Five new members join the council

The WDC is delighted to announce that five new individuals have been appointed to join the council. At the annual council meeting earlier last month, it was agreed that new members would be Paola Barbarino of ADI, Maryna Lehmann who is living with dementia, Huali Wang of Peking University, Shekar Saxena of Harvard University and Philip Scheltens of the University Medical Center Amsterdam.

Upon leaving the council, we would like to thank Kiki Edwards, Raj Long, Ron Petersen, DY Suharya and Kate Swaffer for their dedicated service. A thank you dinner for these retiring members was held the evening before the annual council meeting in July, as the council paid tribute to their efforts and invaluable contribution over the years. Members are appointed to the council for a fixed term of service.

New members continue the tradition of being chosen for their unique insights, truly global experience, and unrivalled expertise. We welcome new members and look forward to working with them to drive the WDC's international leadership on dementia.


  • Paola Barbarino is the CEO of Alzheimer’s Disease International based in London, UK. Prior to that, she was CEO of LIFE. Her previous senior positions include Cass Business School, Tate, British Library and IIED. She is a Trustee of The Postal Museum and Lauderdale House. Previously she was a Trustee of Shelter, the UK housing and homelessness charity and of MLA London. She is also the Managing Director of Opaline Limited, a consultancy company specializing in strategy and governance.
  • Maryna Lehmann was diagnosed with dementia in February 2018 at the age of 58, and lives in George, South Africa. In January 1982 she was employed as a farm manager of 300 sow piggery, 400 extensive cattle, 3000 head in feedlot. In the next 18 years she reared 4 sons and taught in numerous agriculture schools. On 1 January 2000 she joined Nelson Mandela University, as the Animal Science lecturer and completed a Masters Degree in Animal Science. She received numerous accolades such as upcoming researcher and upcoming teacher in 2006 and also received the "overall" teacher of the year award in 2007. Her husband, André, retired in February 2019 to take care of her.
  • Dr Huali Wang is Professor and Chair for Clinical Research, Director of the Dementia Care & Research Center, and Associate Director of Beijing Dementia Key Lab, Peking University Institute of Mental Health in Beijing, China. She established the first dementia caregiver support group in China in 2000. Now she directs a training program for community doctors and service providers, and a train-the-trainer program for dementia caregivers support in China. She published five books on dementia care, including Smart Caregivers, China Memory Clinic Guideline and Practice Manual on Psychological Support for Older Adults. The care model has been partly adopted by WHO West Pacific Regional Office to develop the toolkit for community-based dementia care in low- and middle-income countries. Dr Wang is leading the National Platform on Clinical Dataset and Biobank of Major Mental Disorders. In regard to biomarker research of Alzheimer's Disease, she found that ApoE4 allele potentially modulates the hippocampal connectivity and the brain functional connectome. Huali also serves leading position in national and international mental health research and service advocacy, including Secretary of International Psychogeriatric Association, Vice President of Chinese Society of Geriatric Psychiatry (founding member), Executive Vice President of Alzheimer's Disease Chinese (member of ADI), and WHO Global Dementia Observatory Focal Point for China. 
  • Dr Shekar Saxena is Professor of the Practice of Global Mental Health at Harvard T H Chan School of Public Health in Massachusetts, US. He is a psychiatrist by training and has worked previously at World Health Organization for 20 years including as the Director of the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, Geneva from 2010 to 2018. His expertise includes providing advice and technical assistance to policy makers on prevention and management of mental, developmental, neurological and substance use disorders and suicide prevention. He led the WHO team for adoption of the first ever Mental Health Action Plan by the World Health Assembly in 2013. He also led the adoption of WHO Action Plan on Public Health Response to Dementia and its implementation.
  • Dr Philip Scheltens is Professor of Cognitive Neurology and Director of the Alzheimer Center at Amsterdam University Medical Centers in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. He studied at the VU University Amsterdam, Netherlands, gaining his MD in 1984, and PhD (Magnetic Resonance Imaging in Alzheimer's disease) in 1993. His main clinical and research interests are Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, magnetic resonance imaging, PET imaging and fluid biomarkers. He is active in the field of biomarkers and clinical trials and has been the national PI for many studies, including phase 1-3 multicenter clinical trials. He founded and directs the Alzheimer Center since 2000, from which over 55 PhD theses have appeared since then. In 2013, he co-founded the Dutch national plan against dementia (Deltaplan Dementie) and serves as vice-chair of the board since then. He has authored over 950peer reviewed publications and his H-factor is currently 103. In 2011, he was elected as member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and serves as Secretary General since 2015. In 2016 he was awarded the European Grand Prix for Alzheimer’s Research.


You can find out more about our members, associate members and our meetings here.