We are the Diverse Elders Coalition, and we represent the growing majority of older people in this country.
Who We Are
Together, we are made up of six national organizations representing a growing majority of millions of older people throughout the country: American Indian and Alaska Native Elders; Asian American, Pacific Islander, and Native Hawaiian older adults; Black and African American older adults; Hispanic and Latinx older adults; and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older adults. We have come together to promote policy changes and programmatic solutions that respond to this demographic shift and will remove the barriers facing our communities. We envision a world where all older adults can live full and active lives as they age.
What We Do
Founded in 2010, the Diverse Elders Coalition (DEC) advocates for policies and programs that improve aging in our communities as racially and ethnically diverse people; American Indians and Alaska Natives; and lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (LGBT) people. In the decades to come, the communities represented by the DEC will collectively form the majority of older adults in the United States. The DEC is working to strengthen policies and programs to enhance the health and wellbeing of diverse elders, educating and connecting diverse older adults and their loved ones to key policy debates on aging, and increasing public support for issues that affect our communities.
National Asian Pacific Center on Aging (NAPCA)
NAPCA is the nation’s leading advocacy organization committed to the dignity, well-being and quality of life of Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) in their senior years.
Since 1979, NAPCA has been advocating on behalf of the AAPI aging community at the local, state and national levels; educating AAPI seniors and the general public on the unique needs of the APA aging community; and empowering AAPI seniors and the aging network to meet the increasing challenges facing the AAPI aging community. NAPCA has directly served tens of thousands of AAPI seniors who represent the fastest growing segment of the aging population in the country. From employment to welfare reform, from health care to long-term care, NAPCA gives AAPI seniors a seat at the table during a critical time when public policies threaten their dignity and quality of life.
National Caucus and Center on Black Aging (NCBA)
The National Caucus & Center on Black Aging, Inc. was founded in 1970 to ensure that the particular concerns of elderly minorities would be addressed in the then-upcoming 1971 White House Conference on Aging.
Since then, NCBA has helped protect and improve the quality of life for elderly populations, making certain that legislators, policy makers, philanthropists, advocacy groups, service organizations, thought leaders and the public at-large include minority seniors in their programs, policy- and law-making, and giving. NCBA is one of the country’s oldest organizations dedicated to aging issues and the only national organization devoted to minority and low-income aging.
National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA)
The National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA) is the leading national organization working to improve the lives of Hispanic older adults, their families, and their caregivers.
National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA)
NICOA’s objectives are:
1. Enhance communications and cooperation with community service providers and other aging organizations that represent and advocate for Native American Elders
2. Provide information and technical assistance for Native American communities to improve health care for Elders
3. Network with appropriate agencies to maximize resources and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the service delivery systems for Elders
4. Provide information, reports and expert testimony requested by Tribal Nations and the U.S. Congress
5. Provide a clearinghouse for information on issues affecting American Indian and Alaska Native Elders.
SAGE | Advocacy and Services for LGBT Elders
Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)
SEARAC was founded in 1979 to facilitate the relocation of Southeast Asian refugees into American society and to foster the development of nonprofit organizations led by and for Southeast Asian Americans. SEARAC has grown into an organization that strengthens the capacity of community-based organizations led by refuges from around the world. We serve as a coalition builder and leader among diverse refugee communities; carry out action-oriented research projects; foster civic engagement among refugees; and represent refugee communities at the national level in Washington, DC and the state level in California.
We’re a team that believes in honoring our past and securing our future.
We are a community of older adults, caregivers, advocates, and more.
What brings us together is our commitment to ensuring that every older person has the opportunity to live his/her best life. We understand that aging impacts all of us, whether you are a grandparent raising a grandchild or an adult child acting as the primary caregiver to your aging parent. Successful aging matters to all of us—it’s why we do what we do.
Scroll through our profiles to learn why we are aging advocates.
Lauren Pongan (she/her)
Before coming to the DEC, Lauren worked to support and build a network of leaders of Asian American, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander community-based organizations by co-designing, developing, and facilitating signature federal advocacy and lobbying trainings. Her other past experience includes managing direct health, social, and domestic violence service programs for Asian American immigrants, refugees, and elders at SEAMAAC, Inc. Lauren also managed a coalition of multilingual Asian American Affordable Care Act navigator organizations to increase access to affordable health insurance for Asian Americans throughout the region. Lauren identifies as a multiracial, second generation Filipina American.
Didier Trinh (he/him)
Director Of Policy and Advocacy
As the second-generation son of immigrant parents from Vietnam, Didier has over two decades of policy and advocacy experience in Washington, D.C., having launched his career on Capitol Hill and building it in the nonprofit sector, including coalition management. His work spans both domestic and international issues, with a strong focus on advancing policies that promote community-led and equity-based approaches.
Nina Darby (she/her)
Prior to joining the DEC, Nina delivered trauma-informed and culturally responsive programming as a direct service provider and program manager in Boston. With 12 years of training experience, Nina has trained healthcare and social service providers, law enforcement, court personnel and city employees on how to best support and meaningfully collaborate with individuals who hold diverse identities. As someone who watched her mom step into a caregiving role for her grandmother, Nina holds a deep appreciation for both the rewards and challenges of family caregiving.
Ocean Le (he/him)
Programs and Communications Manager
As a first-generation student of two immigrant parents, Ocean has experienced the linguistic and cultural challenges that many diverse older adults face today. He hopes to combine his knowledge and experience to help change the public perception of aging.
Our DEC Team
Scroll through to learn more about DEC staff from our Member Organizations
Clayton Fong is on the Senior Executive and Board member in Business, Health, Aging and Government. Previously served as Deputy Assistant to the President in the White House, Deputy Appointment Secretary for the Governor of CA, CEO of NAPCA, Executive Vice President and Member of the Board of a NASDAQ listed international energy company.
Clayton has served on numerous boards including Commissioner of the White House Fellows program, Commissioner of the White House Conference on Aging, US Delegate to the World Assembly on Aging, Chair of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies, ITN America, CMS Advisory Panel on Medicare Education, AT&T Advisory panel on Aging and Disability, Washington State Alzheimer’s Association, Board of Visitors of University of Washington School of Nursing
UC Berkeley Bachelors in Health Science, Recipient of the President’s Fellowship Grant.
Public Policy Fellow UCSF Institute for Health Policy Studies
President & CEO, NCBA
Karyne Jones is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Caucus and Center on Black Aging, Inc. (NCBA) and the NCBA Housing Development Corporation based in Washington, D.C. NCBA is the oldest minority focused aging organization recognized as a leader in senior housing, employment, health, and advocacy on behalf of older adults of color.
A former educator, Texas Legislator, corporate executive and avid civil rights advocate, Karyne currently serves on the national boards of the directors for the Alzheimer’s Association, Center for Innovation and several aging and health advisory boards.
A native of San Antonio, Texas, Karyne is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University, Atlanta, Georgia with a BA in Political Science, a master’s degree in public Affairs from Northern Illinois University, Dekalb, Illinois and a second master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Karyne currently serves on the national boards of directors for Alzheimer’s Association, Center for Innovation, several aging, and health advisory boards.
Dr. Yanira Cruz
Dr. Yanira Cruz is the President and CEO of the National Hispanic Council on Aging (NHCOA). She focuses on providing the Latino perspective on public health, older adult and caregiver issues to increase policy-maker and public understanding of the needs impacting vulnerable sectors of our society and to encourage the adoption of programs and policies that equitably serve everyone. To further these efforts, Dr. Cruz serves as a Board member for Justice in Aging. She is also a founding member of the Diverse Elders Coalition. Recently, Dr. Cruz was named one of the top 50 Influencers in Aging by Next Avenue. Dr. Cruz received her Bachelor of Science in Biology and holds a Master’s degree in Public Health and a Doctorate in Public Health with a specialty in global health from The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services. Dr. Cruz is also the author of “To the Eyes of a Leader,” a book that narrates her own life story and that of other diverse women leaders, highlighting the challenges they have faced and how they have overcome them.
Larry Curley serves as the executive director of the National Indian Council on Aging and as a member of the Navajo Nation with over 40 years of experience working in the aging and healthcare fields. Collaborating with Congress, other branches of the federal government, and national organizations on aging, Larry develops support for programs affecting elder American Indians and Alaska Natives.
In Pima County, Arizona, Larry’s work as a gerontological planner was instrumental in establishing a county public fiduciary program. In Washington D.C., he worked as a lobbyist to successfully advocate for the passage of Title VI of the Older Americans Act, an amendment he authored.
Larry directed the Navajo Nation’s Head Start program, one of the five largest Head Start programs in the country. He has served as a nursing home administrator for a tribal, long-term care facility, as a hospital administrator in northern Nevada, and as a college instructor at the University of Nevada-Reno and Eastern Washington University.
Michael Adams is the Chief Executive Officer of SAGE (Advocacy and Services for LGBTQ+ Elders), the world’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBTQ+ older people. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBTQ+ older people and their caregivers. SAGE also advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBTQ+ elders, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBTQ+ community organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBTQ+ Aging, and cultural competency training through SAGECare. With staff located across the country, SAGE also coordinates a growing network of partners in the United States through SAGECollab.
Prior to joining SAGE, Adams was the Director of Education and Public Affairs for Lambda Legal. Prior to that, he spent a decade leading cutting edge litigation that established new rights for LGBTQ+ people, first as Associate Director of the ACLU’s Lesbian and Gay Rights Project, and then as Deputy Legal Director at Lambda Legal.
A graduate of Stanford Law School and Harvard College, Adams has authored numerous publications on an array of LGBTQ+ issues. He has taught law school courses on sexual orientation and gender identity and has served on advisory councils for AARP, the American Society on Aging, and the New York City Department for the Aging among others. He is also the former Chair of the American Society on Aging.
Quyen grew up learning the value of language, culture & family. Her parents sponsored her grandparents from Vietnam in the early 90s to be reunited after the Vietnam War. Quyen believes in a world where older adults are integral voices in their communities.
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