NEW YORK, Oct. 12, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Alzheimer's Association New York City chapter announced today the appointment of new chapter leaders, Christopher Smith as Executive Director and Anafidelia Tavares, MD, MPH, as Director of Programs. They both bring strong leadership to the Alzheimer's Association New York City chapter, which is dedicated to ensuring local delivery of the Association's strategic plan to provide comprehensive local care and support for the thousands of individuals living with Alzheimer's disease and their families throughout the five boroughs, and contributing to the advancement of Alzheimer's disease research.
As Executive Director, Smith will have strategic and operational responsibility for the New York City chapter. Smith has over 30 years of nonprofit management and fundraising experience. Previously he was the Chief Executive Officer of the Arthritis Foundation, Great Lakes Region, where he was responsible for overseeing nine offices in five states.
"The Alzheimer's Association is at a critical time in the trajectory of Alzheimer's disease and its growing impact on New York residents is unacceptable. Our priority is to ensure families in the five boroughs are provided with ongoing care, support and information they need as they face this fatal disease, while also advancing critical research to change the course of Alzheimer's disease for future generations," Smith said. "As someone who has been personally affected by Alzheimer's disease, I am dedicated to supporting families as they face the enormous challenges presented by this disease on a daily basis. At the same time, for future generations of my family and all families, the Alzheimer's Association will continue to be on the forefront of research to accelerate critically needed progress that will change the course of this disease for millions."
In her role as Director of Programs, Dr. Tavares will lead the delivery of care and support services throughout New York City, delivering programs in all five boroughs. She will ensure the availability and accessibility of care consultation, community education and support groups for individuals living with dementia, as well as their families and friends who are acting as care contributors and the general public. Dr. Tavares will also spearhead clinician outreach and education initiatives to meet the needs of diverse communities and underserved populations living in New York City.
Dr. Tavares comes to the Alzheimer's Association with more than 10 years of experience in New York health organizations, focused on strategic public health program planning, development, implementation and evaluation. She has been a consultant for the Brooklyn Perinatal Network, Greater NYC Komen Affiliate and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, among others. She also oversaw the Women's Health Initiative at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
"The focus of my career has been going into the communities of New York and meeting people where they are, in the languages they speak, to understand their health needs and to advocate for them," said Tavares. "My role at the Alzheimer's Association New York City chapter provides an opportunity to combine my medical background and my commitment to working with vulnerable populations to help families facing the multitude of challenges that come with an Alzheimer's or dementia diagnosis."
Alzheimer's disease is a growing epidemic. It is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States and the costliest chronic disease to society. The enormity of the Alzheimer's crisis is felt by not only the more than five million Americans living with the disease today, but also by their nearly 16 million caregivers, friends and family members. In New York state alone, there are 390,000 people living with Alzheimer's, and this number is expected to increase to 460,000 by 2025.
"We're pleased to welcome Christopher Smith and Dr. Anafidelia Tavares to the Association. Alzheimer's disease is an enormous health threat to New York City and the nation unlike any other disease," said Harry Johns, president and CEO, Alzheimer's Association. "With rising prevalence and costs, and no cure or effective treatment, there is a heightened need for care and support among local communities. The leadership of Christopher and Anafidelia in New York City will help the Alzheimer's Association reach the growing number of New Yorkers who are facing Alzheimer's disease with the resources and support that they need, while also helping us accelerate research toward methods of treatment, prevention and, ultimately, a cure."
The Alzheimer's Association works on a global, national and local level to identify every opportunity to support families and change the course of Alzheimer's disease by accelerating research. Efforts of the Alzheimer's Association have led to significant victories in the fight against the disease, including a historic increase in federal funding for Alzheimer's research – $350 million in the FY2016 budget – as well as enhanced care and support for all affected by Alzheimer's and an increase in the public's understanding of the disease.
The Alzheimer's Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer's care, support and research. The New York City chapter of the Alzheimer's Association is a leader in Alzheimer's care and support for people in the five boroughs living with the disease and their families. Our mission is to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. Our vision is a world without Alzheimer's. To learn more, please visit alz.org or call 800.272.3900. For more information about local resources and events, please visit alz.org/nyc.
SOURCE Alzheimer's Association