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AARP Public Policy Our Policy Leaders

The AARP National Policy Council (NPC) is a 25-member, all-volunteer policy analysis and advisory body to AARP’s board of directors. The NPC is tasked with leading efforts to integrate member and public opinion with careful study of policies, and making policy recommendations to the board. NPC members serve on one of three policy committees: Consumer and Livable Communities; Health and Long-Term Services and Supports; and Economic, Employment and Low-Income Issues.

 

Current NPC Members

Eric Schneidewind, NPC Chair, Lansing, Michigan

AARP board President-elect Eric Schneidewind is a retired energy attorney from Lansing, Michigan, who is of counsel to the Varnum LLP law firm. He was chair of the Michigan Public Service Commission, deputy director of policy and consumer protection for the Michigan Insurance Bureau and attorney for the Michigan State Housing Authority. His volunteer roles include service as state president of AARP Michigan, secretary for the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association and more than 20 years of volunteering at local homeless shelters.

 

Diane Bell-McKoy, Baltimore, Maryland (Mideast Region Rep.)

Diane Bell-McKoy is president/CEO of Associated Black Charities, Maryland’s leading African American philanthropic organization. Its signature strategy, More in the Middle, expands opportunities/access for people of color, counteracting the detrimental impact of structural racism on economic and health outcomes. She serves on a number of philanthropic and civic boards and has received numerous awards, among them being named to The Daily Record’s Top 100 Women on three occasions, placing her in its Circle of Excellence.

 

Michael E. Bird, Albuquerque, New Mexico

As past president, chair and Governing Council member of the American Public Health Association, Michael E. Bird, MSW, MPH, has extensive national policy experience in public health, rural health, Indian health and social determinants of health. He serves on Canada’s National Collaborating Centre for Aboriginal Health and has worked with the Indian Health Service, the National Native American AIDS Prevention Center, and ValueOptions New Mexico. In 2009 he received the Alumnus of the Year award from the School of Public Health at the University of California, Berkeley.

 

Carlos Brandenburg, Reno, Nevada

For more than a decade, Carlos Brandenburg was the administrator of the Nevada Division of Mental Health and Developmental Services, developing and implementing the policy on community-based mental-health residential services throughout Nevada. He served as president of the board of the National Association of State Mental Health Program Administrators. He is the AARP regional volunteer director for the western region.

 

Rosemary Kennedy Chapin, Lawrence, Kansas

Rosemary Kennedy Chapin is a nationally recognized leader and widely published expert on aging policy, with particular expertise in long-term care. She is the founder and current director of the Center for Research on Aging and Disability Options (formerly the Office of Aging and Long Term Care) in the School of Social Welfare at the University of Kansas. Rosemary was a delegate to the 2005 White House Conference on Aging.

 

Chad Cheriel, Portland, Oregon (West Region Rep.)

Chad Cheriel is a recent retiree from the Institute on Aging, School of Community Health, at Portland State University. He has more than 30 years of health and long-term care policy experience through a combination of academic and state agency administration. He is state president of AARP Oregon.

Michael Eduardo Cortés, Denver, Colorado

Michael Eduardo Cortés brings four decades of experience in research, policy analysis and advocacy on a wide array of issues affecting Latino communities. He is the scholar in residence at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work and a fellow at the Colorado Latino Age Wave initiative. Early in his career he led and helped establish the policy research and advocacy arm of the National Council of La Raza.

 

James Coutts, Swanton, Vermont (Northeast Region Rep.)

James Coutts has decades of management experience in the pharmaceutical and biomedical industries and has held significant leadership positions helping low- and moderate-income seniors living in rural communities. Currently a commissioner on SerVermont, the state’s Commission on National and Community Service, he is also a commissioner on the Governor’s Commission on Successful Aging. He is a member of the AARP Vermont Executive Council.

 

Mary F. Dillard, Malvern, Arkansas (South Central Region Rep.)

Mary F. Dillard spent her career in the social and public service arenas and as an advocate for women. She has extensive experience in policy development and implementation as well as in facilitation and planning. For 30 years she has run her own business, providing consulting services to political campaigns, governmental agencies and nonprofit groups. Mary is a former state president of AARP Arkansas.

 

Dennis Eisnach, Pierre, South Dakota (Midwest Region Rep.)

In addition to a long career as a law enforcement officer, Dennis Eisnach has held elective office in South Dakota, including as mayor of Pierre and chairman and member of the Public Utilities Commission, where he worked on the deregulation of the telecommunications industry. Dennis is state president of AARP South Dakota.

 

Sally Hart, Tucson, Arizona (Chair, NPC Health and LTSS Committee)

Sally Hart was counsel at the National Senior Citizens Law Center, the Center for Medicare Advocacy and the Arizona Center for Disability Law, as well as at a private law firm specializing in elder law. With more than 40 years’ experience working primarily in Medicare, Medicaid and on long-term care issues, Sally has served on CMS’ Medicare Coverage Advisory Committee, as an officer and lecturer for the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys, and with various national and state legal aid associations.

 

Doris Koo, Seattle, Washington

An AARP board member, Doris Koo is a recently retired nonprofit leader and a highly regarded advocate for affordable housing across the U.S. She brings a firm understanding of the complexities of real estate finance and working with (and forging credibility in) the private sector to benefit less fortunate communities. She has served on AARP Foundation’s board of directors since 2012.

Tedson J. Meyers, Fairhope, Alabama

An expert in communications law and policy, Tedson J. Meyers was appointed by the president to the D.C. City Council and served as the assistant to the chair of the Federal Communications Commission and to the director of the Peace Corps. He founded the National Center for Bicycling & Walking and currently chairs the boards of Smart Coast and the Arthur C. Clarke Foundation. Tedson serves on the AARP Alabama Executive Council and Capitol Advocacy team.

 

Thomas Joel Miller, Alexandria, Virginia

Thomas Joel Miller brings substantial international experience to AARP, having served nearly three decades as an American diplomat, including being appointed as United States ambassador three times. Along with serving as president of the International Executive Service Corps, he is chairman of the board of the International Commission on Missing Persons. His other experience includes leading the United Nations Association of the USA and serving as CEO of Plan International, a child-focused international charity working in 66 countries.

 

Mark Mustian, Tallahassee, Florida

Mark Mustian served as city commissioner for the city of Tallahassee for 10 years and now practices law in the area of public finance. He provides counsel to cities, counties and school districts borrowing money to finance public infrastructure and has extensive experience in financing nonprofit hospitals, nursing homes and other senior-care facilities. He is the author of two novels and a recipient of the Florida Gold Book Award for fiction.

 

Ann M. Norton, Golden, Colorado

Ann M. Norton’s professional work has focused on the needs of lower-income citizens and social justice. She has devoted 40 years to affordable housing and community development as a practicing attorney, a housing court judge and general counsel for a large public agency. Ann is the founder of the Housing Preservation Project, whose headquarters are in Minnesota. She is a member of the AARP Colorado Executive Committee.

 

Alice J. Palmer, Chicago, Illinois

A longtime civic leader and progressive activist, Alice J. Palmer is a former Illinois state senator from Chicago. Her tenure in the state Senate includes service on the Senate Revenue Committee. Alice has led international efforts on race and xenophobia and guided the Illinois State Universities Retirement System as a board member. She was executive director of Chicago Cities in Schools and founding director of the Chicago Metropolitan YMCA Youth and Government Program.

 

Robert Prath, Lakeside, California

Along with completing a long career in naval aviation and starting his own fiduciary practice, Robert Prath has been a certified long-term care and Medicare counselor, a chair of the Advisory Council of San Diego County Aging and Independence Services, and a manager of a Meals-on-Wheels program. He is a member of AARP California’s State Executive Council and received the California AARP State Andrus Award for exceptional volunteer service.

Janet E. Porter, Hilton Head, South Carolina

An AARP board member, Janet E. Porter has 37 years of experience as a hospital administrator, teacher, association executive consultant and public-health leader. She has been the chief operating officer of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Janet has faculty appointments at Ohio State University, the University of North Carolina and the University of Miami.

 

John C. Ruoff, Columbia, South Carolina (Chair, NPC Economic Committee, Southeast Region Rep.)

John C. Ruoff is the principal of a consulting firm that provides research and policy analysis focused on state tax, budget and fiscal policy, health care access and affordability, and voting rights and redistricting. He was the founding executive director of South Carolina Fair Share, which works to advance the health, safety and well-being of state residents. He has provided expert testimony on racial polarization in voting and racial disparities in socioeconomic indicators.

 

Barbara J. Sabol, Lawrence, Kansas

Barbara J. Sabol is a retired nurse and a former commissioner of the New York City Human Resources Administration. She also served as president of University Research Corp., a for-profit multidisciplinary firm providing training and health education, as executive deputy commissioner of the New York Department of Social Services, and as secretary of the Kansas Departments of Health and Environment. In addition, Barbara spent 13 years as a program director for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

 

Rafael I. Torres, Laredo, Texas

Rafael I. Torres brings substantial experience in community economic development, with particular expertise in affordable housing, financial education and access to capital for low-income families. He is chairman of the National Association for Latino Community Asset Builders (NALCAB) and executive director of the Azteca Economic Development and Preservation Corp., one of NALCAB’s founding members.

 

Fernando Torres-Gil, Los Angeles, California

An AARP board member, Fernando Torres-Gil is a professor of social welfare and public policy and director of the Center for Policy Research on Aging at UCLA. Previously, he chaired the Ph.D. in gerontology program at the Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center at the University of Southern California, where he remains an adjunct professor. He is a former White House Fellow and has received three presidential appointments, most recently to serve on the National Council on Disability.

 

Cathy Wiggins, Olympia, Washington

Cathy Wiggins brings 30 years of experience in policy analysis, development, implementation and management in state government. She helped craft Washington state’s response to the 1996 welfare reform legislation. She also served as executive policy adviser to the governor on human services, including senior issues, disability issues, welfare reform, long-term care, and services to people with mental illness and developmental disabilities.

 

Lynn E. Young, Meridian, Idaho (NPC Vice Chair, Consumer Committee Chair, Mountain Region Rep.)
As support service manager/board secretary of a major public water district in Southern California, Lynn E. Young developed management policy that became the model for other water districts throughout the state. Her background also includes public utilities advocacy, developing a school accountability reporting system, and testifying before the Idaho Public Utilities Commission and the Idaho Legislature. Currently retired, she is a member of the AARP Idaho Executive Council.

 

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