Who We Are

Who we are: a group of people with a vision where we can all grow old safely, together

Who We Are: Our Mission

We respect the rights and dignity of older adults and are committed to end the shameful societal failures that lead to their abuse, neglect and exploitation.

We are committed to urgent action through evidence-based solutions and by harnessing innovation, knowledge and expertise.

We’re determined to work collaboratively to ensure that every victim of elder abuse has timely access to quality care and intervention.

Our Board of Directors

We started as a group of leaders, coming together to improve the way professionals, organizations and systems respond to elder abuse, neglect and financial exploitation. Each member of our board contributes their unique experience and expertise to our cause. Who we are is a group that shares a commitment to work towards a world where older people live with dignity and wellbeing, free from abuse and neglect.

Mark Lachs, MD, MPH

Co-Chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine

Director of Geriatrics, New York Presbyterian Health Care System

One of most highly-respected physician scientists in the field of elder abuse, Mark Lachs, MD, MPH, has testified before the United States Senate Committee on Aging, spoken at the White House, and served as a consultant to the World Health Organization on matters related to Elder Abuse. In addition to conducting one of the largest longitudinal studies of elder abuse funded by the National Institute on Aging, he has received numerous accolades and awards both for his research and teaching activities in geriatric medicine and gerontology.

Ronald Adelman, MD

Co-Chief of the Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine

An international expert on older patient-physician communication, the research interests of Ronald Adelman, MD, also include caregiving, palliative care, and elder abuse. He has co-authored the book ‘Strategies for Helping Victims of Elder Abuse’ along with fellow Board member Risa Breckman, LCSW, as well the American Medical Association’s guidelines on elder abuse and neglect.

Bess White, MS

Executive Director, Elderabuse.org

Bess White, MS, is Founder of Bluebird Philanthropy Advisors. She is passionate about the health of older adults, fighting elder abuse, and advancing equity in aging. She is Director of the Cornell-Penn Interview for Decisional Abilities (IDA) program. She is pursuing a Masters Degree in Public Health at Columbia University, with a focus on healthy aging. She was a Principal Gifts officer at Weill Cornell Medicine, has lectured on fundraising at AAMC, AATI, and guest lectured on major gift fundraising at Columbia University – but her proudest accomplishment is leading a neighborhood fundraising effort to save the Greenpoint Holiday Lights during COVID.

Cory Olicker Henkel

Administrator, Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine

Cory Olicker Henkel is responsible for directing and managing the business and administrative affairs for Weill Cornell Medical College’s Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine. She has previously held posts at the National Organization on Disability, New York and other key healthcare organizations. She is an AHRC board member and a member of the Academy of Women Achievers. She is a co-founder of the Rett Syndrome Research Foundation.

David Burnes, PhD

Assistant Professor, University of Toronto, Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work

Affiliate Scientist, Baycrest Health Sciences, Rotman Research Institute

An international expert and scholar in the field of elder abuse, David Burnes leads several federally-funded projects in Canada and the U.S. toward understanding and preventing elder abuse, including basic science, intervention, and measurement research. He has advised major organizations, such as the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health, on the topic of elder abuse, as well as government entities on the development and implementation of elder abuse response systems.

Page Ulrey

For over 15 years, Page Ulrey has been the dedicated elder abuse prosecutor for King County in Seattle. During her tenure she has handled cases of elder financial exploitation, neglect, physical assault, sexual assault, and homicide.  Page is a founder of the King County Elder Abuse Council and co-founder of the King County Elder Abuse Multidisciplinary Team.  She has presented internationally on the prosecution of elder abuse and contributed to a number of scholarly publications.

Risa Breckman, LCSW (Board Member Emeritus)

Executive Director, New York City Elder Abuse Center

Director of Social Work, Division of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine

A psychotherapist and social worker by training, Risa Breckman, LCSW, has been instrumental in developing pioneering programs, guidelines and forums on elder abuse since 1982 and is a highly regarded national leader in the field of elder justice. In addition to her work on the ground, she also raises awareness and educates on the topic through her writing. She co-authored the influential book ‘Strategies for Helping Victims of Elder Abuse’, the AMA guidelines on Elder Abuse, and the Elder Justice Roadmap Report for the National Institutes of Justice.