Jennifer Pettis named Alzheimer's ambassador to New York Senator Chuck Schumer

August 14, 2019

NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing’s Jennifer Pettis has been named an Alzheimer’s Ambassador to Senator Chuck Schumer. Pettis, an expert on aging and healthcare, is the associate director of the long-term care program at NICHE (Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders) at NYU Meyers.

“There are 5.8 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is expected to grow to 7.1 million by 2050. In short, Alzheimer’s disease is a public health crisis, and the time to act is now,” said Pettis. “Not only do we need to find a cure for this devastating disease, but we also need to support those afflicted by it and their caregivers as we work toward a cure. Additionally, we need to ensure that health systems are prepared to provide person-centered, quality care to individuals living with Alzheimer’s.”

Alzheimer’s Ambassadors are grassroots volunteers for the Alzheimer's Impact Movement—the advocacy arm of the Alzheimer's Association—working to develop and advance policies to overcome Alzheimer's disease through increased investment in research, enhanced care, and improved support. In committing to serve for a renewable one-year term, Alzheimer’s Ambassadors are the main point of in-district contact for a specific member of Congress for issues related to dementia and Alzheimer’s. Ambassadors develop trusted relationships with their congressional offices to ensure their voices are heard by policymakers.

“Importantly, Alzheimer’s is not a red or blue issue. Rather, it is a purple issue, with strong bipartisan support aimed at funding Alzheimer’s research and programs to support those living with the disease. I am delighted to have the opportunity to work with Senator Schumer and his staff to address this crisis,” added Pettis.

As an Alzheimer’s Ambassador, Pettis will attend the annual Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum in Washington, DC, as well as several district meetings with Senator Schumer’s office. She will also lead the activities of her local Alzheimer’s Congressional Team, a group of highly engaged advocates.

Pettis, who joined NYU Meyers and NICHE in 2018, has more than 25 years of healthcare experience as a nurse, nurse researcher, educator, and consultant working to improve healthcare for older adults, including providing expertise to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. At NICHE—the leading nurse-driven program designed to improve geriatric care in healthcare organizations—Pettis oversees the long-term care program, working to develop the nursing workforce for organizations such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities. She also ensures that NICHE’s clinical education content and materials are consistent with national standards.