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
Mary 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.
Deputy Administrator, Center for Integrated Programs
Kelly has been with HHS since 2003, most of it in a variety of roles within the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT, which she helped establish as its first employee. She also has worked directly for the CMS and AHRQ administrators as a senior advisor, and as an executive director of an interagency council to coordinate health IT initiatives.
A great deal of her work has complemented the work we do to expand community living opportunities. She currently is finishing a detail with the Veterans Health Administration in their Office of Connected Care, where she has been working on a strategy to implement virtual health care options for veterans throughout the VHA.
Kelly has worked with ACL and CMS on person-centered planning and integration of LTSS into health care for older adults and people with disabilities. She has led several efforts to advance federal policies that fostered a connected health care system, including the integration of social services as a part of value-based care. She also has led multi-stakeholder collaboration to align private sector, state and federal efforts to advance IT-enabled health care. For the last several years, she also has served as a mentor for Health and Aging Policy Fellows, and she is a regular speaker at Health and Aging Leadership events.
Her experience prior to HHS includes 10 years in the pharmaceutical and medical technology industries and several years as a health services researcher. She earned a bachelor of science with a major in nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a master of science in health policy 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.
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.
Commissioner, Administration on Disabilities
Julie Hocker joined ACL as the Commissioner of the Administration on Disabilities on October 1, 2018. Hocker brings to the role extensive experience in operational process improvement, risk management, and effectiveness assessment.
Ms. Hocker joins ACL from the Charles Koch Foundation, where has served as a senior manager since 2016. In that role, she has 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 Master of Business Administration from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Chief of Staff
As Chief of Staff, Mr. Nicholls serves as a senior advisor to the Administrator, Principal Deputy Administrator and the agency on policy, program and operational actions, and also ensures the administration of ACL’s executive secretariat, congressional affairs and regulatory functions.
Prior to assuming 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. Since joining the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in 2005, he has also provided leadership on policy, program, management and strategic planning activities in other positions at ACL, the Administration for Children and Families (ACF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and the HHS Office of the Secretary. Prior to federal service, 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 from the University of Utah. He resides in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his wife and five children.
Director, Office of External Affairs
Christine Phillips' career includes all facets of communications in the corporate, government and higher education sectors. At ACL, she leads the agency's communications team, which is responsible for media relations and speechwriting, as well as development of Web, 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.
Ms. Phillips also is a commander in the Navy Reserve. She currently serves as the officer in charge of a public affairs unit based in Norfolk, Virginia. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Western Michigan University and an MBA from George Mason University.
Acting Deputy Administrator for Management and Budget
Mark previously served as deputy for ACL's Center for Management and Budget (CMB) since 2015. In that role, he has led several key efforts for CMB, including spearheading ACL’s enterprise risk inventory, developing our current standard operating procedures for complying with the Paperwork Reduction Act, and coordinating several organizational planning initiatives. His career includes more than four decades of experience in budget, program management and oversight, as well as organizational development, primarily with organizations that provide services and supports that empower people with disabilities to live independently. Immediately before joining ACL, Mark spent almost seven years at the Rehabilitation Services Administration within the Department of Education, first as the chief of the Service Programs Unit, where he oversaw the Assistive Technology Act along with other disability grant programs, and then as the Acting Chief of the Data Collection and Analysis Unit.
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.
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.
Director, National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research
Jim comes to ACL from Indianapolis, Indiana. Since 1990, he has led the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) as its CEO/Executive Vice President. ACSM’s mission is very similar to NIDILRR’s – it is a professional society that accelerates scientific discovery in sports medicine and the exercise sciences and translates it into a large portfolio of effective practice, education, and programs.
Jim also is the co-founder of the Inclusive Fitness Coalition (IFC) , which promotes equitable access to, and safe use of, fitness and recreational equipment, facilities, and programs, to help reduce debilitating secondary conditions associated with disability and a sedentary lifestyle. Today, the IFC includes more than 200 organizations and individuals representing a cross-section of the disability rights, sports, health/fitness and civil rights communities. In addition, the IFC’s Commit to Inclusion campaign and its Partnership for Inclusive Health have united organizations around the world in advancing the implementation of guidelines and programming to empower people with disabilities to lead healthy, active lifestyles.
Jim also has played a leadership role in a number of organizations, including the Datalys Center for Sports Injury Research and Prevention, the Joint Commission on Sports Medicine and Science, and several others. In addition, he has served as a consultant and advisor to more than 100 organizations in government, academia and the private sector, applying his expertise in systematic approaches to excellence innovation and replicable and sustainable best practices to support strategic planning.
Jim graduated from the University of Alabama in Birmingham with degrees in political science and history.
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.