Conference Agenda Presenters Sponsors Contact



      Ana Acton

Executive Director, FREED

Ana Acton is the Executive Director of FREED Center for Independent Living. Ana has over 15 years’ experience in providing direct services and leadership for independent living community-based services in California. FREED Center for Independent Living provides a wide range of services to people with disabilities living in Nevada, Yuba, Sutter, Colusa, and Sierra counties in California. As a non-profit Independent Living Resource Center, FREED’s goal is to empower people with disabilities to exercise their civil rights in becoming active, productive members of our community.




Jan Arbuckle Portrait      Jan Arbuckle

Grass Valley City Council Member
Member of California Masterplan for Aging Stakeholder Committee

Jan retired from the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department after 18 years, where she served the community as a Deputy Sheriff and still function as a Reserve Deputy coordinating their PEER Support Program.

With a desire to serve her community, she served on the Nevada County Civil Grand Jury for two consecutive terms which provided her with a crash course in how local government operates and pressing community issues such as public safety, homelessness and drug addiction. In February 2007, Jan was appointed to the Grass Valley City Council.

In November 2008 Jan was elected to a four year term on the City Council and was honored to have been elected Mayor by her fellow Council Members in December of 2010.




Julie Bates Portrait      Julie Bates

Associate State Director, AARP California

Julie Bates is an Associate State Director for AARP California and has worked for AARP for 18 years. She holds a PhD in Gerontology from Concordia University Chicago. Julie represents AARP on the California Telehealth Policy Coalition.  She is the outgoing chair of the California Telehealth Policy Coalition subcommittee on education and regulation and maintains a seat on this and the Legislative Subcommittee. Julie also leads AARP’s work in the LGBT community and works with local jurisdictions in the Greater Sacramento Area to create age friendly communities for all ages and abilities.




Portrait of Erika Brown     Erika Brown

WRIL Specialist, Resources for Independence Central Valley

Erika Brown has been working with RICV for the last eight months as a WRIL Specialist. She has been working with individuals on learning how to become independent by their means, and learning how to become their own advocates! One of the ways she expresses herself through her job is teaching consumers through Zoom how to cook!! Cooking For Independence Zoom meetings have not only shown consumers on how to cook, but also shown their own creative side. Erika’s future goals is to continue this new career, and help more individuals become their best selves!!





Portrait, Catherine Blakemore     Catherine Blakemore

Former Executive Director, Disability Rights California

Catherine Blakemore worked as an attorney and director, in legal aid and disability advocacy programs for 40 years.  She recently retired as the  executive director of Disability Rights California, the non-profit agency established under federal law to protect and advocate for individuals with disabilities.  In 2016 she received the Loren Miller Legal Services Award, given annually to a lawyer who has demonstrated a long-term commitment to legal services. Ms. Blakemore is dedicated to increasing equal rights and opportunities, access to services, and dignity for Californians with disabilities and individuals from other marginalized communities.  She is the Vice-Chair of the California Commission on Access to Justice which works to identify innovative solutions and support efforts to increase access to courts and legal resources for low and modest means individuals.  She also is a  member of Governor Newsom’s Business and Jobs Recovery Task Force, the Master Plan for Aging Long-Term Services and Supports Subcommittee and the California Health and Human Services Agency Alzheimer’s Advisory Committee.



Roxanne Crawford portrait     Roxann (Roxiey) Crawford

Disability Integration Specialist, FEMA Region IX

Roxann Crawford was selected in September 2016 to serve as the Regional Disability Integration Specialist for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region IX after having served nearly four years as the Disability Integration Advisor on the National Incident Management Assistance Team (N-IM– West, one of three (3) elite national response teams.  Roxann partners with all federal program areas to educate and foster a whole community response which is fully inclusive of the needs of people with disabilities and provides direct programmatic and process review to create more inclusive and fully accessible options during disaster response operations, Identifying barriers and finding solutions.



Susan DeMarois portrait     Susan DeMarois

Director of Public Policy | Alzheimer’s Association

Since 2013, Susan DeMarois has directed state government affairs for the national Alzheimer’s Association.  In California, the Association is organized under two regions with 21 local offices serving individuals and families statewide.  

As a registered lobbyist in Sacramento, Susan advocates for legislative, budget and regulatory changes at the state capitol on behalf of the 2.3 million Californians directly impacted by Alzheimer’s disease.  At the state level, the Alzheimer’s Association has secured key legislative victories in dementia training, physician education and Alzheimer’s research, raising more than $26 million to-date thorough the voluntary tax check-off fund.  This year, the organization led the effort to implement the Healthy Brain Initiative in California, resulting in a $5 million investment in the state’s public health infrastructure.  

This year, Susan is active as an appointee to Governor Newsom’s Alzheimer’s Prevention and Preparedness Task Force, chaired by former First Lady Maria Shriver, in addition to the Master Plan For Aging, a workgroup established by Executive Order.

The Alzheimer’s Association led development of California’s State Plan for Alzheimer’s Disease: An Action Plan for 2011 – 2021 and served on the California Task Force on Family Caregiving in 2017/2018.  Currently, Susan serves on the California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary’s Alzheimer’s Disease Advisory Committee as well as the state’s Olmstead Advisory Committee.  The Association actively participates in the California Aging and Disability Alliance (CADA) and the California Collaborative for Long-term Services and Supports.  

Prior to joining the Alzheimer’s Association, Susan led government and community relations for the University of California health and clinical affairs supporting the work of academic medical centers, schools of medicine/nursing and physician groups.  A graduate of CSU Chico, Susan started her career working for the U.S. Congress and California State Assembly.  Susan is a proud mom to two adult daughters.  She resides in Sacramento, CA and draws inspiration for her work from her own mom’s experience with dementia.  



Kami Griffiths portrait       Kami Griffiths

Executive Director and co-founder of Community Tech Network

Kami Griffiths is the executive director and co-founder of Community Tech Network, a nonprofit with eh mission to transform lives through digital literacy.  With over 15 years of experience and working in the public sector, Kami has developed a passion for helping people gain access and better utilize technology, after witnessing firsthand how the digital divide and low literacy levels were aiding the cycle of poverty.  She has worked for the City of New York Department of Parks and Recreation, managing 27 public access computing centers, teaching computer classes and establishing their volunteer trainer program.  Ts the Training and Outreach Manager for TechSoup Global, Kami greatly expanded her knowledge and understanding of the nonprofit technology field, having conducted over 200 interviews with librarians and producing over 100 webinars.  She is founding member of the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) and speaks nationally about digital inclusion.



Portrait of Kristina Bas Hamilton      Kristina Bas Hamilton

Legislative Director,  UDW/AFSCME Local 3930

Kristina Bas Hamilton earned a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a master’s degree in Labor and Industrial Relations from Rutgers University. 

In 2010, Kristina and her family relocated from the Northeast to Sacramento. Kristina serves as the Legislative Director for UDW/AFSCME Local 3930. UDW represents 120,000 In Home Supportive Services (IHSS) providers and 20,000 family child care providers in 39 counties throughout California. 

In 2017, Kristina helped launch the California Aging and Disability Alliance (CADA), a coalition of 21 statewide organizations working to develop a new social insurance program that will expand access to high quality long-term services and supports (LTSS). In subsequent years, she led CADA to secure budget funding for data collection on LTSS utilization and a feasibility study of LTSS financing options. 

In 2018, Kristina was accepted as a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance. In 2019, Kristina was appointed to the Governor’s Master Plan for Aging Stakeholder Advisory Committee and LTSS Subcommittee. She is a recognized expert on the In-Home Supportive Services program and the homecare workforce. 

Kristina lives outside of Sacramento with her husband and two children.



Shoua Her portrait      Shoua Her

Work Readiness Independent Living Specialist, Resources for Independence Central Valley

Shoua Her began working at Resources for Independence Central Valley (RICV) mid-August as a Work Readiness Independent Living (WRIL) specialist and enjoys helping the community, improving lives by providing resources, and most importantly, teaching skills to individuals to help them find their version of success. Her future goal is to obtain a credential in special education or further her education in the area of social services.




Priya Kannall portrait     Priya Kannall

Coordinator, Mental Health Services Act, & Senior Administrative Analyst,  Nevada County Behavioral Health Department

Priya Kannall is the Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Coordinator and Senior Administrative Analyst for the Nevada County Behavioral Health Department. Priya manages the community planning process on mental health needs, develops the county’s MHSA plan, and assists with grant applications and implementation. Priya also serves as the Deputy Privacy Officer for the Health and Human Services Agency, specializing in privacy and security for the Behavioral Health Department.




Anastasia Knight portrait     Anastacia Knight

Program Coordinator,  Nevada County Social Outreach Program

Anastacia Knight is a Master’s level social worker who has proudly supported community members since 1996 in a variety of settings including: Foster Care/Adoption, Child Abuse Prevention, and Mental Health. She is currently the Program Coordinator for the Nevada County Social Outreach Program offering assessment, support, and referrals to home bound seniors and people with disabilities who may be challenged with loneliness, depression risks/symptoms, as well as other concerns or needs. Anastacia is a member of the Falls Prevention Coalition. She lives in Grass Valley with her husband and young Greyhound mix dog and enjoys part-time caretaking of her three year old grandson who keeps her on her toes. 




Tom Manning portrait     Tom Manning

Planning and Performance Director, Anthem in the CA Medicaid Plan

Tom has over 15 years of experience in the health care industry. He is currently working as a Planning and Performance Director for Anthem in the CA Medicaid plan. In this role, Tom is responsible for many of the Plan’s telehealth strategic initiatives. Tom holds an MBA degree from Arizona State University and is a PMP certified Project Manager.





Diane Miessler portrait     Diane Miessler, RN

Nevada County Public Health Senior Outreach

Diane Miessler has been a nurse for 40-some years, working in psych, ER, hospice, and public health.  She currently works for Nevada County with the Senior Outreach Nurse Program, visiting vulnerable seniors at home to ensure they have the support they need to avoid unwanted placement in facilities.  Diane lives in Nevada City with her husband and a cute but yippy and marginally housebroken Chihuahua.  She enjoys gardening, writing and bonding with her 3 above-average grandchildren.  Diane is a member of the Falls Prevention Coalition of Nevada County.




Anastasia Knight portrait     Pam Miller

Executive Director, Agency on Aging Area 4

Pam Miller is currently the Executive Director of the Agency on Aging Area 4, serving Nevada, Placer, Sacramento, Sierra. Sutter, Yolo and Yuba Counties. She has always had a passion for working in the aging community. She began her career as a social worker in Adult Protective Services in 1983. For several years she was the Deputy Director over Adult Services in Riverside County. In 2005, Pam came to Northern California as the Director of Yolo County Employment and Social Services, where she served for 7 years. 

Pam has a master’s degree in social work from California State University, San Bernardino. She taught Gerontology in the social work program at Sierra University in Riverside.



Christina Mills portrait     Christina Mills

Executive Director, California Foundation for Independent Living 

Christina Mills has served as the Executive Director of the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) since 2017 and has over 20 years of experience. As Executive Director of CFILC she is responsible for six statewide programs. Earlier this year she launched CFILC’s first cross-disability non-profit Disability Disaster Access & Resources program. A partnership between Independent Living Centers and Pacific Gas and Electric that provides people with disabilities services and resources during a Public Safety Power Shutoff, (PSPS). 

Currently she serves on the California Advisory Commission on Special Education, is a board member of the Disability Rights Education Defense Fund (DREDF) and co-chair of the National Council on Independent Living International Committee. In 2019, Mills was honored by the California Association of Area Agencies on Aging (C4A) for working continuously to bridge the gap between the disability and older adult communities. 

Mills is an appointee of the California Master Plan for Aging Advisory Committee and California Utility Access & Functional Needs Advisory Committee.  Mills lives in the Bay Area with her partner, their five-year-old son, the spirit/memory of their four-year-old daughter, two dogs and a Golden Greek Tortoise. Mills is an alumna of Palomar College and pursed her undergraduate degree in Political Science at the California State University of San Marcos. One of her life goals is to become an inclusive children’s book author. 



Portrait of Lydia Missaelides, MHA     Lydia Missaelides, MHA

Former Executive Director, California Association for Adult Day Services & Alliance for Leadership and Education

Lydia Missaelides has enjoyed a 35 year career in public policy and program development in aging, mental health, and disabilities. Lydia earned her Master’s degree in Health Administration from the University of Southern California.

After serving 30 years as Executive Director for the California Association for Adult Day Services, concurrently with serving as the Executive Director of the Alliance for Leadership and Education since 2003, Lydia retired from CAADS to devote her time to ALE, the public benefit research and development arm of CAADS. 

Under her leadership, ALE has raised more than $4.6 million in philanthropic funding and donations over the past decade to support the mission of advancing innovations such as the Community Based Health Home model and best practices and development of quality ADS programs. The latest grant funding from Archstone Foundation supports the production of weekly 90-minute training webinars to support the adult day services community by fostering a learning community that is focused on response to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic. ALE is also a community partner for research projects conducted under the leadership of Tina Sadarangani, PhD, through the New York University Rory Meyers College of Nursing.

Lydia volunteers her time to serve as a member of Governor Newsom’s Long Term Services and Supports Subcommittee for a Master Plan for Aging and since 2009 has been a member of the California Health and Human Service Agency’s Olmstead Advisory Committee. She also has served as Secretary of the Board for the California Aging and Disability Alliance, a non-profit seeking to create a broad- based public long term services and supports insurance program for the middle class and is the immediate past Treasurer for the National Adult Day Services Association.  



Mark Schwerer Bio picture     Mark Schwerer, BSN, MBA

Director of Telehealth Programs, California Health & Wellness/Health Net

Mark has over 27 years of health care experience including over 20 years working in telehealth systems.  He offers a unique and well-rounded perspective after managing telehealth operations in a number of settings including primary care, inpatient, skilled nursing, remote patient monitoring and emergency room settings. His programmatic leadership experience has included a large number of specialty disciplines and care delivery models.  Additionally, he has lead telehealth programs from originating sites, distant-site specialty care groups and currently from within the health care insurance industry.   Mark has a particular passion for developing and leveraging innovative technologies and programs that promote access and capacity to quality health care in remote and frontier communities.  He currently provides oversight as the Director of Telehealth Programs at California Health and Wellness/Health Net of California, developing telehealth programs across the State.  Mark has earned a Bachelor’s in Science in Nursing and an Master’s of Business Administration – both from Grand Canyon University.



Karol Swarzlander portrait      Karol Swarzlander

Director, California Commission on Aging

Bio coming soon.






L Vance Taylor portrait      L. Vance Taylor

Chief, Office of Access and Functional Needs
California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services

Luis “Vance” Taylor is responsible for ensuring the needs of individuals with disabilities and persons with access or functional needs are identified before, during and after disasters and integrated into the State’s emergency management systems. Born and raised in the SF Bay Area, Vance was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy as a child and uses a power wheelchair. He has worked in Washington, D.C. as an advisor for two different members of Congress, directed security policy at a national water association and been a principal at a top-ranked homeland security and emergency management consulting firm, Catalyst Partners, LLC. Vance is a nationally recognized public speaker and advocate for individuals with disabilities.




John Tran portrait     John Tran

Program Manager/Managing Attorney of the Greater Sacramento region HICAP Program with Legal Services of Northern California.

John Tan is the Program Manager/Managing Attorney of the Greater Sacramento region HICAP Program with Legal Services of Northern California.  He has served in that capacity for two years.  John has been with LSNC for nine years, first serving as a staff attorney for the Senior Legal Hotline working on grandparents rights and mediation.  More recently, he worked within LSNC’s Health Rights unit, working with healthcare consumers in 32 California counties on all matters of consumer issues.  Prior to law school, John earned an MPH from UCLA in Community Health Sciences and an MA in Asian American Studies.




Kim McCoy portrait     Kim McCoy Wade

Director, California Department of Aging

Kimberly McCoy Wade was appointed director of the California Department of Aging, in 2019. McCoy Wade was CalFresh and Nutrition Branch chief at the California Department of Social Services from 2015 to 2019, a consultant for Public Policy and Philanthropy Consulting from 2009 to 2015 and campaign manager for Together California’s Future in 2008. She was executive director of the California Association of Food Banks from 2006 to 2008, where she was co-director from 2004 to 2006. McCoy Wade was director of education and advocacy for Food Banks of Northern California from 2001 to 2003, campaign manager for the Alliance for Justice in 2000 and senior domestic policy analyst for Bread for the World from 1998 to 1999. She earned a Juris Doctor degree from the New York University School of Law.



Joe Xavier portrait      Joe Xavier

Director, Californin Department of Rehabilitation

Joe Xavier, has been the director of the California Department of Rehabilitation, since 2014 and has served in several positions in the department since 1998, including deputy director of the Specialized Services Division and of the Independent Living and External Affairs Division. He was owner and operator at Snack N’ Things from 1996 to 1998, at Skyline Food Services from 1986 to 1996 and at the Gold Star Café from 1984 to 1986. Xavier is a member of the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Association of California State Employees with Disabilities.