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 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
Alison Ryan, MSN, RN, FNP-C
Board Vice 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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Gwen Gordon Drayton
October 10, 1949 - October 7, 2019
Served as board director from January 2017 - September 2019