PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Kenney today announced his 17 appointees to the Mayor’s Commission on Aging, an advisory group focused on how to serve Philadelphia’s increasingly diverse aging population.
Mayor Kenney selected the appointees to form a diverse cross-section of advocates, policy experts and academics – all leaders in Philadelphia. Three of the appointees are returning Commission members.
“I am grateful for our Commission members’ demonstrated commitment to Philadelphians of all ages,” said Mayor Kenney. “I am proud to appoint this diverse and talented group of individuals to the Mayor’s Commission on Aging. They have a history of service, passion, and innovation. Through their hard work and dedication to older people, we have the opportunity to make Philadelphia an even more livable city, where people can choose to spend their entire life, live comfortably, stay connected, and be valued in their community.”
The appointees are:
- Karen Buck, Esq. – Karen is the Executive Director of SeniorLAW Center where thousands of older Philadelphians are provided legal advice and support each year.
- John Chin – John is the Executive Director of Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve, protect, and promote Chinatown as a viable, ethnic, residential, and business community.
- Reneé Cunningham – Reneé is the Executive Director at Center in the Park (CIP) Senior Center. CIP is a nationally accredited senior community center in the Germantown neighborhood of Northwest Philadelphia promoting positive and healthy aging.
- Laura Gitlin, Ph.D. – Dr. Gitlin is an applied research sociologist and Distinguished Professor and Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Drexel University. She is also the innovative executive director of the AgeWell Collaboratory of the College and leads the Age Friendly initiative at Drexel.
- Bill Johnston-Walsh (Chair) – Bill is currently the State Director for AARP Pennsylvania, where he directs advocacy, community outreach and education efforts statewide for the nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that strengthens communities and fights for the issues that matter most to 50 + Philadelphians, their families and loved ones.
- Philip Lai – Philip is the Branch Director at Philadelphia Senior Center. He has worked to support immigrants through innovative intergenerational programs since 2002.
- Patience Lehrman, Ed.D. – Dr. Lehrman is currently the Vice Dean of Workforce and Community Development at the College of Education and Human Development at Temple University. She received the Presidential Citizens Medal for her innovative work supporting immigrants of all ages.
- Diane Menio – Diane is the long-serving Executive Director at CARIE, a multi-service advocacy organization, founded in 1977, assisting frail older adults and their caregivers, advocating for policy change, and providing training and education to improve their quality of life.
- Eric Naftulin – Eric is the Executive Director at Federation Housing, a Philadelphia nonprofit developer, manager, and owner of affordable housing specifically designed for seniors who live at or below the poverty level.
- Nijah Newton-Famous – Nijah is the Senior Pennsylvania Engagement Manager at Benefits Data Trust, helping seniors access critical benefits. She oversees BenePhilly, the anti-poverty initiative in Philadelphia, where her work won her 1st place in Greater Philadelphia’s Social Innovation Awards’ Healthy Food Access category in 2020.
- Najja Orr – Najja is the president and CEO of Philadelphia Corporation for Aging (PCA), the fourth largest area agency on aging in the country. He took over leadership mid-pandemic, after working in the aging network for many years. He has worked to increase awareness of the services and advocacy efforts of PCA and build connections across Philadelphia.
- Bill Ryan – Bill serves as Vice President for Government Relations and Public Affairs at the Einstein Healthcare Network. Bill has been the driving force behind the North Philadelphia Health Enterprise Zone, a collaboration designed to address health disparities in North Philadelphia.
- Alexandria (Alexis) Skoufalos, Ph.D. – Dr. Skoufalos is the Associate Dean for Strategic Development and Program Director at the Jefferson College of Population Health, Thomas Jefferson University. She manages the Philadelphia Diabetes Prevention Collaborative, a regional effort funded by the American Medical Association and the Hearst Health Prize.
- Anne Standish – Anne is the Director of Development at Woodmere Art Museum, the museum dedicated to the art and artists of Philadelphia. She is a media industry veteran and has focused on working with diverse aging audiences throughout her career.
- Harry Tapia – Harry is the Director of Operations and Controller of HACE. His life goals are to empower low income individuals through economic development and education. In 2021 Harry was awarded the Rubinger fellowship.
- Loretta Sweet Jemmott, Ph.D. – Dr. Jemmott is the Vice President for Health and Health Equity, and professor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions. She is an expert in health promotion research and one of the nation’s foremost investigators in the field of HIV/AIDS prevention. After retiring from the University of Pennsylvania, she joined Drexel in 2015 as vice president for Health and Health Equity.
- Heshie Zinman – Heshie is one of the founding board members of the LGBT Elder Initiative. He currently serves on the Pennsylvania Long Term Care Commission and the Governor’s LGBT Work Group where he advocates for policies that can improve the aging experience of LGBT Philadelphians.
The 17 commission members will serve in an advisory capacity to help bring the Livable Communities: Age-Friendly Philadelphia Action Plan to life. The plan, published in 2020, outlines a multi-year process towards a more equitable and livable city for Philadelphians of all ages.
Photos of appointees are available upon request.