Who We Are

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.

  • LinkedIn - Grey Circle
Alison Ryan, MSN, RN, FNP-C

Board President

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

Alison Ryan Photo.jpg
  • LinkedIn - Grey Circle
Jake Johnston

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

Jake Johnston Photo.jpeg
  • LinkedIn - Grey Circle
Caroline Kasman

Board Treasurer

Caroline is a Population Health Analyst at Community Health Plan of Washington, where she is working to improve health services for Medicare and Medicaid patients in Washington state. She received a Bachelor of Science in Economics and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies with a Global Health Focus from the University of Washington. She focused her education on building a holistic understanding of noncommunicable and syndrome diseases through conducting original health economics research on noncommunicable diseases. With many friends and family members managing chronic diseases, Caroline is passionate about addressing not only clinical symptoms but also the economic, psychological, and social effects of chronic diseases for both her community and under-served groups on a global scale.

Joined September 2019

Caroline Kasman Photo B&W.jpg
  • LinkedIn - Grey Circle
Nichole Leibov

Board Secretary

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

IMG_20200830_154326.jpg
Adam Halpern, MSW, LICSW

Board Director

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

  • LinkedIn - Grey Circle
Laurel Newnham

Board Director

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.

Laurel Newnham Photo.jpg
  • LinkedIn - Grey Circle
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

  • LinkedIn - Grey Circle
In Memorium

Gwen Gordon Drayton

October 10, 1949 - October 7, 2019

Served as board director from January 2017 - September 2019