Walter Dawson DPhil

Atlantic Fellow at GBHI
UCsf Memory and aging center

Professional Profile
Home Country: USA
Field of Employment: Health Policy
Social Media: Twitter:@healthpolicywd

Prior to the Atlantic Fellows Program at GBHI, Walter Dawson has primarily been working on health and aging policy issues with a specific focus on long-term care financing at the state and national levels in the United States.

A timely and accurate diagnosis of dementia has been identified as a public health priority. Yet as many as 50 percent of all people living with dementia are never aware of their condition. Without a formal diagnosis of dementia, individuals are less likely to obtain the services and supports that could help them and their caregivers prevent or delay the need for more expensive and intensive forms of care. Better detection and diagnosis could lead to improved outcomes and a higher quality of life for aging adults living with dementia. As an Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health at GBHI, my research will focus on the under-diagnosis of dementia and the downstream impact on the healthcare system, family caregivers, and the public programs that finance care and support. My work will have a particular focus on populations who are less likely to utilize the formal health care system due to a lack of access or other systemic barriers to care. My work will also include developing new partnerships to advance public policy and other interventions that will improve care and provide better support to family caregivers. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with my wife, Sarah, and our dog, Althea, travelling to new places, and reading a good book.

Bio: Walter Dawson is a lifelong advocate for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and their family caregivers. He is an Adjunct Professor in the Portland State University Institute on Aging. Previously, Dawson served as the Director of Research and Analytics at the Oregon Health Care Association in Portland, Oregon and as a Fulbright Scholar to Canada, where he held the Visiting Research Chair in Governance and Public Policy at McMaster University. Dawson has worked extensively in public policy including in Washington, DC at the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging and at the National Academy of Social Insurance. In 2015, Dawson was appointed by Oregon's Governor Kate Brown to the Governor’s Commission on Senior Services. Dawson holds a Master’s from the London School of Economics, and a doctorate in social policy from the University of Oxford.