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For Immediate Release

Easterseals National Board of Directors Names Four New Members

Chicago, IL, November 18, 2020

Media Contact:
Sharon Watson

The Easterseals National Board of Directors has elected four new members including Maria C. Carrillo, Ph.D., Chief Science Officer, Medical and Scientific Relations, at the Alzheimer’s Association; Nicole M. Cooper, DrPH, Head of Healthcare Policy at Lyft; Rory A. Cooper, Ph.D., Director and CEO of the Human Engineering Research Laboratories at the University of Pittsburgh (PA); and Joan Rockey, Partner and Chief Financial Officer, at Cerity Partners.

As chief science officer for the Alzheimer’s Association, Dr. Carrillo sets the strategic vision for the organization’s global research program. Under her leadership, the Association is the world’s largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research and an internationally recognized pioneer in convening the dementia science community to accelerate the field. A noted public speaker, Dr. Carrillo is instrumental in the Association’s efforts to lobby both the public and private sectors for increased funding for the disease. As a result of Dr. Carillo’s direction, the Association’s leadership in Alzheimer’s research continues to thrive through its International Research Grant Program which is currently investing $167 million in more than 500 active best-of-field projects in 27 countries. She earned her Ph.D. from Northwestern University’s Institute for Neuroscience and received its 2018 Alumnae Award. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship focused on Alzheimer’s brain imaging and risk factors at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. She sits on the governing board of the Global Brain Health Institute and is on the advisory committee for the World Health Organization Dementia Setting Priorities and Portfolio Analysis.

Currently the Head of Healthcare Policy at Lyft, Dr. Nicole M. Cooper is developing and managing the company’s national healthcare policy agenda while expanding its presence in the healthcare sector through which, since 2016, it has worked with healthcare organizations nationwide to help low-income individuals, the elderly, and people with disabilities travel to health services. Prior to joining Lyft, Dr. Cooper was Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at UnitedHealthcare where she was also a member of the company’s Executive Culture, Inclusion and Diversity Council. A former Obama Administration political appointee, Dr. Cooper served on the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) team responsible for implementation of the Affordable Care Act. She was a policy advisor to key leaders in the agency, including the Chief of Staff at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Minority Health. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Spelman College, a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from the University of Michigan, and a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) degree from Harvard University.

Dr. Rory A. Cooper is Founding Director and VA Senior Research Career Scientist of the Human Engineer Researching Laboratories at the University of Pittsburgh where he also serves as FISA & Paralyzed Veterans of America Professor and Distinguished Professor of the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology, and professor of Bioengineering, Physical Med and Rehab, and Orthopedic Surgery. He is an adjunct professor in the Robotics Institute of Carnegie Mellon University as well as of Physical Medicine and Rehab at the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences. Named an Honorary Professor at Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Xi’an Jiatong University where was awarded an Honorary Doctorate, Dr. Cooper has authored more than 350 peer-reviewed journal publications and has more than 20 patents awarded or pending. The author of two books, he and his work have been covered by The New York Times, Washington Post, Time magazine, CNN, Forbes, NBC, ESPN, NPR and other national and international media outlets. Dr. Cooper earned his B.S. and Master in Engineering degrees in electrical engineering from California Polytechnic State University and earned a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering with a concentration in bioengineering from the University of California at Santa Barbara. In 1988, he was a bronze medalist in the Paralympic Games in Seoul, Republic of Korea, and was awarded the International Paralympic Scientific Achievement Award in 2013. An elected Fellow of the National Academy of Inventors, Dr. Cooper is the recipient of numerous awards including the Samuel E. Heyman Service to America Service Medal, the Secretary of Defense Meritorious Civilian Service Medal, and the National Guard Bureau “Minute Man Award.”

Ms. Rockey is Chief Financial Officer and a Partner in the Chicago office of Cerity Partners, one of the nation's leading independent financial advisory firms. She oversees the firm’s accounting and finance activities and is a member of its Operating Committee. With more than 26 years of experience in the financial services industry at firms including Ernst & Young (EY), Option Opportunities Company and CastleArk Management LLC, Rockey was also the Founder and CEO of Hadelrock Capital Management LLC, a Chicago-based hedge fund. She was recognized as one of Crain’s Chicago Business’ 2019 Notable Women in Finance and was a finalist for the Financial Executives International 2015 Chicago Chapter CFO of the Year Award. A regular speaker on topics including innovation culture and financial transformation, including a recent fireside chat with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Rockey is an active member of numerous university and civic organizations including The Chicago Club and The Economic Club of Chicago. She sits on the board of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Gies Business Alumni Association, Chicago Finance Exchange, and the DePaul University Department of Finance Arditti Center for Risk Management. She received her Bachelor of Accounting degree from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and her Master of Finance and Master of Taxation degrees from DePaul University in Chicago. She was a contributing author for the publication, Encyclopedia of Alternative Investments, and holds the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), and Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designations.

About Easterseals

Driven by its purpose to change the way the world defines and views disability by making profound, positive difference in people’s lives every day, Easterseals has been an indispensable resource and advocate for individuals with disabilities, veterans, seniors, and their families for more than 100 years. Together, our 67 Affiliates in communities nationwide serve 1.5M people annually through high-quality programs including autism services, early intervention, workforce development, behavioral health services, adult day programs and more. In schools, workplaces and communities, we’re fostering environments where everyone is included and valued – making a real and positive impact on us all. Join us in ensuring that everyone – regardless of age or ability – is 100% included and 100% empowered to realize their full potential. Learn more at www.easterseals.com.

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