Staff and Board of Directors
Allison Fine, MSW, LICSW
Executive Director & Founder
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 has a Master of Social Work degree from the University of Kansas, and she has been a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in Washington State since 2012.
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
Board Vice President
Jake is the co-founder of ConnecT1D, a nonprofit organization serving the emotional and social support needs of people impacted by Type 1 Diabetes. Jake served as the volunteer Executive Director and helped grow ConnecT1D from a volunteer run organization to a professionally managed and financially sustainable nonprofit. Jake is active in community organizations with an emphasis on social justice, health access and gender equity. Jake is the President of the Johnston Group, a public affairs consulting firm serving public hospitals and local governments.
Jake has been inspired by CCI’s mission and is eager to bring his background in nonprofit growth and advocacy to CCI. His background with families impacted by chronic illness – as well as his personal experience living with chronic illness – gives him a deep appreciation for the work done by CCI and the firsthand experience in the role that community support plays in the emotional health of living with chronic illness.
Joined January 2021
Caroline is a Population Health Data Analyst at Community Health Plan of Washington, where she works to improve health outcomes for Medicaid patients in Washington state. She studied global health and health economics at the University of Washington and has a background in biomedical and population health research on chronic diseases. With many friends and family members managing chronic diseases, Caroline is dedicated to addressing systemic social and economic barriers to equitable care.
Joined September 2019
After years as an attendee of the Parenting Chronic Illness support group, Nichole jumped at the opportunity to become a board member for the Center for Chronic Illness. Her life, careers, and parenting story have been defined by her daughter’s health issues, and the support she found through CCI was unendingly important to her family. As a board member, she hopes to do what it takes to help other families navigate the complicated life as a parent to a sick kid. Nichole is a Registered Nurse and Licensed Massage Therapist, finding purpose and joy as a caregiver. She has her Bachelor of Arts degree in Nursing from Carroll College in Montana (2003), and an extended professional massage diploma from a bodywork school in Seattle (2013). When not being a helper, she runs, she swims in Puget Sound, she cooks, and she eats.
Joined May 2020
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
Laurel Newnham is an arts writer, community advocate, and artist who has worked in the arts on both sides of Washington since 2006. She is passionate about expanding health equity for women, LGBTQ, and refugee communities, through dialogue and social support.
She received her Bachelor of Arts in Art History from EWU and a Master of Arts in Critical and Cultural Theory from Cardiff University. She brings a lived experience of chronic pain and is excited to join the Centre for Chronic Illness in their work supporting patients and families of those with chronic conditions.
Karan Dawson, RPh, MS, PhD
Emeritus Board Member
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
October 10, 1949 - October 7, 2019
Served as board director from January 2017 - September 2019