Lance Robertson

Administrator and Assistant Secretary for Aging

Lance Robertson photo

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.


Mary Lazare

Principal Deputy Administrator

Photo of Mary LazareMary Lazare was sworn into office as the Principal Deputy Administrator for the Administration for Community Living (ACL) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on June 19, 2017. 

Ms. Lazare comes to ACL from St. Louis, Missouri, where she served from 2004 to 2006 as Vice President for Home and Community-Based Services for Lutheran Senior Services. As Vice-President, Ms. Lazare reorganized and developed a structure to streamline the operations of home health, hospice, and private duty services. She also reorganized older adult outreach social services such as SHIP, the Good Neighbor Program, and elder fraud prevention.

Prior to this role, Ms. Lazare served as Vice President of Senior Care Facilities and Community Health Ministries at Ascension Health, the nation’s largest health system. As Vice-President, Ms. Lazare provided community health center oversight; and advanced advocacy work with government relations officials.

Ms. Lazare also served as Vice-President of Senior Services and Home Care Services at BJC Health Care for 13 member hospital systems and 6 skilled nursing facilities. She developed one of the first housing with support services program at a retirement campus in St. Louis.

She also served as Executive Director for the Jewish Center for the Aged, for a 280 bed Medicare/Medicaid Skilled Nursing Facility. As Executive Director, she worked with the Ombudsman Program and enriched shared living for developmentally disabled older adults.

Ms. Lazare’s extensive senior health experience reaches into the community, where she served as Chair of both the Missouri Association of Homes for Aging and the American College of Health Care Administrators.  She is a 2000 graduate of Leadership St. Louis and was a member of the Leading Age House of Delegates.

Ms. Lazare received her undergraduate degree in therapeutic recreation and recreation therapy from the University of Missouri in Columbia.  She later received Master’s Degrees in Gerontology from Lindenwood University and in Business Administration and Management from Maryville University of Saint Louis.

Center Directors

Kelly Cronin

Deputy Administrator, Center for Innovation and Partnership

Photo of Kelly CroninAs Deputy Administrator of the Center for Innovation and Partnership (CIP), Kelly Cronin leads the administration of programs and initiatives that serve both older adults and people with disabilities, including consumer access and protection programs.  This includes overseeing the State Health Insurance Assistance Program, grants to improve Medicare beneficiaries’ access to low income subsidies, and the State No Wrong Door System program for access to long-term services and supports.  She also directs efforts to develop and integrate networks of state and community-based organizations to address social determinants of health and to advance the integration of medical and social care to improve health outcomes of older adults and people with disabilities. 

Ms. Cronin also has served in a variety of other roles at HHS, including with the FDA, CMS and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), where she coordinated health IT programs and policies associated with health care payment and delivery system reform.

Before joining HHS in 2001, Ms. Cronin was a health services researcher and coordinated clinical trials in pharmaceutical and medical technology industries.
She holds a master of public health with a concentration in epidemiology and biostatistics and a master of science in health policy from the School of Public Health and Health Services at George Washington University.

Vicki Gottlich

Director, Center for Policy and Evaluation

Vicki Gottlich picture

As the Director of the Center for Policy and Evaluation, Vicki Gottlich serves as the senior policy advisor to the ACL Administrator, Principal Deputy Administrator and the agency. She also 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. 

Ms. Gottlich also oversees the coordination of policy activities across ACL and the review of departmental policies and guidance related to health and human services.  Her center's policy development relates to the promotion of community living, including quality measurement of long-term services and supports, and implementation of policies related to person-centered planning.

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 is the author of numerous articles regarding Medicare, Medicaid, long-term services and supports, 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.

Kristi Hill, Ph.D.

Acting Director, National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research

Photo of Kristi HillAs the Acting Director of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), Dr. Kristi Hill is responsible for leading the accomplishment of its mission as the government’s primary disability research agency.

Dr. Hill orchestrates and provides oversight for NIDILRR’s Offices of Research Sciences, and Research Administration, providing for research, demonstration, training, technical assistance and related activities to maximize the full inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living, family support, and economic and social self-sufficiency of individuals with disabilities of all ages. She also serves as the Acting Chair of the Interagency Committee on Disability Research.

As a research administrator and program manager for nearly two decades, Dr. Hill has worked to drive policy change and increase community living options and opportunities for people for disabilities and other disadvantaged and underserved groups. She began her federal career in 2001, serving in a variety of programmatic roles at NIDILRR. In 2005, she moved to the U.S. Department of Education as the Director of Small Business Programs, where she developed the agency’s program to improve opportunities, competitiveness, and participation of small and disadvantaged businesses in grant and contract programs.

Since her return in 2012 to NIDILRR as the Deputy Director, Dr. HIll has helped to implement the Director’s strategic vision, and manages the Institute’s day to day operations. 
Dr. Hill earned a PhD in neuroscience from the Medical College of Virginia. Outside of NIDILRR, Dr. Hill is an advocate and mentor who embraces every opportunity to engage newly disabled veterans, and educate the public about the issues faced by people with disabilities. 

Julie Hocker

Commissioner, Administration on Disabilities and Director, Independent Living Administration

Photo of Julie HockerJulie Hocker joined ACL as the Commissioner of the Administration on Disabilities on October 1, 2018. As Commissioner, she advises the ACL Administrator on issues related to services and supports, civil rights and other matters affecting individuals with disabilities and their families and provides executive leadership and management strategies for programs authorized by the Developmental Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, the Help America Vote Act, the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, and the Public Health Service Act, to improve opportunities for people with disabilities to access quality services and supports, achieve economic self-sufficiency, and experience equality and inclusion in all facets of community life.

Prior to joining ACL in 2018, Ms. Hocker served as a senior manager at the Charles Koch Foundation, In that role, she led several key initiatives to improve the foundation’s operations, including development of an integrated technology and data solution for fundraising, grantmaking and expenditures; redesigning process to improve investment tracking and enable better analysis of effectiveness; and creation and implementation of risk-management processes. 

Previously, she served in a variety of roles with The Vanguard Group and as an analyst for the Administration for Children and Families. In addition, she has been a senior policy fellow for the Center for Human Dignity at the American Conservative Union Foundation since 2015. Ms. Hocker earned an undergraduate degree in economics and political science from St. Mary's College of Maryland and a Master of Business Administration from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Thomas Moran, Ph.D.

Deputy Administrator for Regional Operations and Partnership Development

Thomas Moran PhotoAs Deputy Administrator for Regional Operations and Partnership Development, Dr. Tom Moran leads ACL's team of ten regional administrators who serve as liaisons to state and local aging and disability stakeholders. He also works with and connects stakeholders to other HHS divisions and federal agencies to help advance the development of programs and activities serving older adults and people with disabilities, and develops new partnerships with public and private organizations.

Before joining HHS in July 2019, Dr. Moran worked for James Madison University (JMU). In addition to teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in JMU’s physical and health education teacher education program and serving as a university supervisor for the general physical education program, he was an active leader in a number of initiatives at JMU to advance inclusion, health and wellness, and physical activity for people with disabilities. He served as the founder and executive director of Empowerment3, an academic center at JMU created to provide a strong connection between education, research, and service for youth and adults with disabilities. Empowerment3 uses physical activity as the vehicle to break down barriers inhibiting their overall wellness and success in the community. He also helped lead the JMU School of Engineering’s bike project, which custom-creates bicycles to meet the needs of individuals with disabilities, who are involved throughout the design and building processes. 

Before joining JMU, Dr. Moran founded Just for Kicks, Inc., a non-profit organization that offers inclusive sports camps and clinics nationwide. He began his career as a physical education and adapted physical education teacher. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University of New York at Cortland and his Ph.D. in Adapted Physical Education from University of Virginia.

Rick Nicholls

Chief of Staff

Photo of Rick NichollsAs Chief of Staff, Mr. Nicholls serves as a senior advisor to the Administrator, Principal Deputy Administrator and the agency on policy, program and operational priorities, ensuring the agency’s efforts advance the missions of ACL and HHS.  He also provides executive leadership for ACL’s congressional affairs, executive secretariat, external affairs, performance and evaluation, policy, regulatory, and oversight functions.

Prior to his current position, Mr. Nicholls served as the Deputy Director of Policy within the Bureau of Health Workforce at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), where he oversaw the policy, congressional affairs, planning, budget formulation, grants, and executive secretariat activities of the organization.  He has also provided leadership in other positions within HHS on policy, program, management and strategic planning activities, including at the ACL, the Administration for Children and Families, the National Institutes of Health, and the HHS Office of the Secretary.

Before joining HHS in 2005, he was a policy maker, program manager, and case worker in the public and private sectors of health care and long-term services and supports.  He received a Masters of Public Administration and Health Services Management and Policy from the Syracuse University-Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs and Bachelors of Science in Psychology with an emphasis in gerontology from the University of Utah.

Christine Phillips

Director, Office of External Affairs

Photo of Christine PhillipsAs Director of External Affairs, Christine Phillips serves as the senior communications advisor to the Administrator and Principal Deputy Administrator and leads the agency's communications team, which is responsible for media relations and speechwriting, as well as development of Internet, social media, and printed communications in support of expanding opportunities for all people to live independently, in the community.

Prior to joining ACL in 2013, she held similar positions with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the Defense Media Activity (part of Department of Defense public affairs), and the Joint IED Defeat Organization.  Before moving to the D.C. area, she served as vice president of account services for an Internet marketing agency serving pharmaceutical clients. Earlier roles included media relations, crisis communications, speechwriting, and marketing communications in both corporate and non-profit settings.

Also a captain in the Navy Reserve, Ms. Phillips currently serves as the chief of staff for the reserve public affairs community, which includes some 500 public affairs officers and enlisted mass communications specialists. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Western Michigan University and an MBA from George Mason University. 

Edwin Walker

Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aging

Edwin Walker PictureAs the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Aging, Edwin L. Walker leads the Administration on Aging in 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.

Prior to joining HHS in 1992, 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. 

Rasheed Williams

Rasheed Williams headshotDeputy Administrator for Management and Budget

As the Deputy Administrator for Management and Budget, Rasheed Williams serves as the Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer for ACL and advises the Administrator on all matters related to resource management and internal administration.
Mr. Willams 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 joining HHS in 2007, Mr. Williams served in the Executive Office of the President, first as the deputy branch chief for White House Presidential Travel Services and later as director of financial operations for the White House Press Office. He  earned a Bachelor of Science in Aircraft Systems and Business Finance Management from Delaware State University. 

Last modified on 11/04/2020

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