Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care, and Services Members


Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care, and Services Members

An Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care, and Services was established to advise the Secretary for HHS on work conducted or needed regarding Alzheimer's disease and related dementias (AD/ADRD), and provide recommendations for the National Plan on a yearly basis. The Advisory Council meets officially every quarter for public meetings, and through subcommittee meet as often as necessary.

The Advisory Council is made up of federal and non-federal members. Federal members are comprised of experts/designees from: the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; the Administration on Aging; the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services; the Indian Health Service; the National Institutes of Health;; the National Science Foundation; the Department of Veterans Affairs; the Food and Drug Administration; and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Non-federal members include: Alzheimer's patient advocates; Alzheimer's caregivers; health care providers; state health department representatives; researchers with Alzheimer's-related expertise; and voluntary health association representatives.


Table of Contents

Non-Federal Advisory Council Members

Federal Advisory Council Members

Past Non-Federal Advisory Council Members

Comments and questions, or alerts to broken links, should be sent to

Non-Federal Advisory Council Member Biographies

Chair -- Laura N. Gitlin, Ph.D.

Dr. Gitlin, who joined the Advisory Council in 2015, is the current Chair of the Council, replacing Dr. Ronald Petersen. Dr. Gitlin is an applied research sociologist with over 30 years of research developing and testing novel interventions in dementia care and caregiving. She is the Distinguished University Professor and Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions, Drexel University and adjunct professor, Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing.


Katie Brandt

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.


Debra Cherry

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.


Michelle Dionne-Vahalik

Ms. Dionne-Vahalik holds a Doctorate in Nursing Practice and has been an RN for 27 years. Most of her clinical and nursing experience has been caring for those who are aging. She has a back ground in acute care, long term care, and home and community based services. Her state government experience includes long term care regulatory, home and community based services, Medicaid waivers and state plan services, and quality based initiatives. She currently is the Director of the Office of the Quality Monitoring Program with Texas Health and Human Services (THHS). As part of her role with THHS most of her work has been implementing programs and educating the Texas workforce on care of those with Alzheimer's or a Dementia related condition. This includes evidence based practice and alternate interventions in lieu of pharmaceuticals. In addition, Michelle also oversees the annual Texas Geriatric Symposium and the initiative with the University of Texas of Austin's School of Nursing, Center for Excellence in Long Term Care.


Robert Egge

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.


Gary Epstein-Lubow

Dr. Lubow is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at the Warren Alpert Medical School at Brown University. He is a geriatric psychiatrist with research, teaching, policy, clinical, and administrative experience related to treating persons with dementia in collaborative shared decision-making models with family caregivers.


Cynthia Huling Hummel

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.


Bradley Hyman

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

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 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.


Allan Levey

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.


Angela Taylor

Ms. Taylor serves as the Director of Programs at the Lewy Body Dementia Association (LBDA), and has the responsibility to oversee LBDA's national programs and services, including outreach, education, awareness programming, and research initiatives.


Sowande Tichawonna

Mr. Tichawonna is an award-winning independent filmmaker and actor from Washington, D.C. He was a caregiver for his mother, who suffered from dementia, and is currently caring for his son with Down syndrome. His experiences will keep the concerns of the millions of caregivers around the country at the forefront of the Advisory Council's conversation.


Federal Advisory Council Member Agency Affiliations

Department of Health and Human Services

Kara Townsend, M.P.H., Deputy Assistant Secretary for Disability, Aging and Long-Term Care Policy, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation

Bruce Finke, M.D., Elder Care Consultant, Indian Health Service

Richard Hodes, M.D., Director, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health

Shari Ling, M.D., Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Center for Clinical Standards and Quality, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Arlene S. Bierman, M.D., M.S., Director, Center for Evidence and Practice Improvement, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality

Erin Long, M.S.W., Office of Supportive and Caregiver Services, Administration on Aging/Administration for Community Living

Lisa C. McGuire, Ph.D., Lead, Alzheimer's Disease and Healthy Aging Program, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Joan Weiss, Ph.D., R.N., C.R.N.P., F.A.A.N., Chief, Geriatrics and Allied Health Branch, Health Resources and Services Administration


Department of Defense

Anthony Pacifico, Ph.D., Militarily Relevant Peer Reviewed Alzheimer's Research Program Telemedicine and Advanced Technology Research Center MCMR-TT


National Science Foundation

Deborah Olster, Ph.D., Senior Science Advisor, Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Science


Department of Veterans Affairs

Richard M. Allman, M.D., Chief Consultant for Geriatrics and Extended Care Services


Past Non-Federal Advisory Council Members

The following people served a term on the Advisory Council.

Anita Albright, M.A.

Laurel Coleman, M.D., FACP

Yanira Cruz, M.P.H., Dr.P.H.

Eric J. Hall

David P. Hoffman, M.Ed.

Harry M. Johns

Jennifer J. Manly, Ph.D.

Myriam Marquez

Helen M. Matheny, M.S., A.P.R.

Julie McMahon, R.N.

Jennifer Mead

Dennis Moore

Ronald Petersen, Ph.D., M.D.

David Hyde Pierce

Laura Trejo, M.S.G., M.P.A.

George Vradenburg

Donna Walberg

Geraldine Woolfolk


Return to

Home Page

What is Alzheimer's Disease
& Related Dementias

Advisory Council on Alzheimer's
Research, Care, & Services

National Plan &
Other NAPA Documents

Other Information