Walter Dawson

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Walter Dawson

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Assistant Professor, Department of Neurology, Oregon Health & Science University


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Short bio

Walter Dawson is a lifelong advocate for people living with Alzheimer’s disease and their family care partners. Dawson is an Assistant Professor at the Layton Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease Center at the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) School of Medicine in Portland, Oregon and a Senior Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health with the Global Brain Health Institute with the University of California, San Francisco and Trinity College Dublin. He also holds an appointment at Portland State University’s Institute on Aging, where he is the primary investigator (PI) for the evaluation of Oregon’s Behavioral Health Initiative for Older Adult and People with Physical Disabilities.

Dawson has extensive direct experience in U.S. state and national policy. As staff at the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, he worked on provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) focused on increasing access to home and community-based services for older adults and people living with disabilities. More recently, Dawson was appointed to the Oregon Governor’s Commission on Senior Services and currently serves as vice chair of the Commission. Dawson received his doctorate in social policy from the University of Oxford and holds a masters from the London School of Economics.

Research interests

Global health policy, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), brain health diplomacy, financial impacts of dementia, long-term services and supports financing, caregiving, screening and detection of cognitive impairment, advocacy for more equitable financing systems for AD and dementia care.

Research projects on COVID and Long-Term Care

Home Health and Medicare: Taking Stock During COVID-19, (Van Houtven & Dawson: Co-PI), Commonwealth Fund.

Key publications

Dawson W, Graham C, Smith E, Bennett V, Lee C, Ling G, Chapman SB, Miller BL, Insel T, Herbert B, Brune R and Eyre H (2021). Build Brains Better: A Proposal for a White House Brain Capital Council to Accelerate Post-COVID Recovery and Resilience. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution. December 22, 2021.

Stodola A, Kyler-Yano J, Hasworth S, Winfree J, and Dawson W (2021). Supporting the Behavioral Health of Older Adults: Evaluating a Multi-Site, Multi-Actor, Multi-Agency Initiative. Journal of Applied Gerontology.

Smith E, Ali D, Wilkerson B, Dawson W, Sobowale K, Reynolds C, Berk M, Lavretsky H, Jeste D, Ng C, Soares J, Aragam G, Wainer Z, Manji H, Licinio J, Lo A, Storch E, Fu E, Leboyer M, Tarnanas I, Ibañez A, Manes F, Caddick S, Fillit H, Abbott R, Robertson I, Chapman S, Au R, Altimus C, Hynes W, Brannelly P, Cummings J, and Eyre H (2021). A Brain Capital Grand Strategy: Towards Economic Reimagination. Molecular Psychiatry, 26(1):3-22. PMID: 33100330. 

Dawson W, Boucher N, Stone R, and Van Houtven C (2021). COVID-19: The Time for Collaboration between Long-Term Services and Supports, Health Care Systems and Public Health is Now. The Milbank Quarterly, 99(2):565-594. PMID: 33590920.

Boucher N, Van Houtven C, and Dawson W (2020). Older Adults Post-Incarceration: Restructuring Long-Term Services and Supports in the Time of COVID-19. Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, 22(3): 504-509. PMID: 33189565. 

Van Houtven C and Dawson W (2020). Medicare and Home Health: Taking Stock During the COVID-19 Era. Issue Brief. Commonwealth Fund. October 21, 2020. 

LTCCovid contributions

Suárez-González A, Livingston G, Lee-Fay-Low, Cahill S, Hennelly N, Dawson W, Weidner W, Bocchetta M, Ferri C, Matias-Guiu J, Alladi S, Wayua Musyimi C, and Comas-Herrera A (2020). Impact and mortality of COVID-19 on people living with dementia: cross-country report. International Long-Term Care Policy Network, CPEC-LSE. August 19, 2020.

Dawson W, Ashcroft E, Lorenz-Dant K, and Comas-Herrera A (2020). Impact of the COVID-19 Outbreak on Community-Based Care Services: A Review of Initial International Policy Reponses. International Long- Term Care Policy Network, CPEC-LSE. May 19, 2020.

Van Houtven C, Boucher N, and Dawson W (2020). The Impact of COVID-19 Outbreak on Long Term Care in the United States. International Long-Term Care Policy Network, CPEC-LSE, 26 April 2020.