Our Executive Board

 
 
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JEFFREY ROBBINS, LICSW, PRESIDENT

Jeff is a clinical social worker in Neurology at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, a Teaching Associate in Neurology at Harvard Medical School, and the founder of National Alzheimer’s Buddies, Inc.

"My desire to provide care to and decrease the social isolation for those living with Alzheimer’s disease, coupled with the enormous success of the Harvard College Alzheimer’s Buddies program, motivated me to bring this program to the national stage.

RENAJD RRAPI, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

Renajd is a Harvard College '16 graduate where he studied Neurobiology, researched memory formation, and conducted public service. He is funded by the Harvard Pforzheimer Public Service Fellowship.

"Caring for my grandmother as a young adult showed me the existential meaning and emotional value of developing a strong bond with a senior citizen. My experience directing the Harvard College Alzheimer’s Buddies program and my interest in end-of-life care inspired me to facilitate similar meaningful friendships across the country."

 
 
RYAN CHRIST, EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBER What I do: I am a DPhil Candidate in Statistics at Oxford University, a graduate of Harvard College and  the student founder of Harvard College Alzheimer’s Buddies and a founding member of National Alzheimer’s Buddies. Why I joined NAB: Students across universities have big hearts: many want to connect with isolated residents with dementia and grow from that experience.  NAB is about breaking down the barriers so they can reach out. Future and hobbies: I hope to return to the US for medical school and using that training in combination with my statistics background to improve patient care.  Outside of work, I enjoy rowing and oldies rock.

RYAN CHRIST, BOARD MEMBER

Ryan is a DPhil Candidate in Statistics at Oxford University, a Harvard College '12 graduate, the student founder of Harvard College Alzheimer’s Buddies and a founding member of National Alzheimer’s Buddies.

"Students across universities have big hearts: many want to connect with isolated residents with dementia and grow from that experience.  NAB is about breaking down the barriers so they can reach out."

MEKDES "DUNI" GETANEH, EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBER What I do: Founder of The Gordon College Alzheimer’s Buddies Chapter and Clinical Research Coordinator at Dana Farber Cancer Institute Why I joined NAB: Because I know I can have an immeasurable impact on my Buddy by showing a simple act of kindness and genuine care. What keeps me motivated is the nice sweet smile I see on my Buddy’s face as a sign of thankfulness for being there. Future plans and hobbies: Serve NAB to the best of my abilities as a board member and mentor college students who show interest in starting Alzheimer’s Buddies chapter all over the US. I have a plan to attend medical school in the near future, but I will be traveling and learning new languages in the mean time.

MEKDES GETANEH, BOARD MEMBER

Mekdes is the founder of The Gordon College Alzheimer’s Buddies Chapter and a Clinical Research Coordinator at Dana Farber Cancer Institute

 

"I can have an immeasurable impact on my Buddy by showing a simple act of kindness and genuine care. What keeps me motivated is the nice sweet smile I see on my Buddy’s face as a sign of thankfulness for being there."
 

 

Our Advisory Board

 

REISA SPERLING, MD, MMSC, HONORARY ALZHEIMER'S SPEAKER

Dr. Reisa Sperling is a neurologist, professor at Harvard Medical School, Director of the Center for Alzheimer Research and Treatment at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and the Director of the Neuroimaging Core and the Outreach Core of the Massachusetts Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. 

"I think Alzheimer's Buddies is awesome. It's a chance for young people to realize they can absorb wisdom from older people with Alzheimer's disease and to give them great joy." 

RUTH KANDEL, MD, GERIATRICIAN  What I do: Ruth Kandel, MD is a geriatrician at Hebrew Senior Life, Director of the Memory Disorders Clinic, and Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School. Why I joined NAB: This is an incredible program that I feel privileged to be a part of.  Witnessing the meaningful and lasting relationships that I have seen develop between the undergraduate students and individuals with Alzheimer’s continues to amaze and inspire me. Future plans and hobbies: Professionally I hope to continue my involvement in the management and care of both people with dementia and their families; on a personal note I am having fun writing a medical mystery.  

RUTH KANDEL, MD, GERIATRICIAN 

Dr. Ruth Kandel is a geriatrician at Hebrew Senior Life, Director of the Memory Disorders Clinic, and Assistant Professor at Harvard Medical School.

"This is an incredible program that I feel privileged to be a part of.  Witnessing the meaningful and lasting relationships that I have seen develop between the undergraduate students and individuals with Alzheimer’s continues to amaze and inspire me."

 
ROBIN STEWART, FACILITY NETWORK ADVISOR  What I Do:  I am the Senior Community Life Leader at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center.  I oversee Life Enhancement at HRC Roslindale and New Bridge on the Charles, Social Work at HRC Roslindale and Programming for Memory Support Assisted Living. Why I Joined NAB:  This is an incredible organization that allows engagement and learning for both people with dementia and students who visit.  Future Plans and Hobbies:  I will continue my work with Hebrew Rehabilitation Center working with dementia residents, developing programs and speaking on the subject.  My spare time I spend at the beach as much as possible.   

ROBIN STEWART, FACILITY NETWORK ADVISOR

Robin is the Senior Community Life Leader at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center, and oversees Life Enhancement at HRC Roslindale and New Bridge on the Charles.

KUO-KAI CHIN, INTERNAL MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT What I do: I graduated from Harvard College in 2015, am Co-Director Emeritus of the Harvard College Alzheimer’s Buddies, and am an MD candidate at the Stanford University School of Medicine (2019). Why I joined NAB: I am deeply invested in how we as a society provide holistic support for the elderly in the process of aging and hope to provide structured and responsible stewardship for the Alzheimer’s Buddies. Future plans and hobbies: I am excited to be spending the next four years on the west coast and getting to know my new classmates while supporting Alzheimer’s Buddies from afar as much as I can.

KUO-KAI CHIN, MANAGEMENT CONSULTANT

Kuo-Kai is a MD candidate at Stanford Medical School Student and Co-Director Emeritus of the Harvard College Alzheimer’s Buddies.

MICHELLE WANG, COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT What I do: I graduated from Harvard College in 2014, am Co-Director Emeritus of the Harvard College Alzheimer's Buddies, and am an MD candidate at the University of Alabama, Birmingham School of Medicine (2019). Why I joined NAB: Through Alz Buddies, I formed a friendship with a woman, who despite her disease, gave so much to me and inspired me with her fighting spirit and strength through such a debilitating disease. She showed me more than any relationship I had ever had elsewhere in my life about the simultaneous fragility and strength of human connection. Future plans and hobbies: After graduating from medical school, I hope to take the caregiving and interpersonal skills, which I gained from my experiences with the Alzheimer's Buddies and beyond, to provide healthcare to people holistically and humanely.

MICHELLE WANG, COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT

Michelle is a MD candidate at the University of Alabama, Birmingham School of Medicine and Co-Director Emeritus of the Harvard College Alzheimer’s Buddies.
 

JENNIFER TU, CONSULTANT What I do: I graduated from Harvard College in 2016, am Co-Director Emeritus of the Harvard College Alzheimer's Buddies, will pursue a medical degree, and hope to focus on geriatric medicine and palliative care. Why I joined NAB: The depth of relationships built between Buddies is unparalleled. I will always remember and treasure my own Buddy, who taught me many life lessons, even when she couldn't put them into words. It is a privilege to be part of team that brings this sustainable model for intergenerational connections to campuses all around the U.S.  Future plans and hobbies: After graduating from Harvard, I will work closely with a team of geriatric physicians at Taiwan National University, as a Luce Scholar. I hope to bring my experiences from this year in Taipei, the Harvard College Alzheimer's Buddies, and Harvard-Radcliffe MIHNUET to a future career of geriatric and palliative care. Outside of work, I love to play piano (especially chamber music with friends), run and swim, and watch anime (my guilty pleasure). terson

JENNIFER TU, Communications CONSULTANT

Jennifer is a MD candidate at Duke University Medical school and Co-Director Emeritus of the Harvard College Alzheimer’s Buddies.

 


PARTNERS

Special thanks to our partners for their support: