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October 01, 2016

New Commissioner Profiles

(The pdf for the issue in which this article appears is available for download at: Bifocal, Vol. 38, Issue 1.)


NEELUM AGGARWAL, MD, is a cognitive neurologist, clinical trialist and researcher in the field of population health and aging. She is Senior Neurologist for the federally funded Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center Clinical Core in Chicago; Director of Research and founder of the Cardiology Cognitive Clinic at the Rush Heart Center for Women; and an Associate Professor in the Department of Neurological Sciences and Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center at Rush University Medical Center. Dr. Aggarwal is a long-standing Steering Committee member and Site Principal Investigator for multiple NIA-funded clinical trials on aging and Alzheimer's Disease. Her clinical and population health research has focused on the predictors and outcomes of cognitive decline, mild cognitive impairment, and dementia in older adults, with a focus on underserved populations in Chicago. She is particularly interested in identifying how social determinants of health, cardiovascular disease, and other novel risk factors for cognitive impairment including sex and gender differences, may lead to strategies to prevent cognitive decline and dementia. A graduate of the Academy of Neurology - Palatucci Advocacy Leadership Forum, Dr. Aggarwal is a long-standing voice for community based research, clinical trial participation, and public health initiatives, locally and nationally. She is the Senior Advisor for Women's Health Issues, Research, Equity and Policy for the Health Equity, Leadership Exchange Network, was appointed as the first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the American Medical Women’s Association, and serves as the Vice Chair of the Governing Council of the American Medical Association's Women's Physician Section. She recently was awarded the 2016 Woman in Science award from the American Medical Women's Association and is a fellow of the Institute of Medicine of Chicago.

TERESA CURTIN is an attorney with 28 years’ experience and is entering into her tenth year of practice at the New York City office of Weitz & Luxenberg where she focuses on all stages of defective pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices litigations. While Ms. Curtin loves the intellectual challenge of complex multidistrict litigations, what motivates her is helping individuals, many of which whom are elderly, who suffering the devastating impact of unsafe drugs and medical devices. Ms. Curtin also maintains an active pro bono commitment to the deaf community and was involved in the seminal Clarkson v. Coughlin case related to the rights of deaf and hearing impaired persons in the state correctional facilities to have access to ADA accommodations in their prison settings. She is currently focusing on the lack of available mental health services for disabled individuals and individuals using American Sign Language. Ms. Curtin earned a B.A. from Princeton University in 1982, where she wrote her thesis on the Aging in America, and a J.D. from New York School of Law in 1988 where she was a Root-Tilden Public Interest Scholar. She clerked for the Honorable Justice Stewart Pollock of the New Jersey Supreme Court.

CARMEL BITONDO DYER is a graduate of Baylor College of Medicine, where she completed her Internal Medicine residency and Geriatrics Fellowship. She founded the geriatrics program at the Harris County Hospital District and the Texas Elder Abuse and Mistreatment Institute. Her research and publications have been in the area of elder mistreatment. She was a delegate to the 2005 White House Conference on Aging and has twice provided testimony at the U.S. Senate on behalf of vulnerable elders. She has received national and local recognition for her teaching abilities, research inroads and dedication to the health care of older persons. Dr. Dyer joined the UT Health faculty in January 2007 and is Professor of Geriatric and Palliative Medicine. She is currently the Chief of Staff for LBJ Hospital and Associate Dean of Harris County Programs. Dr. Dyer holds the Roy M. and Phyllis Gough Huffington Chair in Gerontology, the Nancy P. & Vincent F. Guinee, M.D. Distinguished Chair and is the executive director of the UT Health Consortium on Aging.

ELEANOR CROSBY LANIER is a full-time faculty member of the University of Georgia School of Law, teaching General Civil Mediation as well as Elder Law (entailing a pilot service learning project) and supervising students in a mediation clinic serving Athens-Clarke County. Ms. Lanier is also a registered mediator and arbitrator with the State of Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution and is qualified to mediate a wide range of disputes. Her teaching and mediation activities are informed by nearly 20 years’ experience in providing and improving the delivery of legal services to older persons in Georgia, where she developed and managed the Georgia Senior Legal Hotline, and nationally. Similarly, she has been a pioneer in promoting the use of mediation in elder care disputes, providing training for mediators in several states and working with the Association for Conflict Resolution to develop training objectives for mediators in elder care, long-term care and adult guardianship cases. She has published law review articles on Adult Guardianship and the Ethics of Medicaid Estate Planning, as well as numerous articles for the Georgia Bar Journal and for ABA publications including the Commission’s Bifocal and the Senior Law Division’s Experience Magazine. She is an active trainer at continuing legal education sessions and national conferences on topics ranging from ethics and professionalism to dual practice traps in mediation. A recipient of numerous honors for her work, including the State Bar of Georgia’s Daniel Bradley Award, Ms. Lanier received her JD from Emory University School of Law. ■