Six new members have joined the federal Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care and Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell has announced.

“We received nearly a hundred nominations for this round of new members, which clearly demonstrates the level of engagement and continued passion towards making progress on this disease,” she said in a statement.

The council, formed in 2011, meets quarterly to continue developing the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease and to advise Burwell on federal programs that affect people with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Members serve in overlapping four-year terms. The new members will replace members whose terms had expired and those who retired in September.

The full council also includes representatives from HHS, the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense and the National Science Foundation.

The new members:

  1. Gary Epstein-Lubow, Ph.D. (healthcare provider). 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 people with dementia in collaborative decision-making models with family caregivers.
  2. Laura Gitlin, Ph.D. (researcher). Gitlin is a professor and the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Innovative Care in Aging. She is nationally and internationally recognized in the areas of nonpharmacologic approaches in dementia care, family caregiving, functional disability and aging in place.
  3. Myriam Marquez (patient advocate). Marquez received a diagnosis of young-onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2009. Before her diagnosis, she was a public defender in Washington state.
  4. Angela Taylor (voluntary health association). Taylor serves as the director of programs at the Lewy Body Dementia Association and oversees the organization’s national programs and services, including outreach, education, awareness programming and research initiatives. 
  5. Sowande Tichawonna (caregiver). 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 caring for his son, who has Down syndrome.
  6. Donna Walberg (state public health department). Walberg provides Alzheimer’s disease expertise and project development and management for the Minnesota Board on Aging, where she worked to draft and pass the legislation to create Minnesota’s Alzheimer’s Plan and served on the state-wide workgroup to develop the plan.