Dr. Erik D. Olsen of Glenbrook, Nevada took over as AARP President this week at the organization's biennial National Leadership Conference. Olsen succeeds Marie Smith of Hawaii as the Association's president.
Dr. Olsen has a wide-ranging record of accomplishment. After graduating from the University of Nebraska, he went on to be a Captain in the U.S. Army, a practicing dentist, the first recipient of the Hillenbrand Fellowship in Dental Administration form the American Dental Association, and the Executive Director and Managing Editor of the Academy of General Dentistry.
In 1977, at age 40, Dr. Olsen was named President and CEO of Delta Dental of California. Delta Dental of California is one of the nation's oldest and largest dental health insurers. When Dr. Olsen stepped down after 15 years, one of every three people in California had Delta Dental benefits.
After leaving Delta Dental, Dr. Olsen became an active AARP volunteer and was appointed AARP State President in Arizona in 1996. He was elected to AARP's national Board of Directors in 2000.
"Erik will be an outstanding leader as AARP President. He will push the Association to new heights and build on all that we have achieved over the last two years" said outgoing president Marie Smith.
Looking ahead to the next two years, Olsen said "My passion is health care reform. I will strive in these next two years to raise health care reform to the top of the national debate so that it must be a major campaign issue for both parties in the 2008 election campaign. And following that, I hope our country will be able to move forward rapidly to achieve comprehensive health care reform."
Erik and his wife of 47 years, Jackie, reside in Glenbrook, Nevada. They have three daughters and three grandsons.
AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. We produce AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our bimonthly magazine in Spanish and English; NRTA Live & Learn, our quarterly newsletter for 50+ educators; and our website, www.aarp.org. AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.