Board of Directors

Board of Directors 2018-12-04T09:35:09+00:00

Jill Vitale-Aussem

Bio to follow

Jan Bays

Bio to follow

Mike Belleville

Michael R Belleville retired at the age of 54 after being diagnosed with Lewy Body dementia. Mike was a telecommunications technician for nearly 20 years and also served in the Rhode Island Air National Guard for 12 years. After realizing that he could still contribute in a meaningful way, Mike became an advocate for those living with dementia. He was a member of the Alzheimer’s Association national Early Stage Advisory Group in 2016.

Mike’s main advocacy focus now is working with the DAA to help others and to work to reduce the stigmas associated with dementia. Mike’s favorite quote is from Jackie Robinson “A life is not important except for the impact it has on other lives” and in Mike’s opinion no organization personifies that quote better the Dementia Action Alliance.


Since her diagnosis at age 57 with Vascular Dementia, Paulan has been an active advocate, serving as a mentor with Dementia Mentors;  on the panel for “Dementia Chats”; and frequent cohost for Alzheimer’s Speaks radio shows. She has written a short booklet about vascular dementia which is available on Amazon to download free for Kindle Prime members and $.99 for all other downloads. She was interviewed for the Nashville Public Television documentary , “Aging Matters: Living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia”, and she serves on DAA’s Advisory Council.  Her mission is to educate and help individuals with dementia and their care partners understand and learn compensatory strategies for living well with dementia.


Sandy is currently Principal of Douglass Consulting, after 24 years of dedicated service as the CEO of Forest Hills, an award-winning retirement community in Washington, DC, where she was a well-respected leader in aging services locally and nationally. Sandy is a licensed nursing home administrator with expertise in long-term care operations, policy, construction management, assisted living, skilled nursing and dementia care. Sandy also brings to the DAA her personal experience leading care teams for her mother, mother-in-law and other family members living with dementia.


Emily is a strategy consultant, policy analyst, evaluator, community organizer, and sociologist.  She was formerly the lead for Dementia Friendly Massachusetts and an evaluation consultant with the Massachusetts Lifespan Respite Coalition. Emily’s personal experience care partnering with her parents, who lived with dementia, was life-changing. This experience catapulted her into what is now her first love – reframing dementia.  She is committed to change-making so that individuals living with dementia may continue to live well, enjoying meaningful engagement in communities that support and celebrate them and the life they choose.  She facilitates a memory-making café and a dementia-friendly fitness program at her local Y, and has created a multimedia installation called Dementia’s Way.

Emily earned a doctorate in sociology from Boston College and an MBA from Northeastern University’s Executive MBA program.  She is also an Installation Artist and Reiki Master.


Christopher E. Laxton, CAE, is a career association professional with 35 years of experience in nonprofit leadership, governance and operations. Laxton has worked with healthcare organizations primarily, over 20 of them as a CEO.  He was appointed Executive Director of AMDA – The Society for Post-Acute and Long-Term Care Medicine (AMDA) – in February 2013.  He serves on the Boards of Directors of the Advancing Excellence in Long-Term Care Coalition, the Center for Excellence in Assisted Living, and the Dementia Action Alliance.  Since 2008, Laxton has served as a National Examiner on the Board of Examiners for the prestigious Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, the nation’s highest award for organizational performance excellence.


Karen Love is a gerontologist and a nationally known expert in aging supports and services with a specialty in dementia care.  She was a long-term care administrator for many years.  For the last 17 years, Ms. Love has worked at the intersection of research, policies and practices that enhance the well-being of individuals living with dementia and for those who care about and for them.  She co-founded four national aging advocacy organizations (CCAL-Advancing Person-Centered Living, the Direct Care Alliance, the Center for Excellence in Assisted Living, and the Dementia Action Alliance).  Ms. Love is the Alliance’s Executive Director.


Chris Perna joined The Eden Alternative, Inc., as its CEO in June, 2010. Since joining Eden, Chris has led the organization to expand their person-centered care training and educational offerings and most recently has led the organization’s efforts to grow through large grant projects funded with CMP funds. Under his leadership Eden has developed the most complete package of person-centered tools and trainings available in the market today to support deep organizational culture change across the continuum of care.


As current Board Chair of DAA and past Chair of CCAL-Advancing Person-Centered Living, Jackie is a well-respected national advocate to advance person-centered dementia care, services, and supports. Her mission to enhance inclusion and meaningful engagement for all individuals living with dementia has spanned research, policy, practices, and community living since 2001.  She has co-led national Thought Leader Summits and co-developed DAA’s first North American “Re-Imagine Life with Dementia” Conference” in June 2017.  As an M.Ed. with certification in special needs populations, Jackie serves on the Advisory Council for Rutgers University School of Social Work.


Lon has been involved in changing health care management and service provision with a focus on utilization of emerging technologies. He applies his expertise in sales and marketing, marketing communications, product development and organizational systems to assist start-up companies in enhancing their bottom-line success. Lon has served on the board of CCAL and is an active advocate for people living with dementia.


Dr. Allen Power is an internist, geriatrician, the Schlegel Chair in Aging and Dementia Innovation at the Schlegel—University of Waterloo Research Institute for Aging in Ontario, Canada, and a clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Rochester, NY.  He is an international educator on transformational models of care for older adults, particularly those living with changing cognitive abilities. An Eden Alternative educator he is a former member of The Eden Alternative Board of Directors.  Dr. Power’s book, “Dementia Beyond Drugs,” was named a 2010 Book of the Year by the American Journal of Nursing.  He was named one of “Five Leaders of Tomorrow” by Long-Term Living Magazine in May 2013. His second book, “Dementia Beyond Disease,” was released June 2014.


Teepa Snow is one of America’s leading educators on dementia. Working as a Registered Occupational Therapist for over 30 years, she has a wealth of clinical, teaching, and research experiences that have informed and influenced her philosophy, approach, and practice. Teepa currently has clinical appointments with Duke University’s School of Nursing and UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Medicine. Teepa is an advocate for those living with dementia and her personal mission is to help families and professionals better understand how it feels to be living with the challenges and changes that accompany various forms of the condition so that life can be lived fully and well. Teepa founded her company, Positive Approach, LLC in 2005.


Regina E. Sofer, a care partner for her mother living with dementia since 1995, advocates for person-directed and person-centered care. She serves on the Consumer Workgroup of the Florida Pioneer Network, the Board of Directors for Big Bend Hospice in Tallahassee, Florida, and has served on state and local committees including the Strategic Planning Committee for the Alzheimer’s Project, a non-profit organization that provides valuable support and relief to care partners. Dr. Sofer is a seasoned consultant and speaker whose motto is “Serve Your Way to The Top!”