The Illinois Council on Aging, an advisory body to the Illinois Department on Aging, was established by the General Assembly on August 9, 1973. The Illinois Act on Aging, the establishing resolution, became effective Nov. 9, 1973.
The Council is mandated to review and comment on reports by the Department to the Governor and to the General Assembly, and to review and comment upon the Department’s State Plan and on all disbursements of public funds by the Department to private agencies.
State law also directs the Council to submit to the General Assembly, the Governor and the Director of the Department on Aging annual reports that evaluate the level of all programs, services and facilities provided to the aging population by state agencies. Further, the Council is directed to consult with the Director regarding the operations of the Department, and to recommend to the Governor candidates for appointment as Director of the Department on Aging.
There are 31 voting members – 23 appointed by the Governor as citizen members, at least 16 of whom should be at least age 60. Members should represent all geographic sections of the state and both political parties. The remaining members are members of the General Assembly – two senators appointed by the President of the Senate, two appointed by the Senate Minority Leader, two appointed by the Speaker of the House and two appointed by the House Minority Leader.
Chair – Vacant
First Vice Chair - Phyllis Mitzen, Chicago, has devoted her 40+ year career to development and reform of long term care for older adults. She is a consultant and co-Program Director of the Center for Long-Term Care Reform at Health & Medicine Policy Research Group headquartered in Chicago, and coordinates the Older Adults Studies Concentration at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. Phyllis sits on the Executive Committee of the Older Adult Services Advisory Committee, and serves on the Illinois Long-Term Care Council.
Her civic engagement includes serving as the President of Skyline Village Chicago, Inc., a grass roots neighborhood organization that is part of the national Village Movement of more than 150 villages around the country. She is also on the board of Streeterville Organization of Active Residents, and is president of the board of Rembrandt Chamber Players. She serves on the Chicago/Shanghai Sister City Social Service Exchange program and co-led an interdisciplinary delegation to Shanghai. In 2015, she received the National Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Social Workers.
Ms. Mitzen received an A.M. degree from the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration.
- Second Vice Chair – J. Diane Adams-Alsberry, an Executive Manager with extensive experience including operations management, program and business development. Her expertise has been in Pediatric Physical Therapy but also includes working in Outpatients, Acute and Geriatric Rehabilitation. Diane is a lecturer and educator and is an active member of the American Physical Therapy Association and the American Academy of Physical Therapy.
Secretary – Steve Wolf, Belleville, has devoted his career to long-term care. He has been a long-term care administrator for 39 years and a management consultant to long-term care facilities for more than 30 years. Mr. Wolf is president and owner of Eldercare, Inc., a management company; and also president and owner of Columbia Convalescent Center, Inc., in Columbia, Illinois.
Steve Wolf has served as lecturer on long-term care management issues for the Illinois Health Care Association, American College of Health Care Administrators, County Nursing Home Association, SIU-Edwardsville, SIU-Carbondale, St. Louis University School of Nursing, The Illinois CPA Foundation, and others.
Mr. Wolf earned a B.S. from Boston University and has kept on top of issues with over 1,600 hours of continuing education in long-term care. A Fellow in the American College of Health Care Administrators, he served a treasurer for the Illinois Chapter of that group. Mr. Wolf is past president of the Illinois Health Care Association and a member of the American Health Care Association’s Payment for Services Committee.
Steve Wolf currently serves on boards and advisory councils for the Area Agency on Aging of Southwestern Illinois, the United Way, St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, and the Southwestern Illinois College Programs and Services for Older Persons. He is Chair of Friends of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.
Assistant Secretary – Betty Martz, O'Fallon, is personnel and benefits manager for Saint Clair County. In this capacity, she is familiar with public and private health benefits, workers’ compensation and liability. She is also responsible for the administration and maintenance of a Loss Control Program for the County.
Mrs. Martz has a long history of civic engagement, including membership on the Resident advisory council, Specialized Living Center Group Home, St. Ann’s Society of Our Lady of the Assumption Parish, Knights of Columbus Auxiliary, Ladies Auxiliary, Ancient Order of Hibernians, St. Clair County Democratic Womans Club and the St. Clair Senior ad hoc Committee.
- Jane Angelis, a retired educator who holds a Ph.D. in Organizational Communications from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Her research includes studies on civic engagement and leadership in retirement, organizational development for intergenerational programs, and coalition development across generations. She currently directs Generations Serving Generations, a public private partnership in cooperation with the National Governors Association and sponsored by both the Illinois Department on Aging and Serve Illinois Commission.
- Charles A. Crowder, Flora, returned to his home town after a long career in engineering management. The Mayor of Flora, Mr. Crowder is engaged in civic affairs and an active supporter of the senior citizens building there. He supported the passage of an ordinance that gives seniors with limited income relief from late-payment penalty charges imposed by local utilities.
Mr. Crowder has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Midland Area Agency on Aging. He attended the 2005 White House Council on Aging and was a delegate to the National Silver Haired Congress.
Anthany Frazier, Chicago, has been a member since 2000. He works for the Social Security Administration, where he serves on its public broadcast team. Previously, Mr. Frazier worked as professional staff in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives. He has also served as a management consultant to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Headquarters in Washington, D.C. He is the co-author of the report "The Changing Economic Standing of Minorities in the Chicago Metropolitan Area," a report written with the Chicago Urban League, Latino Institute and Northern Illinois University.
Mr. Frazier is founder of AVEF Volunteer Management Consultants and Trainers, a group that sponsors free intergenerational musical forums, and mental-health wellness workshops around the globe. He has also volunteered for three Illinois Governors, four Chicago Mayors, the Chicago Community Development Advisory Committee, the Chicago Housing Authority, the Chicago Public Schools and the U.S. Postal Service. He served as a participant at a University of Oxford Health & Homelessness Conference in England.
Awards include: "Marquis Who’s Who In The World," "Marquis Who’s Who In America," "Outstanding Young Men of America," and the "Small Business Advocacy Award" from Grant Thornton, LLP. He is a member of the Academy of Country Music, American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers, Latin Recording Academy and the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Mr. Frazier is a candidate for a Doctorate in Health Administration at the University of Phoenix School of Advanced Studies Online. He earned his B.A. from Chicago State University and M.A. from Governor’s State, both degrees in behavioral sciences. Mr. Frazier has received professional certificates from the Congressional Research Service Library of Congress, Dartmouth College, DePaul University, Harold Washington College, John Marshall Law School, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Illinois. He completed a clinical internship at the University of Illinois.
Ram Gajjela, Chicago, is the founder and President of Chicago Home Healthcare, which provides in-home skilled nursing care, medication administration and assistance with personal care needs to the residents of Cook, DuPage, Will and Lake counties.
Mr. Gajjela has extensive experience in the medical and biotech fields at the executive management level and has been involved in various philanthropic organizations and continually strives to contribute to the progress of the community.
Honors and achievements include: Vice President of Federation of Indian Association (FIA) in Chicago for 12 years; Asian-American Hall of Fame Award; Certificate of Outstanding Service in the Filipino Senior Community; Certificate of Appreciation by the City of Chicago Mayor’s Office; Certificate of Appreciation by the Secretary of State’s Office; and Community Service Excellence Award by FIA.
Rev. Dr. Melvin L. Grimes, Moline, has pastored the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Moline for the past 25 years, as well as worked 10 years at the Rock Island Housing Authority as Resident Services Coordinator and hearing officer. While at Rock Island housing, Grimes was instrumental in organizing and training both Resident Counsel members and Resident Advisory Board members. He was also instrumental in the demolition and relocation of residents from the Valley Homes low income apartments. This project entailed integrating 105 families into the Rock Island community with relocation vouchers.
Dr. Grimes serves as the chairman of the Board of Commissioners for the Moline Housing Authority, a member of the Illinois State NAHRO board of directors, a member of the Illinois Commission on Aging, and several other community organizations. He is a graduate of Rock Island High School, Rock Island Illinois, Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo Michigan and Grace Valley Theological Seminary, Edinburg Texas, where he earned a Masters of Divinity and Doctorate of Ministry degrees.
- Paulette M. Hamlin, DuQuoin, is Executive Director of the Western Egyptian Economic Opportunity Council, Inc. in Steeleville. The Agency serves four counties with a staff of 130 in 20 sites. In this position, she is responsible for all aspects of operation of the Community Action Agency including Senior Services, RSVP, LIHEAP, Head Start, Housing, Weatherization, and Emergency Services through the Community Services Block Grant.
Her civic engagement includes membership in the Perry County Federal Emergency Management Board of Directors and the Perry, Randolph and Monroe County Interagency Councils. She also is a Girl Scout Leader and a Board Member for the DuQuoin Swim Club. Ms. Hamlin participated in a Rotary Club Group Study Exchange Program to India in 1993.
- Margaret Hellie Huyck, Ph.D., Chicago, is currently a Professor in the Institute of Psychology at Illinois Institute of Technology; she joined the faculty in 1969. She has been working as a scholar and practitioner in gerontology for almost half a century. Her academic preparation to understand lifespan development began at Vassar College, with studies focused on sociology, anthropology, and education. During her graduate work in the Committee on Human Development at the University of Chicago she specialized in Adult Development and Aging, with work also in the sociology of education.
After joining the faculty at IIT, her major research project, funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health, focused on family relationships among young adult children and middle-aged and aging parents. She has published two books and many research articles on adult development and aging, and she is a Fellow of the Gerontological Society of America. She refined her policy sensitivities as a Senior Policy Fellow at the National Institutes of Health, serving in the Office of Behavioral & Social Sciences.
Dr. Huyck has applied her understanding of adult development in context to the evaluation of a variety of programs designed to facilitate the development and functioning of adults, older and younger. Among her projects: an evaluation of the Geriatric Residency Rotation at Evanston Hospital and the North Shore Senior Center; an evaluation of a senior peer-counseling program at North Shore Senior Center; consultant for the Successful Aging in a Caring Community project in Blue Island; evaluation specialist for the Active Senior Program at the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club in Chicago; director and evaluator of the "Changing for Good" program designed for midlife and older women and evaluation specialist for the InterProfessional Project Program at Illinois Institute of Technology.
As an activist, Dr. Huyck has been most involved with the Older Women's League (OWL). This national organization was founded in 1980 to provide education and advocacy on issues of special concern to midlife and older women. Dr. Huyck serves as the Great Lakes District representative on the OWL National Board of Directors. Previously, she has edited the OWL Illinois Newsletter and led the OWL Illinois organization for several years. In addition, she is the Chair of the Senior Advisory Council of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Club.
- Talat Khan, Ph.D. is the founder and president of the American Association of Retired Asians (AARA). The non-profit organization is dedicated to addressing the logistical, cultural, linguistic and advocacy needs of the aging South Asian-American community. Previously, Dr. Khan served as a Research Scientist at Hines VA Hospital and held a faculty appointment in the Department of Neurology and the Departments of Cell Biology, Neurobiology & Anatomy at Loyola University Medical Center. Dr. Khan's area of research focused on spinal cord injury and repair.
Mubarak A. Mirjat, DPT, is President and CEO of MAXIMUM Rehabilitation Services, Ltd. He is a 1983 graduate of the Karachi University at Pakistan. He began his practice in the United States in 1991 and in 1995 founded Maximum Rehabilitation Services. Dr. Mirjat is specialized in the areas of Industrial Rehabilitation, Sports Injury Rehabilitation, Orthopedic Condition Management, Management of Neck and Lower Back Pain, Stroke Rehabilitation and Incontinence Management. Dr. Mirjat is credentialed by the McKenzie Institute in the McKenzie Approach to Mechanical Spine Pain. Dr. Mirjat is fluent in the English, Hindi, Urdu and Sindhi languages. He has management specialization and has completed his doctorate in Physical Therapy.
- Lee Moriarty, is Director of Consultation Service at Quality Therapy & Consultation, Inc. She also serves as the Consumer Project Manager at the Illinois Pioneer Coalition, which is a group created to help long-term care facilities feel more like a home to their residents. Coalition members ascribe to a holistic view of care in which the resident, rather than the medical treatment, is the primary focus.
- Robert J. O'Connor, Aurora, is an attorney who specializes in elder law. Mr. O’Connor, former chair of the Illinois Council on Aging, has served as an alderman in Aurora, and as a member and past chairman of the Board for Northeastern Illinois Area Agency on Aging. He also is a member of the board for the Aurora Police Foundation, the Visiting Nurses Association and the Community Foundation of the Fox River Valley. Mr. O’Connor is a member of the Exchange Club of Aurora and of the Kane County Bar Association.
- Anna M. Oestreich, Greenville, is executive director of the Bond County Senior Citizens Center, Inc., in Greenville. In this position she has worked to support all aspects of the older person’s world, including volunteer opportunities, public transit, assistance with health insurance, income tax and finances, housing, diet and fitness, recreation and education.
Ms. Oestreich is past president of the Association of Illinois Senior Centers and a board member of the Bond County Health Department. She is a governing board member of the Illinois Public Transit Association.
She has won the Greenville College Presidential Award, the Greenville Jaycees Distinguished Service Award and the Greenville Chamber of Commerce Gerald Turley Award. She was named Southern Illinois Valedictorian by the Senior Health Insurance Program, and the Illinois Senior Health Insurance Program Coordinator of the Year by the Illinois Department of Insurance. She was named delegate to the 1990 White House Conference on Aging.
Ms. Oestreich graduated from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania, and received a Certificate of Professional Development in Gerontology from the University of Illinois.
- Dana Rosenzweig, Belleville, has been with the St. Clair County Mental Health Board since 1987. He has served as the Executive Director since 1999.
Mr. Rosenzweig holds a Master's Degree in Social Work from St. Louis University. He has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from McKendree University and has completed post graduate work at St. Louis University in Health Care Management.
Dana Rosenzweig is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. He is also a founding board member of the St. Clair County Children's Advocacy Center and serves on the Board of the Children First Foundation in Belleville. Mr. Rosenzweig is also a member and past president of the Association of Community Mental Health Authorities of Illinois.
Eugene Verdu, Belleville, comes to this leadership position after over 35 years in the field of aging. One of the pioneers in the aging network, Mr. Verdu advocated for the establishment of the Older Americans Act and, later, the Illinois Department on Aging. He has been appointed as delegate to every White House Conference on Aging, the once-a-decade national meeting sponsored by the Executive Office of the President of the United States that makes policy recommendations to the President and Congress regarding the aged. Mr. Verdu has served as a consultant to the national offices of AARP and the National Council on Aging, and has served on a wide variety of state, county and local boards and committees concerned with aging and the aged. He has also served as chairman of the St. Clair County Housing Authority and as a Board member of Southwestern Illinois College.
Outside of aging, Mr. Verdu is concerned with the welfare of children. For almost four decades, he has worked to bring over 200 children from Belize, a country in Central America, to St. Louis for medical care. In recognition of his service, Belize has awarded him citizenship. Mr. Verdu, who holds two citizenships, U.S. and Belize, serves as a diplomat representing the government of Belize in Illinois and Missouri as the Consul
Bernarda Wong Chicago, is founder and president of the Chinese American Service League, the largest and most comprehensive non-profit social service agency in the Midwest. Since its inception in 1978, the agency has been serving the needs of Chinese Americans of all ages – more than 18,000 clients annually.
She chaired the Chicago Mayor’s Advisory Council on Asian Affairs under Mayors Harold Washington and Richard M. Daley; and was the first Asian appointed to the Boards of United Way of Chicago and the Chicago Public Library. Since then, she has served on many boards and commissions, and was a delegate to the White House Conference on Aging in 1995, and again in 2005.
Currently, she serves as a Commissioner at the Chicago Commission on Human Relations, and a member of the Chicago 2016 Committee, the Chicago Network, Jones College Prep High School Business Coalition Council, Chicago’s Sister Cities China Committee, The Executive Club, Washburne Culinary Institute Advisory Board, Coalition for a Better Chinese American Community, Nordstrom Scholarship Committee, and the Chinese Immigrant Service Agencies Network International, which she founded.
Bernarda Wong has received numerous awards, including the Community Organizer Trailblazer Award from Rainbow/Push Coalition, the United Way of Chicago’s Executive of the Year Award, Distinguished Alumni Award from Briar Cliff College, Annual Tribute to Chicago Women Award from the Midwest Women’s Center, the Community Leadership Award from Apna Ghar, the Community Service Award from Cambodian Association of Illinois, the American Heritage Award from the American Immigration Law Foundation, the Hall of Fame in Community Leadership from the Asian American Hall of Fame, and the Luminary Senior Award from Chicago Department on Aging. She has been named by Crain’s Chicago Business Magazine as one of the "100 Most Influential Women of Chicago;" by Today’s Chicago Woman as one of "100 Women Making a Difference," and by the Chicago Sun-Times as one of the "100 Most Influential Women of Chicago." She received the Distinguished Community Leader award from Mayor Delay at the Mayor Daley’s Spring Assembly, 2005. In 2006 she was awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award by Washington University, St. Louis.
SENATE: (2 vacancies)
Mattie Hunter (District 3), Chicago, A native Chicagoan, State Senator Mattie Hunter has served in the Illinois General Assembly since 2003. Hunter serves as a majority caucus whip and is currently chairperson of the Senate Human Services committee and vice chairperson of the Public Health Committee. She also serves on the National Conference of Sate Legislatures Health Committee and is co-chair of the Council of State Government Health Policy Task Force.
Hunter attended Monmouth College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in government. She also earned a master’s degree in sociology from Jackson State University in Mississippi. She additionally holds a Doctor of Humane Letters from Monmouth College during the 2008 Spring Commencement where she was the keynote speaker. Hunter is a licensed alcohol and drug counselor and prevention specialist in Illinois and Indiana.
Sam McCann (District 50), Carlinville, was born November 4, 1969, in West Hamlin, West Virginia. He graduated from Harts High School in Harts, West Virginia, and attended Lewis & Clark Community College and Blackburn College. He is the owner and president of McCann Construction in Carlinville. Sam and his wife, Vicki, have a son, Trayton, and a daughter, Katherine. Senator McCann has served as 49th District Senator since January 2011.