Meet the members of the NCOA Board of Directors:

Carol Zernial, Chair

Carol Zernial

Carol Zernial holds a master’s degree in social gerontology and has been involved in the field of aging for over 20 years. Her background includes work for the 1995 White House Conference on Aging and the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. She is past chair of the National Institute on Community-based Long-Term Care.

Zernial currently serves as executive director of the WellMed Charitable Foundation and vice president of community relations for WellMed Medical Management. Before joining WellMed, Zernial was director of the Bexar County Area Agency on Aging in San Antonio, TX, and vice president of the Texas Association of Area Agencies on Aging.

She received the 2008 Outstanding Professional in Aging Award in Texas for her contributions to the field of aging.

Richard Browdie, Immediate Past-Chair

Richard Browdie

Richard Browdie has served as president and CEO of The Benjamin Rose Institute since 2002. Benjamin Rose is a nonprofit, non-sectarian organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for older people through community-based and residential care, research, education, and advocacy.

Prior to his position with Benjamin Rose, Browdie served as Pennsylvania’s Secretary of Aging from February 1995 to April 2002. His duties included managing a staff of 109 and overseeing a more than $800 million budget. He was responsible for the administration of a statewide system of 52 area agencies on aging.

Browdie also served as executive director of the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging from 1993-1995. He developed policy and had oversight responsibility for the national organization representing 670 area agencies on aging and Indian tribal organizations, administering services for older people covering the entire United States. Browdie served as president of the American Society on Aging from March 1998 to March 2000.

He earned his bachelor of arts degree in sociology from Allegheny College, Meadville, PA, and his master’s degree in business administration from Gannon University in Erie, PA.

James Knickman, Secretary & Treasurer

James Knickman

An active philanthropy executive, scholar, and community leader, James Knickman is Robert Derzon Chair in Public and Health Affairs, at the New York University (NYU) Robert Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, NYU Langone Medical School Department of Population Health.

Knickman recently retired as president and chief executive officer of the New York State Health Foundation (NYSHealth), a private foundation dedicated to improving the health of all New Yorkers. Under Knickman’s leadership, NYSHealth invested nearly $60 million since 2006 in initiatives to improve health care and the public health system in New York state. Today, the foundation focuses its efforts in three priority areas: reducing the number of New Yorkers without health insurance coverage, improving prevention and management of diabetes, and integrating mental health and substance abuse services for people who cope with both issues at the same time.

Prior to joining the Foundation, Knickman was vice president of research and evaluation at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) in Princeton, NJ, where he led and oversaw research initiatives, external evaluations of RWJF’s national initiatives, and internal analyses related to its grantmaking priorities.

Between 1976 and 1992, he served on the faculty of New York University’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, where he was active in community service directed at improving health care delivery to vulnerable populations. Earlier, he worked at the New York City Office of Management and Budget, and he has been a visiting professor at the University of Rochester, U.C. Berkeley, and Princeton University. He has also served on a wide range of advisory boards and published extensive research on issues related to improving services for homeless families, frail elders, and individuals with HIV. Knickman is the co-author of a widely used textbook on health policy and management.

Knickman serves as a board member of the Robert Wood Johnson Health System and of the Center for Effective Philanthropy. He is a past chair of the New Jersey Department of Health’s Cardiac Health Advisory Council; a past board member of AcademyHealth in Washington, DC; and a past board member of the New York Catholic Health Care System.

Knickman received a bachelor of arts degree in sociology and psychology from Fordham University and his Ph.D. in public policy analysis from the University of Pennsylvania.


Robert Blancato

Bob Blancato

Bob Blancato is president of Matz, Blancato, & Associates. Blancato is the national coordinator of the Elder Justice Coalition, a non-partisan, 680-member organization.

From 2000-2006, he served as president of the National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse. He currently serves as the executive director of the National Association of Nutrition and Aging Services Programs (NANASP).

Blancato is a former House of Representatives staff member and spent 17 years on the House Select Committee on Aging. He also served as executive director of the 1995 White House Conference on Aging (WHCOA) appointed by President Clinton. He was on the Policy Committee for the 2005 WHCOA appointed by Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Blancato most recently became chairman of the Commonwealth Council on Aging in Virginia. He holds a bachelor of arts degree from Georgetown University and a masters of public administration from American University.

Josefina Carbonell

Josefina Carbonell

A former top U.S. official serving the elderly and a distinguished leader in the private and governmental health care sectors, Carbonell brings more than 30 years of experience in community-based long-term care, including health, nutrition, transportation, and personal care services.

In August 2001, Carbonell was appointed by President George Bush to serve as Assistant Secretary for Aging at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), a position she held for more than seven years. During her tenure, Carbonell made significant contributions to the modernization of long-term care as provided through 29,000 aging services network provider organizations.

Prior to joining the Bush administration, Carbonell was president and CEO of the largest Hispanic geriatric health and human service organization in the nation–Little Havana Activities & Nutrition Centers (LHANC) in Miami-Dade County, FL.

As current senior vice president of Independent Living Systems (ILS), Carbonell leads the strategic growth of the company’s long-term care division, fortifying its focus and commitment to servicing the growing Florida aging community. ILS specializes in case and disease management, social, and nutritional services through its partnerships with health plans, government entities, and individual providers. Because of its significant impact in the health care sector, the company was recently ranked as one of the “Top 10 South Florida Business Leaders” by Business Leader magazine.

Heather Dupré

Heather Dupré

Heather Dupré has 30 years of experience creating and growing the world’s strongest brands. Current President & CEO of Egg Strategy, Inc., Dupré leads a 70-person global marketing consultancy with focus on world-class Fortune 500 clients, including Nestlé, Coke, Kraft, Kellogg, Estée Lauder, J&J, and Vanity Fair Corporation.

In a previous position for Bristol-Myers Squibb, Dupré created and launched the award-winning Viactiv Active Nutrition for women, the first “by women for women” brand that won best new product of the year from Business Week.

She also led all marketing functions for the U.S. division of the Japanese consumer products leader Kao, where she launched the award-winning Bioré skincare product in the U.S., restaged the firm’s flagship Jergen’s to regain market prominence, and acquired and expanded the Curèl brand.

Dupré earned her MBA from Northwestern University Kellogg Graduate School of Management. She teaches adjunct classes at the University of Colorado Leeds Graduate School of Business in Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

Julie Goonewardene

Julie Goonewardene, NCOA Board
Julie Goonewardene is the associate vice chancellor for innovation and strategic investment for the University of Texas System. In this role she serves as the strategic leader and advisor for the UT System and UT institutions in all areas related to commercialization, growth and expansion of innovation and entrepreneurship including the UT Horizon Fund. She is also responsible for the development of sustainable academic-industry partnerships.
In addition to being recognized as an expert in bringing groups together across the health care spectrum to develop solutions to medical issues, Goonewardene is an experienced entrepreneur. She co-founded and served as president of a venture-backed software company, which she sold in 2004.

Goonewardene is a frequent speaker both nationally and internationally on entrepreneurship and an author on innovation.

Goonewardene holds a Bachelor of Science with honors in general management and a Masters of Science in health communication both from Purdue University. 

Lynn Fields Harris

LynnFieldsHarris_boardLynn Fields Harris serves as Executive Director of Center in the Park. Founded in 1968, Center in the Park is a nationally accredited senior community center in Northwest Philadelphia primarily focused on the needs of adults 55+ with programs and services in lifelong learning; creative self-expression; health promotion and evidence-based programs; social services and housing and community connections.

Harris is a versatile, results-oriented executive with extensive experience in government and community relations, intergovernmental affairs, as well as public relations and marketing communications in public, private and non-profit sectors.

Harris holds a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University; and, a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Elementary Education from Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Sunder Joshi

Sunder Joshi

Sunder Joshi held numerous positions at the American Heart Association before retiring as Chief Administrative Officer/CFO. In this role he was responsible for Finance, Business Technology, Human Resources, Diversity, Support Services, Legal, Internal Audit, and Bequest Administration. His previous roles included Director of Internal Audit and Chief Operating Officer, Business Operations of the Western States Affiliate.

Prior to joining the American Heart Association, Joshi worked in public accounting in the UK for Thomson McLintock & Co and in the International Audit Division of Continental Illinois Bank in London and Chicago. He has served on committees of several nonprofit organizations, including the Independent Sector’s Ethics and Accountability Committee, the Wise Giving Alliance’s Effectiveness Panel, and the Partnership for Prevention’s Audit Committee.

Joshi holds a Bachelor of Commerce degree from University of Bombay, is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales, and received his CPA certification from the Colorado Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

Mark McClellan

Mark McClellan, MD, PhD, is the Robert J. Margolis Professor of Business, Medicine, and Health Policy, and Director of the Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke University. He is a physician-economist who focuses on quality and value in health care including payment reform, real-world evidence and more effective drug and device innovation. He is former administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, where he developed and implemented major reforms in health policy. He was previously Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and a faculty member at Stanford University.

David Sidwell

David Sidwell

David Sidwell is Senior Independent Director and Chair of the Risk Committee of UBS, where he is also a member of the Governance and Nominating Committee. Sidwell is also a Director and Chairperson of the Risk Policy and Capital Committee of Fannie Mae in Washington, DC, and a senior advisor at Oliver Wyman in New York. He is a board member of Ace Limited and Chairman of the Board of Village Care in New York.

Sidwell previously served as Executive Vice President and CFO of Morgan Stanley. Before joining Morgan Stanley, he worked for JPMorgan Chase & Co., where, in his 20 years of service, he held a number of different positions, including controller and, from 2000 to 2004, CFO of the Investment Bank. Prior to this, he was with Price Waterhouse in both London and New York. Sidwell graduated from Cambridge University and qualified as a chartered accountant with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

W. June Simmons

JuneSimmons_boardJune Simmons is President and CEO of Partners in Care Foundation. Over the past two decades, June has pioneered the development and scaling of innovative, evidence-based interventions for management of medications at home, self-management of chronic conditions, coordinated care to improve health outcomes, and care transitions.

Throughout her distinguished career, she has been instrumental in envisioning, creating, funding, and operating forward-looking health and social service programs that meet the mutual needs of patient populations, health care delivery networks and health plans. Her priority is sustainable, cost-effective, patient-driven integration of care across settings, from primary care and hospital to home and community in the 21st century.

Cass Wheeler

Cass Wheeler

Cass Wheeler launched his consulting practice after a distinguished career with the American Heart Association, serving as its CEO from 1997-2008. Under his leadership, the association merged its 56 state and metropolitan affiliates into eight regions and adopted a single corporate structure. During this same period, revenue grew from $400 million to $650 million.

Under his leadership, the association also launched several new initiatives, including the award-winning Go Red for Women Campaign to raise awareness about heart disease in women, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation (with the William J. Clinton Foundation) to fight childhood obesity, Get With the Guidelines to improve hospital care and outcomes, and the Power to End Stroke targeted to African-Americans. The association also approved a far-reaching health-impact goal calling for a 25% reduction of coronary heart disease, stroke, and risk by 2010.

Wheeler was appointed by President Clinton to serve on the Commission on Improving Economic Opportunity in Communities Dependent on Tobacco Production While Protecting Public Health. He also served on the boards of the National Human Services Assembly, Partnership for Prevention, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Independent Sector, and Research!America. Wheeler currently serves on the boards of the American Legacy Foundation and the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance.

Wheeler is the author of You’ve Gotta Have Heart: Achieving Purpose Beyond Profit in the Social Sector, a book he wrote with a goal to further increase the effectiveness of the nonprofit sector.