Karen Love

Co-Founder and CEO

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.

Craig Fowler, MBA

Board Treasurer

Craig Fowler has focused his career on improving operating performance while simultaneously driving growth. Starting in the automotive industry, he then spent 5 years at McKinsey & Company, and then was a senior member of the founding team at Vistaprint. Inspired by his mother’s journey with Alzheimer’s disease, Craig founded JoyGage, a technology startup focused on improving the quality of life for individuals living with dementia and for their care partners.

Jan Bays, PT

Board Chair

Jan is Board Chair for the Dementia Action Alliance. She is a physical therapist who has pioneered person and relationship-centered dementia care in rehabilitation through practice, program development and education. Currently she is the Director of Program Development and Education at Jill’s House Memory Care in Bloomington, IN, where those same principles create a relationship-based community with focus on engagement, purpose, and choice.  She is the Chair of the DAA’s Optimizing Well-Being Workgroup, a member of the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy, and a founder of Dementia Friendly Bloomington that has blossomed into Dementia Friendly Indiana. She also has many years of experience as a family care partner.

Jan firmly believes that all people deserve emotional security and the opportunity for meaning and growth in their lives. This is fostered through connections to activities that are interesting and meaningful, new learning experiences, social connections and relationships, and participation in normal daily routines. She champions intergenerational connections through engagement with Jill’s House Preschool, university service learning, and outreach to high school students.

Jennifer Carson, PhD

Jennifer Carson is a gerontologist and the Director of the Dementia Engagement, Education, and Research (DEER) Program in the School of Public Health at the University of Nevada, Reno. Her career and scholarship encompass gerontology, dementia, long-term care, culture change, and leisure, and aging. She has a strong commitment to partnerships and participatory approaches to research and practice and works to improve the inclusion and well-being of persons living with dementia.

Dr. Carson is the Project Director of the Dementia Friendly Nevada initiative, is the author and facilitator of Bravo Zulu: Achieving Excellence in Relationship-Centered Dementia Care, a comprehensive, 12-hour dementia education program developed in partnership with the Nevada Department of Veterans Services. She also partners with the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine’s Sanford Center for Aging on a U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Geriatrics Workforce Enhancement Program grant.

Susan Wehry, MD

Susan Wehry, MD is the Chief of Geriatrics at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine. She is a physician, educator and advocates passionately about promoting healthy, meaningful aging. Dr. Wehry is a geriatric psychiatrist with over 30 years of experience. Prior to her current position, she was the Commissioner for the Department of Disabilities and Aging in Vermont.

In 2009 Dr. Wehry and a colleague developed an interdisciplinary person-directed care training curriculum informed by their experiences and the research of Thomas Kitwood and Jiska Cohen-Mansfield. The curriculum, Oasis 2.0, is now used in over 1200 nursing homes, helping residents with dementia enjoy a higher quality of life.

John-Richard (JR) Pagan

John-Richard (JR) Pagan thought he was going to start yet another career, having already served in the U.S. Navy, been a travel consultant, spent more than 10 years in the computer networking field, and even started up and ran his own coffee shop for four years in Southern California. After earning a master’s degree in clinical psychology as a marriage and family therapist, he decided to continue on and work on a doctorate in clinical psychology. Then in 2013, changes in his cognitive skills led to being diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment and that led to being dismissed from university. Three years later JR was diagnosed with a neurodegenerative condition.

Today JR’s world is quite a different place.  He’s an advocate for those living with dementia, a student working on yet another degree – in religious studies, and as both a novitiate member of a monastic community and a lay leader at his church, St Margaret’s Episcopal. JR has truly found his place in life, beyond his diagnosis, with family, in community, and making sure that every voice has a place when it comes to sharing their own experiences living beyond a dementia diagnosis.

Jackie Pinkowitz

Chair Emeritus

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 Pinkowitz

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.

Laurie Scherrer

Laurie was diagnosed with young onset dementia in August of 2013 at the age of 55. Unable to continue a professional career she turned her focus towards helping others through their dementia journey. Laurie and her husband Roy work continuously to identify triggers that cause her confusion and they make adjustments to overcome obstacles. Laurie is a Dementia Mentor and is active in many support groups. On her website, dementiadaze.com, Laurie shares her feelings, challenges, symptoms, and adjustments in hopes of encouraging other individuals and families living with dementia to explore ways to live beyond dementia.

Rev. Dr. Cynthia Huling Hummel BS. MDiv, DMin

Cynthia was diagnosed with amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment due to Alzheimer’s in 2011 at age 57. She left her full-time ministry because of her cognitive difficulties, and now works with faith communities and other community groups to help them explore ways to support those living with dementia and care partners. Cynthia is passionate about dementia research and has participated in the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative (ADNI) study for 12 plus years. In 2017, Cynthia was appointed to serve a two-year term as a non-federal advisor on the National Alzheimer’s Advisory Council. She has presented at three NIH research summits and  served on two different advisory panels for the National Academies of Sciences. Cynthia received the NYS Governor’s Recognition in 2020 for her dementia advocacy. In January 2021, she began a 4-year term federal National Advisory Council on Aging

Cynthia is a lifelong learner and enjoys auditing classes at Elmira College. She has been singing in a band for more than 20 years and was inducted into the NY State Country Music Hall of Honor in 2016. Cynthia is an author and an artist. She loves swimming, kayaking, travel, and most of all, being a grandma! In August 2021, she celebrated her 25th anniversary as an ordained Presbyterian pastor.

Regina E. Sofer, DM

Board Secretary

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!”

Magda Kaczmarska, MFA

Magda is a dance artist, researcher and creative-aging though-leader who leverages a dual background in neuropharmacology research and dance to build bridges and empower individuals and communities to be active agents in their creativity and brain health. Originally from Poland, Magda currently lives in New York.  She leads and develops dance programs which foster creative community for intergenerational groups of all abilities including Stories in the Moment offered in part with the Dementia Action Alliance and Every Body Moves offered since 2020 in partnership with the UCSF Memory and Aging Center in San Francisco.

Magda serves as a representative to the UN with Generations United and is on the executive committee of the UN NGO Committee on Ageing. As an Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health at the Global Brain Health Institute, Magda builds collaborations around the globe to design and expand access to creative aging programs that support brain health, belonging and artistic expression across the lifespan.