Who We Are
Allison Fine, MSW, LICSW
Founder & Executive Director
Allison's lifelong passion to support those living with chronic illness prompted her to start an organization focused on this cause, following more than a decade of social work and counseling.
In her private counseling practice, speaking engagements, and educational writing, Allison focuses her work on a variety of chronic illness populations. Allison also serves as a non-voting member of the board in the role of Secretary.
Allison has a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Kansas, and she is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in Washington State.
Adam Halpern, MSW, LICSW
Adam Halpern is the Director of Aging in Place at Jewish Family Service (JFS). A licensed independent clinical social worker and Geriatric Mental Health Specialist, he has worked at JFS in various capacities since 2006.
He has a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Southern California and a Master's in Jewish Communal Service from Hebrew Union College. He is a fourth generation Washingtonian.
Joined March 2016
Dwaine Fombuh, PharmD
Board Vice President
Dwaine Fombuh received his Doctor of Pharmacy at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. He completed his pharmacy practice residency at the UW Medicine and is currently working on his Master in Health Administration from the University of Washington. He currently practices as a clinical pharmacist in the greater Seattle area.
He views communication as the key to navigating social stigmas attached to those who have chronic illnesses and understands the importance of developing safe environments to aid in sharing experiences and building relationships.
Joined January 2017
Karan Dawson, RPh, MS, PhD
Karan Dawson received her B.S. and M.S. in pharmacy and a Ph.D. in Speech Communication from the University of Washington. She completed a residency in hospital pharmacy at the Seattle Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC). Before joining the faculty at the UW as Director of Continuing Pharmacy Education, Karan worked at Valley Medical Center and the Seattle VAMC, where she developed interests in psychiatric medicine and substance abuse. She has taught in a variety of courses ranging from social and behavioral sciences to therapeutics and education, and helped institute the School of Pharmacy Plein Geriatric Certificate Program in Pharmacy. In addition to teaching, she currently consults at a local continuous care retirement communities providing clinical services to independent, assisted living, and nursing home residents, as well as professional staff. She volunteers with medical and nursing faculty in UConj 531: Mind Body Medicine.
Joined March 2016
Gwen Gordon-Drayton is a Licensed Massage Therapist and has been in practice for 22 years. Her practice centers on seniors in a retirement community in the Wallingford area. She provides her clients with instructions for self-care, including the usage of hydrotherapy and stretching for specific chronic conditions, as well as an environment for clients to relax so that healing and restoration of health can take place.
Gwen also worked as a Human Resources Consultant, and retired after 30 years from Qwest Communications (previously known as U S WEST and Pacific Northwest Bell). During this time, Gwen acquired skills in the areas of: communicating and listening effectively, coaching Senior executives on policies and procedures as well as team dynamics.
Gwen was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease in April, 2014 and is grateful to be a part of the Center for Chronic Illness. Read about Gwen's Adventure here.
Joined January 2017
Shane Larson, CFP®
Shane is an Associate Financial Planner at Mainspring Wealth Advisors, LLC, helping families and individuals plan for all of life’s unexpected obstacles. He received his B.A. in Business Administration from Washington State University, completed is Financial Planner Certificate at the University of California Los Angeles and passed the CFP Board exam in 2015, making him a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™.
During the months leading up to Shane taking his CFP® exam, he and his family experienced difficult times with the declining health of a loved one. Between work, studying and long visits at a hospital bedside, he also helped keep the finances together, so care would not be interrupted. Shortly after he passed the test, he began to realize that others experience the same difficulties while trying to deal with money and focusing his career in finance on helping families and individuals live with and plan with chronic illness.
Joined June 2018
Ansley is an MSW student at the University of New England. After interning with CCI, she developed a passion for the chronic illness community and is a fervent believer in CCI’s model of support. Having facilitated a CCI support group for homeless women with chronic health challenges, she has decided to continue working with the homeless population in her advanced practicum at the Department of Veteran Affairs. An Army brat herself, she is thrilled to be finally rooted here in the Pacific Northwest as she continues her social work journey.
She received her Bachelor of Science in Special Education (Severe Disabilities) from Boston University. Ansley’s background as a special educator and special needs coordinator has given her a unique lens into the challenges individuals and their loved ones face when abilities are compromised, stigmatized, and judged. She is an advocate for people of all abilities and believes that CCI instills hope through the power of connection. Ansley is very thankful to continue to be a part of CCI and the CCI community.
Joined September 2018
Alison Ryan, MSN, RN, FNP-C
Alison is a nurse practitioner practicing in the primary care setting in the greater Seattle area. She received her Bachelor of Nursing Science degree from Duke University and Master of Science in Nursing from Vanderbilt University. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Claremont McKenna College.
Alison has had numerous clients and family members whose lives have been touched by chronic conditions. As such, Alison believes strongly in the mission of CCI and is honored to be part of this growing organization.
Joined January 2019
Laxmi Deepa Yerram, MD
Deepa is a family physician practicing in the Seattle area. Despite attending medical school to become a doctor to heal patients, in reality, Deepa has spent much of her time caring for patients for whom no cure is possible. She believes that the reality of medical practice nowadays can lead to poorly served and uninformed patients. She believes that patients with chronic illnesses deserve a reliable source of education, peer support, and compassion that CCI provides.
After getting her medical degree from India, Deepa completed her family and community medicine residency from the University of New Mexico. She is working on her Master of Health Administration from the University of Washington. She is the Practice Lead for Zoom+Care retail medicine group in Seattle.
Joined September 2019