Friday, November 3, 2023

9:30 am to 2:30 pm

About the Annual Symposium

The Alzheimer's Association Illinois Chapter hosts a research symposium every year in November to honor National Family Caregivers Month – a time to celebrate the contributions of caregivers, increase their awareness and connect them with information and resources.

By hosting this annual symposium, we have the opportunity to bring together over 300 caregivers, patients, families and healthcare professionals to learn about the latest in Alzheimer's and dementia research and the Association's role in driving and leading global research initiatives. We are also able to provide the attendees with information, tools, and resources.

Who Should Attend?

Clinical, research, and family tracks are designed for:

Continuing Education

3.0 CEU, CME credits offered for attendees registered as a Professional II only. The following professionals are eligible for continuing education credit:


Feinberg Pavilion Conference Center
Northwestern University
251 E Huron, 3rd Floor
Chicago, IL 60611

HAVE QUESTIONS? Please contact Olivia Matongo, VP of Programs at for inquires or questions related to this educational event.

Symposium Schedule

All times listed in the agenda are in CT.

View Full Agenda

Keynote Speakers

Heather Snyder

Heather Snyder, Ph.D.

Vice President, Medical & Scientific | Alzheimer’s Association

Dr. Snyder is the VP of Medical and Scientific Relations at the Alzheimer’s Association. She oversees Association initiatives that accelerate Alzheimer’s research and provide opportunities for the global dementia community.

She is responsible for the progress the Association has made in Alzheimer's and dementia research funding. She leads the Association’s International Research Grant Program, through which the Association funds investigations that advance understanding of Alzheimer's and moves the field toward solutions for the global Alzheimer's crisis. As the world’s largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer's research, the Association is currently investing more than $360 million in over 1,000 active projects in 53 countries.

Heather Snyder

Claire Sexton, DPhil

Senior Director, Scientific Programs and Outreach Alzheimer's Association

Claire Sexton, DPhil, is senior director, Scientific Programs and Outreach at the Alzheimer’s Association®. In this role, she leads research programs and initiatives to accelerate the Association’s scientific agenda.

Dr. Sexton works with a committee of expert researchers to develop scientific programming for the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference® (AAIC®), the largest and most influential international meeting dedicated to advancing dementia science. Annually, AAIC offers over 2,300 posters and nearly 500 podium presentations on basic science, risk factors, diagnosis, causes, risk factors, and potential methods of treatment and prevention to thousands of the world’s leading dementia researchers.


Neelum T. Aggarwal, MD
Professor and Senior Neurologist
Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Rush University Medical Center

Dr. Neelum T. Aggarwal, MD, is the Chief Diversity Officer at American Medical Women’s Association and Professor in the Departments of Neurological Sciences and the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center at Rush University Medical Center. She is the Senior Neurologist for the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center (RADC), Research Director at the Rush Heart Center for Women, and serves... as the Principal Investigator and Site Principal Investigator for multiple NIA-funded research studies and consortia led clinical trials.

Her work focuses on how sex, gender, and social determinants of health are associated with risk,detection, and treatment of cognitive changes associated with dementia.

Dr. Aggarwal is a long-standing voice for community-based research, clinical trial participation, public health initiatives, both in Chicago and nationally. She serves as the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) and was past chair of the Governing Council of the American Medical Association- Women's Physician Section.

Currently, she co-chairs the Inclusion, Diversity and Education in Alzheimer's Disease - Outreach and Policy subcommittee and the Advisory Group on Risk Evidence Education for Dementia (

She completed her medical degree from the Rosalind Franklin University - Chicago Medical School, completed her neurology residency at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, and completed an aging and neurodegenerative disorders fellowship at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center.

Concetta Forchetti, MD, PhD
Medical Director, Memory Disorder Clinic and Clinical Research

Dr. Concetta M. Forchetti is the Medical Director of the Center for Clinical Research and the Memory Disorder Clinic at Ascension Illinois.

For over 30 years, Dr. Forchetti has focused both her neurology practice and clinical research on the care and study of Degenerative Cognitive Disorders. Dr Forchetti has been the Principal Investigator over 200 clinical trials and is on the advisory board of several Pharma Companies. For decades, Dr. Forchetti has been educating Physicians and Health Care Providers on the diagnosis, treatment, and management of individuals with Cognitive Disorders. Dr. Forchetti is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Northwestern University.

Marla Fronczak, MS

Marla Fronczak is the CEO of AgeGuide Northeastern Illinois. She has a Master of Science in Nonprofit Management. Ms. Fronczak leads AgeGuide’s Area Agency on Aging’s work as a vital resource and advocate for older adults and caregivers by providing thoughtful guidance, supportive services, and meaningful connections that enhance the quality of life for people as they age. She joined AgeGuide 2010, and prior to her tenure as CEO she managed the Community Planning Division. As Planning Manager, she was responsible for developing and implementing AgeGuide’s Area Plan, coordinating, and overseeing its network of funded partner agencies that provide home and community-based services throughout its eight-county planning and service area.

In 2022 she was appointed to the IL Supreme Court Commission of Elder Law to explore ways in which our court system can better protect and meet the special needs of older adults. Ms. Fronczak is also a member of the Milken Institute Alliance to Improve Dementia Care. AgeGuide delivers community-based dementia supportive services and has partnered with 9 communities to become nationally recognized as Dementia Friendly and there are 3 more in process.

Ms. Fronczak is the President of the Illinois Association of Area Agencies on Aging (I4A). I4A created the Illinois Aging Services (IAS) as a 501(c)4 to further its advocacy efforts. In 2021 IAS formed an inclusive, statewide, non-partisan coalition to identify and promote policy changes to support unpaid family caregivers and to create a public awareness campaign spotlighting caregiving and provide resources to caregivers in Illinois.

Percy Griffin, Ph.D.
Director, Scientific Engagement
Alzheimer's Association

Percy Griffin, Ph.D., is director, Scientific Engagement for the Alzheimer’s Association®, where he leads efforts to accelerate the organization’s scientific agenda through the creation and delivery of ongoing research education. Prior to joining the Association, Dr. Griffin held a number of roles that honed his expertise in research and scientific communication. Most recently, he was a strategic analyst for Purohit Navigation, ... where he conducted and analyzed research for pharmaceutical clients. He also served as a consultant for the Biotechnology and Life Sciences Advising Group and as a scientific editor and illustrator for InPrint, a publication editing service at Washington University in St. Louis.

As a researcher, Dr. Griffin has led independent translational projects in Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease focused on protein degradation and neuroimmunology, in addition to research on the role of proteostasis in Parkinson's disease pathogenesis and organic chemistry synthesis. He is a co-author of several papers, including “Circadian clock protein Rev-erba regulates neuroinflammation,” published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS).

Dr. Griffin holds a doctorate in molecular cell biology from Washington University in St. Louis, a master’s degree in pharmacology from the University of Minnesota Medical School and a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry from Macalester College. During his graduate studies, Dr. Griffin participated in the optional Entrepreneurship for Biomedicine Research Training Program and earned a credential in Science Communication. He is a recipient of the Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation and the Neuroscience Scholars Program Fellowship from the Society for Neuroscience.

Allison Lapins, MD
Northwestern Memorial Hospital

Dr. Allison Lapins is a behavioral neurologist in Chicago, Illinois and currently sees patients at Northwestern Memorial Hospital. She received her medical degree from Chicago Medical School/Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine Science and completed residency in neurology at University of Chicago Medical Center. Dr. Lapins also completed a fellowship program in Medical ... Ethics at University of Chicago. She is currently finishing fellowship subspecialty training at Northwestern University, where she is involved in ongoing research projects in the field of neurodegenerative disease and aging.

Karen Lowe Graham, PhD
Manager of Community Relations
Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center at Rush University Medical Center

Karen Lowe Graham, PhD, is the manager of community relations at the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center. She is responsible for developing and implementing recruitment and education activities of the RADC. She develops and manages relationships with key partners and stakeholders — including working with representatives of the RADC, local elected officials and... various members and leaders of numerous targeted communities, and overseeing community engagement efforts and related communications. She works in close partnership with other core groups in the aging field. This includes acting as a liaison between communities of color and the RADC. In this role, she contributes to strategically planning effective means of translating findings of the center's studies into practical applications and programming for communities of color. In addition to these duties, she is the chair of the Education Committee of the RADC. Karen has a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a master's degree in psychology from Roosevelt University in Chicago and a doctorate in nursing research at Rush’s College.

Steve Satek, BS, MBA
Founder and President
Flourish Research

Steve Satek is the Founder and President of Great Lakes Clinical Trials, a group of 3 phase I-IV clinical trial centers located throughout the Chicagoland area, specializing in the study of investigational medications, food products and supplements for the treatment of chronic diseases, notably in Psychiatry, Alzheimer’s disease, Vaccines and Metabolic Disorders. ...In 2023, Great Lakes Clinical Trials joined Flourish Research, an organization that creates efficiencies of scale and provides support for research centers it owns and operates across the country.

Steve has more than 30 years of experience in the clinical research industry. He began his career as a bench researcher at the Northwestern University Robert H. Lurie Cancer Center and since that time has held senior management positions at the Chicago Center for Clinical Research, Radiant Research, Cognitive Drug Research, Thievon-Wright Consulting Group (now Evolution Research Group) and Forenap Pharma. Steve offers a diverse and thorough knowledge of clinical trial operations, which has been presented at over 30 industry conferences. In addition, he has personally project managed and/or coordinated over 300 clinical trials. Over the past 15 years, Steve has specialized in the design, implementation, and management of research studies related to brain and mental health disorders. Steve has gained international recognition for his participation on the Planning Committee for the Global Site Solutions Summit, one the clinical research industry's leading conferences, and serving as its former Chairman.

Locally in Chicago, Steve sits on the Board of Directors for the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce and in 2018, Steve was honored to be recognized by Crain's Chicago Business as one of Chicago's Notable LGBTQ Executives. Steve has also been highly engaged in Chicago’s Alzheimer’s disease and memory care community, serving on the Alzheimer’s Association’s Medical and Scientific Advisory Board and volunteering as an accredited Caregiver Support Group leader for the Alzheimer’s Association since 2018. Notably, in 2015, Steve established the non-profit: Memory Care Coalition of Chicago and served as the group’s Chairman until 2020, at which time he joined the Adult Learning Faculty at Lifelong Learning Institute at Harper College in Palatine, IL.

Steve holds two Bachelor of Science degrees in Molecular Biology and in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and an Executive MBA from the Lake Forest Graduate School of Management.

Thank you to our Sponsors




Brain Trust


Brain Trust






Connect Care Hero

Belmont Village

Vendor/Resource Table


Age Guide


DCC Knight