2 Coloradans helping guide national Alzheimer’s panel

 10/01/2023 | 09:26 AM 

Two Colorado residents are among eight people chosen from across the United States to serve on a unique panel that helps guide the Alzheimer’s Association in its approach to serving the more than 6.7 million people across the country living with Alzheimer’s disease.

Former University of Denver Chancellor Dr. Rebecca Chopp of Broomfield and former senior financial executive Thomas Phillips of Denver are part of this year’s Alzheimer’s Association’s national Early-Stage Advisory Group (ESAG), which is composed of individuals from diverse backgrounds who are living in the earliest stages of the disease. 

“The Early-Stage Advisors’ voices are powerful tools that help the Alzheimer’s Association raise awareness around early-stage issues, advocate for change, and build momentum toward our vision of a world without Alzheimer’s,” said Jeff Bird, executive director of the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado.

“We are delighted to have two such accomplished individuals who can give a voice to the millions of Americans living with Alzheimer’s that our society all too often overlooks,” he said. 

Dr. Chopp currently serves on the board of the Alzheimer’s Association of Colorado. Before joining University of Denver in 2014, she served as president of both Swarthmore College and Colgate University. The author of several books, she is currently working on a book titled “Still Me: Accepting Alzheimer’s Without Losing Yourself.”  She was diagnosed with the disease in 2019.

Phillips was vice president of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) for a major telecom manufacturer. As a senior financial analyst, he would do one-on-one presentations to the chairman of an $8 billion company. He’s been a sought-after consultant, helping companies navigate strategic alliances. He was diagnosed with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) two years ago, and has since committed to sharing his experiences, as well as the importance of people who are at risk for the disease of receiving an early diagnosis.

Formed in 2006, the national ESAG group and its advisors provide input to the Association about programs and materials designed to meet the growing needs of early-stage individuals. Since its formation, the group helped secure the addition of younger-onset Alzheimer’s to the Social Security Administration’s Compassionate Allowance Initiative, giving those with the disease access to certain Social Security benefits. They also participated in grassroots advocacy efforts supporting the establishment of the first national plan to address the Alzheimer’s epidemic. During the past year, ESAG members were instrumental in advocating for Medicare coverage for new FDA-approved treatments for Alzheimer’s.

All programs and services of the Alzheimer’s Association are provided at no charge to families. To learn more, go to www.alz.org or call the Association’s free 24/7 Helpline at 800-272-3900.

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