by Susan Pascal

The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement is proud to announce that our founder Maria Shriver will be leading the California Alzheimer’s Task Force. Th team of scientists, caregivers, researchers, politicians and industry leaders was created to address the challenges that Alzheimer’s disease poses for an aging California, according to Governor Gavin Newsom, who made the announcement on Friday, August 9th, in Sacramento.

Included among the impressive list of names are former Secretary of State George Schultz, former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and “Blue Zones” author Dan Buettner.

“Far too many Californians have seen the crushing grip of Alzheimer’s on our loved ones,” Gov. Newsom said in a press release announcing the task force. “It is one of the leading causes of death among Californians with particularly severe impacts on our mothers, wives, and daughters. It’s time we take meaningful action for those living with Alzheimer’s and for the people who love and care for them.”

Shriver will convene the initial meeting in November as part of National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. The Task Force will be releasing a full report of recommendations to the governor in the fall of 2020, coinciding with Newsom’s overall Master Plan on Aging.

“This Task Force will lay out a path for our state to deal with Alzheimer’s and other aging-related diseases,” Shriver said in the press release. “Our mission is to develop a plan that will disrupt the way we deal with Alzheimer’s and change how citizens, politicians, cities, corporations and community organizations work together to tackle this disease.”

The Governor’s budget includes an increase in funding for the Alzheimer’s Disease Program to support research grants, with a focus on the need to understand the greater prevalence of Alzheimer’s among women and communities of color. The budget also includes a one-time $5 million General Fund allocation, available over three years, for grants to develop Alzheimer’s disease local infrastructure.


Joining Schultz, Panetta and Buettner are the following luminaries:

  • Dr. Marcy Adelman, a clinical psychologist on the LGBT Aging Policy Task Force.
  • Kumaran Akilan, a University of California, Merced student who developed a computer-vision algorithm that extracts the retinal vessel to help detect the presence of Alzheimer’s.
  • Dr. Maria P. Aranda, a researcher who looks at psychosocial care for people with psychiatric disorders related to Alzheimer’s.
  • Dr. Keith Black, a leading neurosurgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
  • Dr. Susan Bookheimer, the Joaquin M. Fuster Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.
  • Kathleen Brown, a former California state treasurer, now an attorney.
  • Dr. Wynnelena Canio, the chief of Outpatient Geriatric Medicine at Kaiser Permanente (KP) in Santa Rosa, California.
  • Tim Carpenter, founder of a nonprofit organization that provides services and programs to seniors and families living in affordable senior and multi-generational apartment communities.
  • Susan DeMarois, director of state government affairs for the national Alzheimer’s Association.
  • Josh Fryday, California’s Chief Service Officer and leads Cal Volunteers.
  • Paula Gann, mother of Kyle Scrivner, an adult living with Alzheimer’s.
  • Dr. Adele Hayutin, Annenberg Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University.
  • Dr. Oanh Le Meyer, assistant professor in the Department of Neurology at the University of California, Davis, School of Medicine; also leads research education component at the UC Davis Alzheimer’s Disease Center.
  • Bob Linscheid, President & CEO of Linscheid Enterprises Inc.
  • Dr. David Lubarsky, vice-chancellor of human health sciences and chief executive officer for UC Davis Health.
  • Pam Montana, former Intel Corp. executive diagnosed with Younger Onset Alzheimer’s in 2016. She is married to Bob Linscheid and is an Alzheimer’s advocate.
  • Doug Moore, executive director of the United Domestic Workers of America, a union that aims to support home care workers.
  • Graciela Moreno, Emmy Award-winning journalist who anchors the afternoon and evening newscasts for ABC30 in Fresno, California.
  • Lauren Miller Rogen, co-founder of Hilarity for Charity with her husband, actor Seth Rogen, to raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease among young people.
  • Dr. Howard Rosen, a UCSF behavioral neurologist.
  • Lily Sarafan, CEO of Home Care Assistance, a company with more than 7,000 employees aims to enable happier, healthier aging at home.
  • Dr. Sharon Sha, medical director of Stanford University’s Neuroscience Clinical Trials Group.
  • Todd Shetter, CEO of a company that focuses on providing seniors with memory choice options and enhancing the lives of those who suffer from memory loss.
  • April Verrett, president of Service Employees International Union (SEIU), Local 2015 – the nation’s largest long term care union representing more than 385,000 home care and nursing home workers throughout California.
  • Dr. Kristine Yaffe, a professor of psychiatry, neurology and epidemiology at UCSF.

Click here for more information about the task force.