What a President Will Do for UsAgainstAlzheimer’s

June 8, 2018 - Drew Holzapfel

UsAgainstAlzheimer’s is pushing for a cure for Alzheimer’s disease in an unprecedented way. It is demanding urgency and deploying innovative and creative strategies to help the United States – and the rest of the world – address the disease. For more than seven years, UsAgainstAlzheimer’s has advocated on behalf of patients and their caregivers, supported cutting-edge research efforts, and incubated promising initiatives focused on finding a cure.

I have been lucky to participate in the success of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s for several years in multiple capacities, including as a Founding Board Member of the Global Alzheimer’s Platform Foundation (GAP) and as the Executive Director of The Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s disease (CEOi). In the face of great momentum, the organization is now beginning a new era, necessitating the addition of a new leadership role. I look forward to holding that position, as Interim President, while we search for the right person to fill this new role in our organization permanently.

The President of UsAgainstAlzheimer’s will be someone who communicates and implements our vision and who helps to meaningfully direct our resources. Working with leadership from each part of our organization, the President will develop a strategic plan that will be used to guide UsAgainstAlzheimer’s activities, evaluate successes and determine new initiatives. Perhaps most importantly, the President will monitor the dynamic landscape of Alzheimer’s disease, and ensure that UsAgainstAlzheimer’s adapts to evolving needs and seizes on opportunities to expedite a cure.

Like the disease itself, an organization working to comprehensively tackle Alzheimer’s is innately complex. UsAgainstAlzheimer’s therefore requires several different leaders overseeing the trajectory of specific programs, projects, and initiatives, while also needing leadership to coordinate the overlapping but distinct efforts targeted at different pieces of the Alzheimer’s puzzle. The new President position will be critical for overseeing the various elements of our organization and ensuring that our efforts are complementary and in alignment with our mission.

UsAgainstAlzheimer’s has seen great progress domestically over the past year, including the selection by XPRIZE of early detection of Alzheimer’s as a focus area for 2018, the introduction of the CHANGE Act, bipartisan legislation to overcome barriers to a faster cure for Alzheimer's disease, and the articulation of new FDA guidance offering a modern, flexible approach to Alzheimer’s drug approvals that should bring promising drugs to market faster.  Each of these advances has been impacted by UsAgainstAlzheimer’s work. 

We are also beginning to see victories abroad through the potential for global leaders to bring the world’s resources together to address Alzheimer’s in new ways and at much needed scale. We have researchers from all G-20 countries committed to ensuring that Alzheimer’s and dementia is a priority at the Osaka 2019 G-20 Summit, and we will continue to push our global leaders and ones here at home to make sure this happens.

Our work this year will build on past UsAgainstAlzheimer’s successes and produce outcomes that get at the heart of what UsAgainstAlzheimer’s wants to achieve: a cure for all.  Working with George, the Board and the rest of the leadership team, our partners and millions of advocates, I look forward to establishing the President role and helping to determine how the role can best serve the organization. As we move on to this new phase of our organization and search for a cure, we will continue to contribute to the growing hope among citizens, industries, and governments that a cure is within reach – if we work together to find it. 

About the Author


Drew Holzapfel

Drew serves as acting President of UsAgainstAlzheimer's and the Executive Director of The Global CEO Initiative on Alzheimer’s Disease, a coalition of leading corporations investing in Alzheimer’s disease research, treatment and care. He is also a Partner at High Lantern Group, a healthcare consultancy focused on the intersection of business strategy and public policy.