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Walter Dawson, DPhil
Walter Dawson, DPhil


Tel: 503-725-5148
Office: URBN 470T

Research Interests

Global health policy, brain health, Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders, financial and economic impacts of dementia, Medicare and Medicaid, long-term services & supports (LTSS) financing, family caregivers, screening and detection of cognitive impairment, technology and dementia, advocacy for more equitable financing systems for dementia care.

Current Projects

Dr. Dawson is the primary investigator (PI) for the Behavioral Health Initiative for Older Adults and People with Disabilities. He is also an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neurology at the Oregon Health & Sciences University School of Medicine and an Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health with the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI) at the University of California, San Francisco. His research focuses on the under-diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and the impact on family caregivers and the sustainability of public programs that finance care. Previously, Dawson served as the Director of Research & Analytics at the Oregon Health Care Association and as a Fulbright Scholar to Canada, where he held the Visiting Research Chair in Governance and Public Policy at McMaster University. While at McMaster University, Dawson’s research evaluated the way that ideology and costs of care shape public policies for aging Canadians. Dawson has also worked in public policy at the federal level in Washington, DC at the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging and for the Atlantic Philanthropies, USA. Dawson holds a master’s from the London School of Economics, and a doctorate in social policy from the University of Oxford.

Selected Publications 

  • Dawson, W., Bangerter, L. & Splaine, M. (in press) The Politics of Caregiving: Taking Stock of State Level Policies to Support Family Caregivers. Public Policy & Aging Report. 
  • Ternes, K., Iyengar, V., Lavretsky, H., Dawson, W., Booi, L., Ibanez, A., Vahia, I., Reynolds, C., DeKosky, S., Cummings, J., Miller, B., Perissinotto, C., Kaye, J., & Eyre, H. (2020). Brain health INnovation Diplomacy: a model binding diverse disciplines to manage the promise and perils of technological innovation. International Psychogeriatrics: 1-15. Available from:
  • Dawson, W. & Cutler, J. (2020). Addressing Long-Term Services and Supports Reform via Medicare. Yes, Medicare, that Post-Acute Care Program. Journal of Aging & Social Policy: 
    (2): 108-124. Available from: 
    Dawson, W. (2018). Impacts of An Increasing Population Living with Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia on Care: The 21st Century Challenge. Seniors Housing & Care Journal, 26(1): 96-102. 
  • Dawson, W. & Nash, M. (2018). Aging with Serious Mental Illness – One State’s Response. Generations, 42(3): 63-70.
  • Dawson, W. (2017). Winning the Fight to End Alzheimer Disease. JAMA Neurology, 74(8): 896-897. Available from: https://doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2017.1279
  • Dawson, W. (2017). The Future is Now: On-Demand Health for Long-Term Services and Supports. Public Policy and Aging Report, 27(3): 106–110. Available from:
  • Atkins, L., Tumlinson, A., & Dawson, W. (2017). Financing for Long-Term Services and Supports. Generations, 40(4): 38-44.
  • Dawson, W. (2010). The CLASS Act and Long-Term Care Policy Reform: A Perspective. Public Policy and Aging Report, 20(2): 16-20.

Selected Reports