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Staff and Board of Directors

Allison Fine, MSW, LICSW

Executive Director & Founder

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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.

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Alison Ryan, MSN, RN, FNP-C

Board President

Alison is a nurse practitioner practicing in the field of cancer screening and genomics. She began her nursing career in primary care where she worked with numerous individuals living with chronic illnesses.


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 patients 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 exceptional organization.

Joined January 2019

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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

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Caroline Kasman

Board Treasurer

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

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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

Geera James

Board Director

Geera is the founder of Rêverie Reiki, a Shamanic Energy Healing and Kundalini Reiki practice that aims to serve others in their quest for balance and healing to the mind, body, and spirit, using traditions that honor ancient and indigenous wisdom from around the world. She comes with a lived experience of both enduring and recovering from chronic illness and is passionate about using energy work alongside other modalities to bring healing to all aspects of wellbeing.


Geera brings with her close to a decade of experience in cloud marketing, finance, and program management at Microsoft and received her undergraduate education from the University of Texas at Austin. With three generations of her family moving continents in their teens, she aims to use her unique life experiences and cultural wisdom to celebrate diversity and inclusion and advocate for equitable, community-based care.

Joined January 2023

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Emily Woitas

Board Director


Emily works as a data analyst on the economics & analytics team at Comparion Insurance Agency, a community-based property & casualty insurance company. She received her BSBA in Data Analytics from Drake University in Des Moines, IA and now lives in the heart of Seattle with her cat, Cosmo. 

Emily brings personal experience from her own chronic illness journey, as well as perspective from her history in various childcare roles. With her passion for community and universal accessibility in mind, Emily is motivated by CCI’s mission and is honored to be serving this essential organization. 


Joined January 2023

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Karan Dawson, RPh, MS, PhD

Emeritus Board Member

Karan 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

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Interested in joining our CCI board? Learn more about our board member opportunity here! Contact Allison Fine with any questions or if interested at

In Memorium

Gwen Gordon Drayton

October 10, 1949 - October 7, 2019

Served as board director from January 2017 - September 2019

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