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California State Policy Director for the Alzheimer's Association Appointed to Governor Newsom's Task Force

California State Policy Director for the Alzheimer's Association Appointed to Governor Newsom's Task Force
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August 12, 2019
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-Twenty-Nine Member Task Force, Led by Former First Lady Maria Shriver, Includes Strong Representation from Northern California Advocates, Researchers, and Families -

SAN JOSE, CA, August 12, 2019 – The Alzheimer’s Association today announced Susan DeMarois, California Government Affairs Director for the Alzheimer’s Association, has been appointed to Governor Gavin Newsom’s Alzheimer’s Prevention and Preparedness Task Force. Since 2013 DeMarois has advocated for legislative, budget and regulatory changes at the state capitol on behalf of Californians impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. 

This year, DeMarois led the effort to implement the Center for Disease Control’s Healthy Brain Initiative in California. Together with hundreds of volunteer advocates from California, she met with state legislators and Governor Newsom’s office to plant a vision for the coming years. As a result of those efforts, Governor Newsom recently approved a $5M investment towards an Alzheimer's public health infrastructure that supports research, care and support, and brain health to serve California’s diverse - and growing - population.

In addition to the $5M investment and today’s announced task force, Governor Newsom has advanced other initiatives that will help California families impacted by Alzheimer’s. Early in his tenure he announced a Master Plan on Aging, which was formally initiated last month. His first budget included $3M for Alzheimer’s research funding in addition to the $5M public health funding. 

“Governor Newsom has made Alzheimer's a priority from the first days of his administration,” said DeMarois. “Already he has followed up on his commitment through his actions. He wants to get it right for individuals, families and our state.”

“The task force is a major piece of addressing Alzheimer’s in California,” she continued. “With Maria Shriver’s leadership, and the experience of my fellow task force members, I know California can serve as a model for other states confronting the global Alzheimer’s crisis.”

The task force will make recommendations to Governor Newsom’s administration to help the state prepare for the projected 25.4% increase in people living with Alzheimer’s disease by 2025. 670,000 people are currently living with the disease, more than in any other state. (Florida is second with 560,000.) Alzheimer’s is the second leading cause of death in California. 

Alzheimer’s disease inflicts severe emotional and financial damage on California families, in particular the 1.6 million Californians who act as unpaid caregivers. In addition to the human toll, the costs to the state are unsustainable. Medicaid costs of caring for people with Alzheimer’s are estimated at $3.925 billion for 2019, and are expected to escalate 32% by 2025.

Marcy Adelman, Ph.D., who sits on the board of directors for the Northern California and Northern Nevada chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, was also appointed to Governor Newsom’s 29-member task force. Dr. Adelman is the co-founder of Openhouse in San Francisco, and a pioneer in the field of lesbian and gay aging.

Pam Montana from Danville is one of the 670,000 residents living with Alzheimer’s. She and her husband Bob Linscheid will also sit on the task force, representing families impacted by the disease. Pam is a member of the Alzheimer’s Association national board of directors and both she and Bob are public policy volunteers and vocal advocates on behalf of the Association. 

Several prominent research scientists from Northern California will serve on the task force, including Howie Rosen, M.D. and Kristine Yaffe, M.D. from the University of California at San Francisco, Sharon Sha, M.D. and Adele Hayutin, Ph.D. from Stanford University, and David Lubarsky, M.D. and Oanh Le Meyer, Ph.D. from the University of California at Davis. 

“We are so proud of Susan, Marcy, Pam and Bob for being recognized as important leaders in fighting Alzheimer’s disease,” said Elizabeth Edgerly, P.h.D., Executive Director of the Alzheimer’s Association, Northern California and Northern Nevada chapter. “I’m confident their voices on the task force will improve the outlook for Californians living with dementia and their families.”

“The scientific representation on this task force is formidable,” she added. “The Bay Area is a hub of Alzheimer’s research, and Governor Newsom and Maria Shriver have tapped some of the top expertise in the field.”
1 Alzheimer’s Association. 2019 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. Alzheimers Dement 2019;15(3):32

2 California Department of Public Health

About Susan DeMarois
Susan DeMarois has directed state government affairs for the national Alzheimer’s Association since 2013. 

As a registered lobbyist in Sacramento, she advocates for legislative, budget and regulatory changes at the state capitol on behalf of the 2.3 million Californians directly impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. 

At the state level, the Alzheimer’s Association has secured key legislative victories in dementia training, physician education and Alzheimer’s research, raising more than $26 million to date through the voluntary tax check-off fund. This year, the organization led the effort to implement the Healthy Brain Initiative in California, resulting in a $5 million investment in the state’s public health infrastructure. 

The Alzheimer’s Association led development of California’s State Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease: An Action Plan for 2011 – 2021 and actively participates in the California Aging and Disability Alliance (CADA) and the California Collaborative for Long-term Services and Supports. 
Ms. DeMarois currently serves on the California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary’s Alzheimer’s Disease Advisory Committee as well as the state’s Olmstead Advisory Committee. Prior to joining the Alzheimer’s Association,  she led government and community relations for the University of California health and clinical affairs, supporting the work of academic medical centers, schools of medicine/nursing and physician groups. 

A graduate of CSU Chico, Susan started her career working for the U.S. Congress and the California State Assembly. Susan resides in Sacramento, CA and draws inspiration for her work from her own family’s experience with dementia. 


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