WASHINGTON, DC, May 10, 2017—Dr. William A. Vega, executive director of the USC Edward R. Roybal Institute on Aging at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, was officially announced as a new member of the UsAgainstAlzheimer’s (UsA2) Network Board of Directors, where he will apply his deep knowledge in the areas of population health, gerontology and minority health to advance the organization’s mission to cure Alzheimer’s, the third-leading cause of death In the United States.
Dr. Vega, who is also a provost professor at USC, will play an essential role in shaping UsAgainstAlzheimer’s work to increase investment in Alzheimer’s research, creating a faster and more diverse clinical-trial infrastructure and addressing the disproportionate effect of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias on communities of color.
“I’m honored to join the UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Network board and contribute to its bold mission of addressing our nation’s Alzheimer’s crisis,” Vega said. “I’ve seen the impact of Alzheimer’s and dementia on vulnerable communities, and we must act strategically and with urgency before more families feel the extraordinary economic and emotional hardship of Alzheimer’s.”
Prior to joining the USC Roybal Institute, Vega was director of the Luskin Center for Innovation and an associate provost at UCLA. Dr. Vega was born in East Los Angeles and received his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of California, Berkeley.
Elected to the National Academy of Medicine in 2008, Vega is a specialist in the health of Latino populations and has conducted community and clinical research projects on health, mental health and substance abuse in the United States and Latin America. He has published more than 190 articles and chapters, in addition to six books and is currently ranked by Research Gate in the top 2 percent of authors in overall research impact. In 2016, Dr. Vega co-authored the nation’s first-ever economic analysis of the impact of Alzheimer’s and dementia on the Latino community; the report, Latinos & Alzheimer’s Disease: New Numbers Behind the Crisis, was a joint project between LatinosAgainstAlzheimer’s, an UsAgainstAlzheimer’s network, and the USC Roybal Institute.
“We are thrilled that Dr. Vega, a trailblazer in the fields of aging, minority health and public health research, will leverage his passion and public health expertise to advance our national commitment to cure Alzheimer’s by 2025,” said UsAgainstAlzheimer’s Co-Founder and Chairman George Vradenburg. “To defeat Alzheimer’s, we need the dynamic voice and robust leadership that Dr. Vega will bring to the fight.”
Vega is joined by current UsA2 Network board members George Vradenburg; Meryl Comer, President, Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer's Initiative; Jill Lesser, President, WomenAgainstAlzheimer's Network, and Principal, JAL Consulting, LLC; Peter L. Levin, Founder & CEO, Amida Technology Solutions; Stanley Prusiner, MD, Professor of Neurology, and Director, Institute for Neurodegenerative Diseases, University of California, San Francisco; Dr. David Satcher, Former U.S. Surgeon General and Founding Director, Satcher Health Leadership Institute, Morehouse School of Medicine; Karen Segal, Founding Board Member, Children’s Research Fund North Suburban Board of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago; and Shawn Taylor, Trustee, KPB Corporation, and Founder, VeteransAgainstAlzheimer’s. Trish Vradenburg was, until her death in April 2017, Co-Founder and Vice-Chair of the UsA2 Network Board.
George Vradenburg is also Chairman of the UsAgainstAlzheimer’s board, which is separate from the Network board, and John R. Dwyer, Jr., President of the Global Alzheimer’s Foundation, is a founding UsAgainstAlzheimer’s board member. Meryl Comer also serves an advisor.
UsAgainstAlzheimer’s (UsA2) is an innovative non-profit organization demanding – and delivering – a solution to Alzheimer’s. Driven by the suffering of millions of families, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s presses for greater urgency from government, industry and the scientific community in the quest for an Alzheimer's cure – accomplishing this through effective leadership, collaborative advocacy, and strategic investments.
Founded in 2010, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s has worked across sectors to: (1) secure the national goal of preventing and effectively treating Alzheimer’s by 2025 and help secure nearly $500 million in additional public funding for Alzheimer’s research over the past few years; (2) drive global efforts that resulted in the leaders of the world’s most powerful nations, the G7 group, to embrace a similar 2025 goal and to call for greater levels of research investment and collaboration; and (3) forge industry commitments to improve efficiencies for an expedited drug discovery and approval process.
Contact: Tim Tassa
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