In 2010, in response to the growing epidemic of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, the State Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias in Oregon (SPADO) Task Force was formed and included non-profit organizations, state government agencies, academic researchers, issue experts, physicians, family caregivers, care providers, and state legislators. The SPADO Task Force heard public input from a variety of sources. This input informed and validates the recommendations crafted by the SPADO workgroups. In 2012, the first State Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias in Oregon was released.
Structure & Leadership
Today, we continue our efforts to serve Oregonians and their family affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias. As no segment of our community is untouched by Alzheimer’s, it requires coordinated efforts to address this public health crisis. Through its work groups, the SPADO Steering Committee works together to encourage engagement of public and private sector stakeholders to improve the state’s response to community needs associated with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.
SPADO Steering Committee
Ann McQueen, PhD
Executive Director, TimeSlips Creative Storytelling
Ann leads an innovative non-profit organization called TimeSlips, which brings meaning, purpose, joy and connectedness to older adults through engagement training, tools and products for family, friends, and professional caregivers. Prior to her current role, she worked in various capacities for the Office of Aging and People with Disabilities (APD) within the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), developed and taught college courses in aging, and worked as a consultant and in long-term care facilities. She is especially interested in the experiences of people living with dementia and in helping to create a world that affords them the respect, dignity, safety, and companionship that all human beings deserve. Ann has presented at various conferences, both locally and nationally on topics related to aging, dementia and dementia care, and the role of humor in the lives of older people.
Dr. Vimal Aga, MD
Board-certified Geriatric Psychiatrist and Hospitalist.
As a clinician, he has around 20 years of experience working with dementia patients. He has chaired workshops on diagnosing dementia at several APA Annual Meetings and has published on various topics in the areas of dementia and geriatric psychopharmacology. He has been a regular contributor to the AAGP annual self-assessment exams and co-authored the questions on behavioral disturbances in dementia in the Geriatric Review Syllabus (11th Edition) published by the American Geriatric Society in Jan 2022. Dr. Aga is a physician-specialist with the Oregon State Hospital in Salem where he manages the med-psych unit, while his outpatient practice is with the Layton Center for Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease at OHSU, where he is Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology.
Executive Director, Alzheimer's Association
Tracy Morgan is the Executive Director for the Oregon and SW Washington Alzheimer’s Association. She has been with the Association for ten years. The Alzheimer’s Association is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. In her role she leads a team of 16 staff across the chapter who move forward the great work of the association in six strategic pillars : care and support, advocacy and public policy, concern and awareness, diversity equity and inclusion, research and development efforts to fuel the mission.
Itzel Castellanos, BS
Program Manager, Providence Health & Services – OR Senior Health
Itzel Castellanos is the Program Manager for Providence-OR Senior Health and manages multiple geriatric focused programs including the Help is Here Project (a series of books for those who care for people with dementia, including a book for family caregivers that now is available in a plain language, culturally adapted Spanish translation). Itzel also manages the Geriatric Mini-Fellowship Program (a 4-week curriculum for primary care providers to improve care of older adults), the Geriatric Pharmacy Residency Program (a year two program that focuses on geriatric-specific syndromes such as polypharmacy, fall risk, dementia and delirium). Lastly, Itzel also participates on two committees of the Oregon State Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementia, also known as SPADO, focusing on family caregiver outreach and education.
Nirmala Dhar, MSW, LCSW
Older Adult Behavioral Health Services Coordinator
Nirmala Dhar is a licensed clinical social worker with a Master’s in Social Work from the Brown School of Social Work, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri and Bombay University, India. She is mission driven and has a passion to work with the most vulnerable clients, often with cross sector complex care needs. Nirmala has worked for 36 years in all aspects and programs of behavioral health in the public sector in Missouri, New Jersey and Oregon. She is a senior policy analyst and the Older Adult Behavioral Health Services Coordinator for Oregon Health Authority ‘s Health Systems Division. In this position she is the Older Adult Behavioral Health Initiative Project Director, the PASRR Level II Coordinator and subject matter expert for her Division. She is the Project ECHO Geriatric Behavioral Health Champion at OHA. Prior to this position she worked for Clackamas County Behavioral Health for 18 years. This included 10 years as the geriatric mental health specialist for the County. She has provided trainings on a variety of topics over the past twenty years locally and nationally and enjoys coaching and mentoring new clinicians. Her areas of professional interest include healthy aging, social justice, workforce development, quality improvement, health metrics , intersection of law and mental health and service delivery innovations. Nirmala lives in Lake Oswego with her husband Sanjay.
Walter Dawson, DPhil
Assistant Professor, OHSU School of Medicine
Walter Dawson is a lifelong advocate for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and their family care partners. Dawson is an Assistant Professor at the Layton Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at the OHSU School of Medicine and a Senior Atlantic Fellow with the Global Brain Health Institute at the University of California, San Francisco and Trinity College Dublin. He also holds an appointment at PSU’s Institute on Aging. His research focuses on the intersection between macro-level health policy and health services research to better support individuals living with dementia and their care partners. A Fulbright Scholar, Dawson’s research has been supported by the NIA, Commonwealth Fund, Alzheimer’s Association, and Atlantic Institute.
Marian O. Hodges, M.D., MPH
Dr. Hodges is recently retired as the Bain Chair of Geriatric Medicine and Regional Medical Director for the Senior Health Program in Providence-Oregon. She studied medicine at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in New York before moving to Oregon to do her internal medicine training at Oregon Health and Science University. She pursued her geriatric medicine training at the Portland VA and University of Washington. Since joining Providence in 1992, she was primarily a clinician educator, teaching internal medicine residents about geriatrics, ethics and palliative medicine and seeing older adult patients in a part-time practice. With the encouragement of the daughter of one of her patients with Alzheimer’s disease, she co-wrote Help is Here: When someone you love has dementia, a guidebook for family members of persons with dementia, first printed in 2014 and now on Amazon in English and Spanish. In the Senior Health Program, she co-directed a Geriatric Mini-Fellowship for Providence primary care providers, which has trained almost 30 PCPs over the last 5 years. . She chairs SPADO 2A focusing on primary care education in dementia.
Anne P. Hill
Anne P. Hill is co-author with Dr. Marian O. Hodges of Help is Here: When someone you love has dementia; Help is Here: When a Resident has Dementia; and a companion Leader Manual to help a leader at the senior residence teach Help is Here: When a Resident has Dementia. She is the author of Unforgettable Journey: Tips to Survive Your Parent’s Alzheimer’s Disease, a short, readable book that gives adult children of people with Alzheimer’s disease realistic, easy-to-understand tips about how to approach the many challenges of having a parent with dementia. Anne has been a member of the State Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease in Oregon (SPADO) since 2010 and is a frequent speaker to both family and medical groups on how Alzheimer’s affects families, ways to help doctors and family caregivers communicate more effectively and strategies to help families cope with the stresses of having a family member with dementia.
Over the years, SPADO has benefited from the invaluable commitment of numerous taskforce and workgroups members. Including:
Claire Agner , Roger Anunsen, Matt Baldwin, Stephanie Barnett-Herro, Jon Bartholomew, Holly Berman, Warren Bird, Kevin Call, Margaret Cervenka, Lynda Crandall, Don Crites, Penny Davis, Rep. Michael Dembrow, Nirmala Dhar, Petronella Donovan, Nicole Easley, Lee Girard, Sarah Goodlin, M.D., Kristrún Gröndal, Theresa A. Harvath, Ken Hector, Jason Hess, Anne P. Hill, Jana Hirsch, Sarah Holland, Kathy Irwin, Katherine Jimenez, Jan Karlen, Jeffrey Kaye M.D., Mark Kinkade, Tiffany Kirkpatrick, Jeannette Launer, Roberta Lilly, Glenise McKenzie, Ann McQueen, Jennifer Mead, Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson, Maureen Nash, M.D., Tim Nay, Kathryn Nunley, Ana Potter, Mary Ruhl, Mary Scott, Bandana Shrestha, Fred Steele, Melissa Taber, Steve Winegar, Catherine Zimmerman.