retire next month. HASD&IC had already planned to honor him at our Annual Meeting in November, now his recognition will be an opportunity for our members and community partners to share memories of Greg. Those who worked closely with Greg know well his commitment to those who are most vulnerable, and he will be remembered as an ardent champion of the underserved. His work as a tireless advocate for people in need over five decades will live on with the LASSD.
Gregory Evans Knoll Legacy Fund
To honor Greg’s legacy, the Legal Aid Society of San Diego has established the Gregory Evans Knoll Legacy Fund.