We are the Diverse Elders Coalition, and we represent the growing majority of older people in this country.

Who We Are

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 people.

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.

Coalition Members

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.

Headquartered in Washington, DC, NHCOA has been a strong voice dedicated to promoting, educating, and advocating for research, policy, and practice in the areas of economic security, health, and housing for Hispanic older adults, families, and caregivers for the last 50 years.
National Indian Council on Aging (NICOA)
NICOA was founded in 1976 by members of the National Tribal Chairmen’s Association that called for a national organization to advocate for improved, comprehensive health and social services to American Indian and Alaska Native Elders.

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
SAGE is the country’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older adults. Founded in 1978 and headquartered in New York City, SAGE is a national organization that offers supportive services and consumer resources to LGBT older adults and their caregivers, advocates for public policy changes that address the needs of LGBT older people, provides education and technical assistance for aging providers and LGBT organizations through its National Resource Center on LGBT Aging, and cultural competence training through SAGECare. Headquartered in New York City, with staff across the country, SAGE also coordinates a growing network of affiliates in the United States. After conducting a series of interviews with constituents, board members, partner organizations, and other stakeholders, the organization changed its name in 2017 to only be referred to as SAGE. The organization also adopted a new motto that brings forward the voices of LGBT older people everywhere: “We refuse to be invisible.”

Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC)
SEARAC is a national organization that advances the interests of Cambodian, Laotian and Vietnamese Americans by empowering communities through advocacy, leadership development and capacity building to create a socially just and equitable society.

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.

Our Team

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)

National Director

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. 

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.

DEC Executive Team

Scroll through to learn more about DEC staff from our Member Organizations

Clayton Fong

Interim President & CEO, NAPCA


Clayton Fong

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

Karyne Jones

President & CEO, NCBA




Karyne Jones

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, MPH, DrPH

President & CEO, NHCOA


National Hispanic Council on Aging

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.

Billie Tohee

Executive Director, NICOA


National Indian Council on Aging, Inc.

Billie Tohee

Billie Tohee, hailing from the Otoe-Missouria Tribe of Indians in Oklahoma and the Iowa Tribe of Oklahoma, brings a wealth of experience and dedication to her new role. First becoming a board member of NICOA at the 2018 Pechanga Conference, she quickly rose to prominence, being elected as the Chair of NICOA after two years of dedicated service, notably at the 2021 Reno conference. Notably within a couple of months of becoming a board member, Billie was promoted to board secretary, showcasing her dedication and passion.


In her recent endeavors, Billie has been actively engaged in assisting tribal members and elders, lending her support to address their concerns and grievances. Her advocacy extends beyond the reservation boundaries, ensuring that every member of the community feels welcomed and represented. Billie’s outreach to local officials underscores her passion for promoting cultural competency and fostering understanding in tribal interactions.


One of Billie’s primary objectives is to foster national collaborations among tribes, creating a network where resources can be shared and utilized effectively. Her vision for unity and cooperation aligns perfectly with our organization’s goals, and we are confident that under her leadership, NICOA will achieve new heights of success.


Billie’s commitment doesn’t stop there. She aims to reach out to as many Native elders as possible, conveying the positive values that NICOA stands for. Beginning with the state of New Mexico, she plans to extend her efforts to tribes across the nation. Furthermore, she is dedicated to soliciting additional funds to continue our endeavors of serving Native elders.


In her role, Billie is committed to working hand-in-hand with today’s Board Members, ensuring they are kept updated and actively participating in the organization. She prioritizes transparency between the Board and NICOA, fostering a culture of openness and collaboration.

Michael Adams

Chief Executive Officer, SAGE


SAGE Advocacy & Services for LGBT Elders

Michael Adams

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 Dinh

Executive Director, SEARAC


Southeast Asia Resource Action Center

Quyen Dinh

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.

Our Member Organizations

National Asian Pacific Center on Aging

National Caucus and Center on Black Aging

National Hispanic Council on Aging

National Indian Council on Aging, Inc.

SAGE Advocacy & Services for LGBT Elders

Southeast Asia Resource Action Center

Diverse Elders Coalition Style Guide

The guide includes information on writing style, grammar, punctuation, spelling, formatting, branding, and other related aspects

Here is a link to the PDF Version: DEC Style Guide