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Press Release: HHS Secretary Thomas E. Price Announces New Chair and New Members of Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care, and Services

September 28, 2017

Contact: HHS Press Office
(202) 690-6343

Printer Friendly Version in PDF Format (2 PDF pages)

Today, HHS Secretary Tom Price, M.D. announced seven new members to serve on the Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care, and Services. The Council, established in 2011, convenes quarterly to advise the Secretary on federal programs that affect people with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias, and continue development and progress on the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease by HHS, Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, and the National Science Foundation. The new members will serve four-year terms and replace the members whose terms expire in September. Secretary Price addressed the six outgoing members of the Council at their last meeting in July, thanking them for their service and dedication.

"We are pleased to welcome this group of experienced members, including a patient advocate living with dementia, to continue the important work of the Advisory Council in assisting HHS with further progress on treating and curing Alzheimer's disease and related dementias," said Secretary Price. "We received over a hundred nominations for this round of new members, which clearly demonstrates the level of engagement and continued commitment towards making progress on this disease."

Dr. Laura N. Gitlin, who joined the Council in 2015, will be the next Chair of the Council, replacing Dr. Ronald Petersen. Dr. Gitlin is an applied research sociologist, is the Isabel Hampton Robb Distinguished Professor within the School of Nursing with joint appointments in the Department of Psychiatry and Division of Geriatric Medicine within the School of Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. Starting February 1, 2018, she will be the Distinguished Professor and Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions, Drexel University.

The new members are as follows:

Cynthia Huling Hummel (Patient Advocate - Person Living with Dementia)
Reverend Dr. Hummel was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in early 2016. She has participated in numerous presentations and speeches about her disease and is actively helping plan the upcoming National Research Summit on Care, Services and Supports for Persons with Dementia and Their Caregivers.

Debra Cherry (Patient Advocate)
Dr. Cherry is currently the Executive Vice President of Alzheimer's Greater Los Angeles. For more than 25 years, she has been an effective advocate for persons with dementia and their families. She has led numerous initiatives to develop and evaluate programs to improve quality of care for people living with dementia and advocated at the local, state, and national level to increase access to services. She has expertise across a number of areas as a provider in geriatric psychology, advocate, and leader of an association.

Katie Brandt (Caregiver)
Ms. Brandt is Director of Caregiver Support Services in the Frontotemporal dementia unit at Massachusetts General Hospital. She came as a member of the public to an Advisory Council meeting in July 2014, where she told her moving personal story of losing her young husband to frontotemporal dementia and caring for her father who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease at the same time.

Allan Levey (Healthcare Provider)
Dr. Levey is the Director of Emory University's Alzheimer's Disease Research Center and Chairman of the Department of Neurology. He is widely respected among providers and researchers in this field. Dr. Levey is a practicing neurologist in addition to his work on neurodegenerative research and will bring an important dually-informed perspective to the Council.

Bradley Hyman (Researcher)
Dr. Hyman is a world renowned neurologist, neuropathologist and neuroscientist with extensive experience in basic and translational neurosciences of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. Dr. Hyman has served at NACA, as chairman, and as an Alzheimer's Disease Research Center director. He is also involved in new criteria of Alzheimer's disease and related dementias and developed the standardized neuropathological criteria for Alzheimer's diagnosis.

Becky Kurtz (State Public Health Department)
For more than 25 years, Ms. Kurtz has influenced aging policy at state and federal levels and led the provision of social and advocacy services for older adults and individuals with disabilities. Ms. Kurtz currently directs the Aging and Independence Services group within the Atlanta Regional Commission, widely regarded as one of the most innovative area agencies on aging (AAA) in the nation. Previously she led the Long-Term Ombudsman program both at the state and federal levels and provided legal services to low income elders. In each of these roles, Ms. Kurtz has served and advocated for individuals living with dementia, their families and caregivers.

Robert Egge (Voluntary Health Association)
Mr. Egge is the Alzheimer's Association's Chief Public Policy Officer and Executive Vice President, Government Affairs, and leads the Association's Public Policy division based in Washington, DC. The division includes government affairs, policy development and grassroots advocacy teams working in pursuit of policies to better serve those affected by Alzheimer's disease and related disorders.

The full Advisory Council also includes federal members and meets quarterly to continue development and progress on the National Plan to Address Alzheimer's Disease by HHS, Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, and the National Science Foundation. Find the roster at:

Alzheimer's disease currently affects 5.3 million Americans and is expected to affect more than 20 million by 2050. The National Alzheimer's Project Act pledges to help people and families across the country whose lives are touched by Alzheimer's disease and related dementias. The Act continues to help strengthen dementia research, clinical care, and long-term care services and supports for affected individuals and their families.

The next meeting of the Advisory Committee will be October 27, 2017. For more information on the Advisory Committee, please visit


Note: All HHS press releases, fact sheets and other press materials are available at

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Last Revised: September 28, 2017

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