Skip to content


Photo collage of the 15 influencers profiled in this group of articles

Stephen Voss/AARP/Getty Images

These National Leaders Work for You

They are shaping lives of older Americans. Here's what you should know about them

Quietly, behind closed doors, leaders in Washington spend their days (and often nights) developing policies and programs for the next stage of American life. While many work for the government, they’re not necessarily politicians but expert thinkers and administrators running crucial operations like Medicare, Social Security or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Others are outside government, but with important voices and huge influence. Who are these people? What do they believe? Meet some of the leaders who drive policy on issues vital to older Americans.

Profiles by: Dena Bunis, Tamara Lytle, Brian Mockenhaupt, Katherine Skiba, Kenneth Terrell and Peter Urban.


Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie

Robert Wilkie Is Advocating for Older Veterans

Secretary, Department of Veterans Affairs


Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Seema Verma at her offices in Washington, DC on November 27, 2018.

Seema Verma Leads Federal Health Care

Administrator, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services


President and C E O of A H I P Matt Eyles

Matt Eyles Is Shaping the Fight Over Health Insurance

President and CEO, America's Health Insurance Plans


Centers for Disease Control Director Dr. Robert R. Redfield

Robert Redfield's on Guard Against Epidemics

Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Elder Justice expert Judith Kozlowski

Judith Kozlowski Is Leading the Fight Against Elder Abuse

Consultant, DOJ Elder Justice Initiative


Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley

Sen. Chuck Grassley Sets the Financial Agenda

Chairman, Senate Finance Committee


Chairman Richard Neal

Richard Neal Is the Policy Shaper

Chairman, Ways and Means Committee, U.S. House of Representatives


F C C Chairman Ajit Pai

Ajit Pai Is Helping Police the Internet

Chairman, Federal Communications Commission


Andrew Smith, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection

Andrew M. Smith's Fighting Consumer Fraud

Director of Bureau of Consumer Protection, FTC


Social Security Administration Acting Commissioner Nancy Berryhill

Nancy Berryhill Is Guarding Social Security Benefits

Acting Commissioner, Social Security Administration


American Diabetes Association C E O Tracey Brown

Tracey D. Brown Takes on Diabetes

CEO, American Diabetes Association


H H S Assistant Secretary for Aging and A C L's Administrator Lance Robertson

Lance Robertson Helps You Age in Place

Asst. Secretary for Aging; Admin. of the Administration for Community Living, HHS


N I H Director of the National Institute on Aging Doctor Richard Hodes

Richard J. Hodes Is at War With Dementia

M.D., Director of the National Institute on Aging



Alzheimer's Association C E O Harry Johns

Harry Johns Is in Search of Dementia Cures

President and CEO, Alzheimer's Association