Administrator and Assistant Secretary for Aging
Lance Robertson was appointed to serve as Assistant Secretary for Aging and ACL's Administrator on August 11, 2017.
His vision for ACL focuses on five pillars: supporting families and caregivers, protecting rights and preventing abuse, connecting people to resources, expanding employment opportunities, and strengthening the aging and disability networks.
His leadership in the fields of aging and disability began in Oklahoma, where he served for 10 years as the Director of Aging Services within the state’s Department of Human Services. Prior to that, he spent 12 years at Oklahoma State University, where he co-founded the Gerontology Institute and served as the executive director of the nation's largest regional gerontology association.
Asst. Sec. Robertson earned his undergraduate degree from Oklahoma State University and a master of public administration degree from the University of Central Oklahoma, and he is a veteran of the United States Army.
Principal Deputy Administrator
President Trump appointed Mary Lazare to serve as ACL’s Principal Deputy Administrator on June 19, 2017.
Ms. Lazare comes to ACL from St. Louis, Missouri, where she most recently served as Vice President for Home- and Community-Based Services for Lutheran Senior Services. With master’s degrees in both management and gerontology and an extensive career in long-term care and community health operations, she combines hands-on program-level knowledge with strategic planning and organizational development expertise, and has led organizations in delivering quality services and advocating for the people they serve while adhering to sound stewardship principles.
Dr. Whitney Bailey
Deputy Administrator for Regional Operations and Partnership Development
Dr. Bailey began her career as a marriage and family therapist and very quickly specialized in aging. She comes to ACL from Oklahoma State University, where she most recently served as a professor in adulthood and aging and as the caregiving state specialist for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Services. In earlier roles with Oklahoma State, she served as assistant and associate professor and director of the university’s Gerontology Institute. Prior to joining Oklahoma State, she spent four years at Michigan State University in a variety of roles.
Dr. Bailey’s area of expertise as an educator, researcher and therapist is Family Gerontology, which examines family and relational processes of aging. She has particularly focused on applied research on caregiving processes. She is passionate about research that is translated into action, both to improve the ways in which older adults experience medical, social, government, and family systems and to empower county and district staff to reach and serve aging families.
Since 2005, she has led a variety of research projects funded by competitive grants. Since 2015, she has served as project director for a program titled “A Community Approach to Caregiver Education: Empowering Rural Hospitals and Caregivers” and as co-investigator on a project titled “Resilience in Family Caregivers of Individuals with Dementia: The Impact of Caregiver Respite Decisions about Care-Home Placement.” Earlier research projects have focused on other critical issues in aging, such as barriers to nutrition and health, consumer satisfaction with in-home services, and needs of grandparents raising grandchildren. She also has worked on the development of state policy, co-drafting a bill passed in Arkansas in 2001 that provides grandparents who have had physical custody of their grandchildren the opportunity to be heard in custody proceedings.
Dr. Bailey earned a Ph.D. in family and child ecology from Michigan State University, a master of science in human development and family studies with a focus on family gerontology from the University of Arkansas, and a bachelor of science in family and environmental resources from Northwest Missouri State University.
Deputy Administrator for Management and Budget
As Deputy Administrator for Management and Budget, Mr. Berger serves as the Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer, and oversees the administration of ACL’s financial resources; discretionary and mandatory grants; information technology and telecommunications; procurement and facilities services; personnel and human capital development; and internal control activities. Under his leadership, the Center for Management and Budget is responsible for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of ACL’s operations and providing effective administrative services to support ACL’s programs.
Prior to assuming his current position, Mr. Berger served in a variety of budget and management positions in HHS. Management positions at AoA included Director of the Center for Management and Budget, Director of the Office of Management Analysis and Resources, and Director of the Office of Information Resources Management. He entered federal service as a Presidential Management Fellow in 1997 and spent 8 years as a budget analyst in the Office of the Secretary and AoA.
He received a Master of Public Administration degree from Northeastern University and bachelor’s degrees in history and politics from Brandeis University. He resides in Fairfax, Virginia, with his wife and three children.
Director, Center for Policy and Evaluation
As the Director of the Center for Policy and Evaluation (CPE), Vicki Gottlich oversees the coordination of effort across ACL program offices to manage the evaluation of, and reporting on, the performance of ACL programs; the provision of technical assistance on performance measurement to ACL grantees; and assisting ACL’s organizational units in developing operational plans that include measurable objectives and performance indicators.
Prior to serving as the Director of CPE, Ms. Gottlich served as a senior advisor to Sharon Lewis, Principal Deputy Administrator (ACL), focusing on policy issues involving health insurance and Long-Term Social Services (LTSS). Ms. Gottlich came to ACL from the Centers for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) in the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), where she headed the Consumer Support Group (CSG). CSG certified assistance counselor programs for the private Marketplaces; implemented and oversaw external appeals procedures; and implemented and oversaw the summary of benefits and coverage, which provides consumers with standardized information about private health insurance plans.
Before joining HHS in 2011, Ms. Gottlich worked as an attorney and beneficiary advocate for older people and people with disabilities, engaging in policy work, litigation, and administrative advocacy. She focused on issues related to Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, LTSS, adult guardianship and end-of-life decision making. Ms. Gottlich is the author of numerous articles regarding Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, and private health insurance.
Ms. Gottlich has a Juris Doctor degree from New York University and a Master of Laws in urban legal studies from George Washington University Law School.
Acting Deputy Administrator, Center for Integrated Programs
As the Acting Deputy Administrator for the Center for Integrated Programs Mr. Josh Hodges oversees ACL’s administration of programs and initiatives that serve both older adults and people with disabilities, as well as their families and caregivers, including consumer access and protection programs, as well as programs and initiatives that promote the use of self-directed and person-centered service models.
Mr. Hodges joined the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in 2010, and most recently served as Director of the Office of Healthcare Information and Counseling, overseeing the State Health Insurance Assistance Program, the Senior Medicare Patrol program, and the Medicare Improvements for Patients & Providers Act program. Earlier in his career, he worked as a management consultant across more than a dozen federal agencies assisting them with reorganizations, strategic planning, and business process improvements.
He earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Texas A&M University and a Bachelor of Science in political science from West Texas A&M University.
Dr. Robert Jaeger
Director, National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research
Dr. Jaeger's research experience spans more than four decades and much of his work has been focused on research to improve the lives of people with disabilities. He comes to ACL following nine years with the Department of Veteran Affairs, where he has served as the director of post-deployment health research since 2011. Immediately prior to his time with the VA, he was the program director for the Research to Aid Persons with Disabilities Program at the National Science Foundation and also served as an adjunct research biomedical engineer with the Rehabilitation Medicine Department at NIH’s Clinical Center.
Dr. Jaeger previously worked as a Mary E. Switzer Fellow with NIDRR from 1987-1988, and returned in 1997 to serve as a program specialist, with responsibility for the peer review process, the Field-Initiated Grant Program, and the Small-Business Innovation Research program. From 2000-2006, he served as NIDRR’s director of interagency and international affairs until 2006. In that role, he also served as the Executive Secretary of the Interagency Committee on Disability Research.
Earlier roles included more than 15 years as a professor or lecturer at the medical schools of the University of Chicago and Northwestern University, as well as a the Pritzker Institute of Medical Engineer at the Illinois Institute of Technology. He earned bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in bioengineering from the University of Illinois and a master of science in biomedical engineering from the University of Texas.
Commissioner, Administration on Disabilities
Melissa Ortiz believes that everyone has the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, regardless of disability. Her mission is to provide people with disabilities with the necessary tools and supports to live independently. Her belief is that these fundamental rights are woven into our national fabric.
In her role as Commissioner of the Administration on Disabilities, she is enthusiastic about working on behalf of Americans with disabilities. She has worked in the classroom in Nashville, Tennessee, in the nonprofit sector in Washington, DC and New York City, on a number of political campaigns around the country, and has bent the ear of some of the country’s most powerful leaders in the process.
She identifies as a “happy patriot” and is committed to driving a dialogue between both sides of the political aisle and people with disabilities. She is uniquely suited to bridge the gap between these groups and is passionate about creating solutions. She currently resides in Washington, D.C. with her husband Tony and service dog dachshund, Annie Oakley.
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aging
As the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aging of the Administration on Aging (AoA) within the Administration for Community Living, Mr. Edwin L. Walker serves as the chief career official for the federal agency responsible for advocating on behalf of older Americans.
In this capacity, he guides and promotes the development of home and community-based long-term care programs, policies, and services designed to afford older people and their caregivers the ability to age with dignity and independence and to have a broad array of options available for an enhanced quality of life. This includes the promotion and implementation of evidence-based prevention interventions proven effective in avoiding or delaying the onset of chronic disease and illness.
A strong and experienced advocate for older persons, he has served as the primary liaison with Congress on legislation related to aging services and programs. For more than 30 years, he has been characterized as a consummate professional civil servant who can be relied upon to represent the best interests of our nation’s senior citizens.
Prior to joining the Administration on Aging, Mr. Walker served as the Director of the Missouri Division of Aging, responsible for administering a comprehensive set of human service programs for older persons and adults with disabilities.
He received a Juris Doctor degree in law from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Media Arts from Hampton University. A proud grandfather, he resides in Fort Washington, Maryland.
Director, Independent Living Administration
Bob Williams joined ACL in January 2016 as the Director of the Independent Living Administration.
Active in disability rights since high school, Williams came to Washington, DC, to go to college and has lived and worked here for over three decades. Most recently, he served as the Senior Advisor to the Deputy Commissioner for Retirement and Disability Policy at the Social Security Administration. In that role, he led several interagency initiatives to create greater opportunities in career paths, employment, and economic mobility for people with significant disabilities. He continues to advance those goals here at ACL.
In earlier roles, Williams headed SSA’s Office of Employment Support Programs and has advised the Kaiser Foundation, the Commonwealth Fund, and other organizations on policy issues affecting the health, independence and economic well-being of people of all ages with disabilities. He also served as the Commissioner on Developmental Disabilities and then as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Disability, Aging and Long-Term Care Policy at HHS. He also helped gain the passage of the ADA and to create community living services and supports to children and adults once consigned to Forest Haven, the District of Columbia’s institution for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.