Task Force Members


Mary Ball

President / CEO at Alzheimer’s San Diego
Assembly Appointee

Mary Ball, President & Chief Executive Officer of Alzheimer’s San Diego, brings versatile experience from leadership roles in business, government, and nonprofit sectors to an organization that serves the more than 60,000 individuals and their families who are battling the disease today in San Diego. Ball has played a crucial role in the incredible progress San Diego has made to advance care and cure in our community. Through her innate ability to inspire key community leaders to join the effort, and to lead a team rooted in their commitment to serving families, Ball has helped build an incredible local momentum for addressing the Alzheimer’s epidemic in San Diego.

Donna Benton, PhD

Research Associate Professor of Gerontology, USC
Senate Appointee & Chair

Donna Benton, PhD, is a Research Associate Professor of Gerontology at the USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. She received her graduate training in clinical psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology and was a Gero-psychological postdoctoral fellow at USC/Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center. Dr. Benton is the Director of the USC Family Caregiver Support Center /Los Angeles Caregiver Resource Center. She has over 30 years of experience in working with families and the community, to help improve services and support to persons with dementia. She has served as a commissioner on the California Commission on Aging (CCOA) and served as chair of the legislative sub-committee for many years.

Les Cohen

Legislative Advocate Emeritus and OC Ombudsman
Senate Appointee

Les had a 40 year long and successful history as an accomplished legislative advocate emeritus walking the Halls of the State Capitol on behalf of a diverse group of public and private clients. He has spent the last 12 years a volunteer Ombudsman, with 4 years in Sacramento and currently 8 years with the Council on Aging-OC. Les was honored by the Legislature when he retired in 2000.

Carmen Estrada

Executive Director of Inland Caregiver Resource Center
Assembly Appointee

In addition to serving as the Executive Director of the Inland Caregiver Resource Center, Carmen Estrada is a member of the Association of California Caregiver Resource Centers, Inland Empire Disabilities Collaborative, San Bernardino County Intergenerational Committee, and San Bernardino County Senior Affairs Commission.

Sandra Fitzpatrick

Executive Director, California Commission on Aging
Assembly Appointee & Co-Chair

Sandra Fitzpatrick has over 35 years of experience in development and evaluation of senior and volunteer services, with an expertise in rural service delivery. Since 2004, Ms. Fitzpatrick has been the Executive Director of the California Commission on Aging, which serves as the principal advocate for 6+ million older Californians. She launched several Commission-led efforts, including the Senior Center Initiative, Elder Justice Initiative and Aging Women & Poverty Collaborative. In 2005, she worked with the Governor’s office to coordinate California’s White House Conference on Aging delegation and attended the Conference as a national policy committee voting delegate. She is a member of the California Elder Justice Coalition and an honorary Board Member of the California Foundation on Aging. Formerly, she was the Executive Director of the Area Agency on Aging in northern California and a member of the Executive Committee of the California Association of Area Agencies on Aging.

Kathleen Kelly, MPA

Executive Director of the Family Caregiver Alliance
Senate Appointee

Kathleen Kelly is Executive Director of Family Caregiver Alliance, a national nonprofit organization that provides direct caregiver support services, public policy development, research and public awareness regarding family caregivers. As Director, she oversees programs of the Bay Area Caregiver Resource Center providing direct services to families in the San Francisco Bay Area, California policy collaborations and the National Center on Caregiving. During her tenure the organization has grown from a grassroots program to a national organization that provides leadership on supporting family caregivers with best practice interventions, public policy, state system development and leading edge research.

Ms. Kelly represents the agency on a variety of national coalitions and partnerships that are working towards coordinated care with the inclusion of family caregivers as part of the care team, better training for health and social service professionals and increasing training and support for family caregivers. In her current project portfolio, Ms. Kelly is heading a team that developed FCA CareJourney, a system approach that combines data and services together to deliver tailored supports over the long term using secure mobile ready technologies. She has written and lectured about caregiving, public policy, program and system development and use of consumer technology. Ms. Kelly lives with her family in San Francisco, CA.

Robert Lesh

Consumer, Mountain View
Assembly Appointee

Mr. Robert Lesh was chosen to join the Task Force on Family Caregiving based on his forty-two years of personal experience in family caregiving, having submitted his name at the behest of the Northern California Chapter of the Mutiple Sclerosis Society. Prior to his appointment on the task force, Mr. Lesh worked for forty years as a sales representative and sales manager in the medical industry; during that time, he sold both capital and disposable products. Additionally, for the past forty-two years he has acted as a primary caregiver for his wife, who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis shortly before the two married. Mr. Lesh hopes to bring his personal experience as a full-time family caregiver and active MS support group leader to the task force in order to provide a consumer-driven view of caregivers’ most significant needs.

Karen Lincoln, PhD

Associate Professor and Director, USC Hartford Center of Excellence in Geriatric Social Work USC
Senate Appointee

Dr. Karen D. Lincoln is an Associate Professor in the USC School of Social Work, Director of the USC Hartford Center of Excellence in Geriatric Social Work, Co-director at the Southern California Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Community Engagement Core, and Founder and Chair of Advocates for African American Elders at the University of Southern California. Dr. Lincoln has published over 50 articles and book chapters in the areas of stress, aging and mental health disparities. She has been published in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal and has contributed to articles published in The Washington Post, US News & World Report, Los Angeles Magazine, Los Angeles Daily News, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Dr. Lincoln has received more than $2 million in grant funding to support her research which focuses on improving clinical and community-based treatment of African Americans with mental health disorders and chronic health conditions. She also contributes to a blog where she fuses social commentary with her vast knowledge of health and mental health of African American communities; posing questions such as “Is Being Black Bad for Your Health?,” disseminating information about how the Affordable Care Act will impact African Americans, and sharing her inspiration for a “Healthy Black America.”

Dr. Lincoln is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America, a Hartford Faculty Scholar, and a member of the California Task Force for Family Caregiving. She is also Owner and CEO of Karen D. Lincoln Consulting Services. Her company provides a full range of applied research and evaluation services and cultural competency training to nonprofits, community-based organizations, government agencies and major universities.

Dr. Lincoln is an honors graduate from UC Berkeley where she received a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in African American studies and a graduate from the University of Michigan where she earned a MSW, a M.A. in Sociology and a Ph.D. in Social Work and Sociology. In 2014, Dr. Lincoln was ranked third among the most influential African American social work scholars in the United States. In 2015, she was ranked twelfth among all female social work scholars in the United States.

Anat Louis, PsyD

Director Direct Services, Department of Aging, City of Los Angeles
Assembly Appointee

Dr. Louis oversees Core Programs at the City of Los Angeles Department of Aging, including Information & Assistance, Program Development, the Emergency Alert Response System program, and Emergency Assistance Program. She is the Program lead in the LA City and County Adult & Disability Resource Connection (ADRC). Dr. Louis serves as the department’s expert on family caregiving by developing training and community outreach, and serves as a committee member of various networks and community-based programs. Presently, she sits on several committees, including: USC Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center; Fall Prevention Coalition Steering Committee; UCLA SPIRP (Stroke Prevention Intervention Research Project) committee; UCLA Healthy Aging Partnership in Prevention Initiative (HAPPI); LA County Older Adult System of Care committee and City Attorney Late in Life Advocacy Counsel (LILAC).

Eric Mercado

Research Editor, Los Angeles Magazine
Senate Appointee

Eric Mercado has been research editor at Los Angeles Magazine since 1995, where he oversees the research department and manages the editorial interns. His primary job, however, is making sure no mistakes creep into the magazine. Mercado, a former reporter at Eastern Group Publications in East L.A., served as associate research editor at the L.A. Weekly before coming to Los Angeles.

Douglas (Doug) Moore

Executive Director of the UDW Homecare Providers Union and International Vice President of the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees
Assembly Appointee

Doug Moore is the Executive Director of the United Domestic Workers of America, a homecare union made up of over 66,000 in-home care providers across the state of California. He is also an International Vice President of AFSCME, and has an outstanding record of success building and energizing member-driven unions spanning more than 30 years. Moore began his career in 1980 as a rank-and-file member of CWA and has since worked for SEIU, AFL-CIO, and AFSCME. In 2005 Moore was appointed the Deputy Administrator of UDW and rebuilt the struggling union from the ground up. Today, thanks in large part to Moore’s fearless leadership, UDW is the largest and most innovative AFSCME local in California.

Edie Yau

Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the Alzheimer’s Association
Senate Appointee

Edie Yau is from Santa Clara and is the Director of Diversity and Inclusion for the Alzheimer’s Association, Northern California and Northern Nevada Chapter. She has led the chapter to develop and implement culturally relevant programs for families. She also serves on the Latino Health Advisory Board for the UC Davis School of Medicine Latino Aging Research Resource Center. Ms. Yau has been in the field of aging for over 20 years and has an MA in Gerontology.