U.S. HHS Secretary Names María Ordóñez to Alzheimer’s Council

Alzheimer's Disease, US HHS, US HHS Secretary, Alzheimer's Council, Advisory Council on Alzheimer's Research, Care, and Services, Nursing, Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing

Alzheimer's disease is a type of dementia that leads to memory, thinking and behavioral problems, which currently affects 5.1 million Americans and is expected to affect more than 20 million people by 2050.


By gisele galoustian | 11/13/2019

Alex M. Azar II, the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), recently named Florida Atlantic University’s María de los Ángeles Ordóñez, DNP, APRN, GNP-BC, PMHNP-BC, FAANP, FAAN, to the Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care, and Services. The advisory council was established in 2011 and meets quarterly to continue development and progress on the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease by HHS, Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, and the National Science Foundation to address the disease.

Ordóñez, director of the Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center, operated by FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, and an associate professor in the college, joins members who will advise the secretary and Congress on federal programs that affect people with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and related dementias. The advisory council is made up of federal and non-federal members who serve overlapping four-year terms. As a new member, Ordóñez brings the perspectives of Hispanic and Latino Americans and providers of long-term services and support.

María de los Ángeles Ordóñez, DNP, APRN, director of the Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center, operated by FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, and an associate professor in the college.

“This appointment of Dr. Ordóñez, the director of our college's Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center, is a testament to her leadership in understanding and addressing the needs of patients with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers,” said Safiya George, Ph.D., dean of FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing. “Dr. Ordóñez has an unparalleled passion for and commitment to this population, which will serve people across the nation with Alzheimer’s and their families very well. We are extremely proud and excited about her appointment to this very important taskforce.”

At the Green Memory and Wellness Center, Ordóñez oversees programs in memory, wellness, and neuropsychological testing, driving evaluations, caregiver support, physical therapy, counseling, behavioral health, and an adult day program. In addition to the services provided, the center conducts research on best practices in care for individuals with AD and related disorders as well as caregiver support. Since 2015, Ordóñez also has been implementing an Administration for Community Living AD Initiative grant through FAU.

“It is truly an honor and privilege to be appointed as a member of the Advisory Council onAlzheimer's Research, Care, and Services by U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar,”said Ordóñez. “I am excited to join this group of highly experienced members who will continue the council’s great work in assisting our U.S. Department of Health and Human Services with further progress on the national plan for Alzheimer’s disease.”

Ordóñez assumed her role at the Green Memory and Wellness Center in 2011. She is a board certified gerontological and psychiatric-mental health nurse practitioner who continues her practice as a clinician. She specializes in caring for the older adult through diagnosis, treatment and management of acute and chronic conditions that are generally associated with aging. Her practice experience encompasses nursing rehabilitation facilities (skilled nursing, post-acute, and long-term care) and memory disorder clinics. Her scholarly accomplishments have focused on improving health outcomes of older adults transitioning from the hospital to the skilled nursing facility following open heart surgery and with cognitive impairment. The focus of her doctoral work was aimed at enhancing care in skilled nursing facilities through excellence in clinical practice and care coordination. 

November is AD Awareness Month, which highlights a disease currently affecting 5.1 million Americans and is expected to affect more than 20 million people by 2050. AD is a type of dementia that leads to memory, thinking and behavioral problems. It is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of all cases. AD also is the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S.

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