TITLE: President of Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative
FOCUS AREAS: Alzheimer’s Disease
PROFILE: Meryl Comer is president of the Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer’s Initiative, a role that she has held since November 2007. She is based in the Washington, DC, area.
According to her professional bio:
Meryl Comer is President and CEO of Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer's Initiative, which promotes early diagnosis, virtual innovation challenges, m-health technologies and national public service campaigns like Geoffrey Beene’s Rock Stars of Science™.
A co-founder of Women Against Alzheimer’s, she is the recipient of the 2015 Alzheimer Drug Discovery Foundation “Great Ladies” Award, 2015 International Book Award, 2014 Wertheim Global Medical Leadership Award (FIU), 2007 Proxmire Award and 2005 Shriver Profiles in Dignity Award. Ms. Comer has provided testimony before Congress on behalf of the Alzheimer's Association and served on the 2008 Alzheimer's Study Group, charged with presenting a National Strategic Plan to Congress in March 2009. In 2012, she led the formation of the 21st Century BrainTrust® (21CBT), a non-profit partnership to advance mobile health technologies and brain health.
Comer has been the subject of primetime news stories by ABC’s Nightline, and the PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer. She is a hands-on caregiver for two Alzheimer’s patients; her husband with early-onset (now hospice at home) and her 94 year old mother with late stage dementia.
Her recent New York Times and Washington Post bestseller, Slow Dancing with a Stranger, is an unflinching account of the couple’s 20-year battle with her husband’s early onset Alzheimer's disease that serves as a much-needed wake-up call for an honest dialogue about this fatal neurodegenerative disease.
One hundred percent of proceeds from Slow Dancing with a Stranger (HarperCollins) will support Alzheimer’s research.
Career History: An Emmy-award winning reporter, veteran TV producer and business talk show host, Meryl Comer was one of the first women in the early 1980's to host a nationally syndicated TV debate show to specialize in business news as it relates to public policy. For eighteen years, Comer moderated the nationally syndicated debate program, It's Your Business. She also co-anchored Nation's Business Today for six years on ESPN, the Ten O'Clock News for Metromedia, Two's Company for WMAR/CBS Affiliate, and the Good Day Show on WCVB-TV in Boston. Concurrent with her broadcast responsibilities, Ms. Comer served as Senior Vice President for the National Chamber Foundation (1997-1999) and for 11 years prior (1987-1997) as Vice President for Communications Development at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Prior to joining the broadcast division of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce full-time in 1983, Comer was VP of Broadcast for the Washington public relations firm, Gray and Company, now Hill & Knowlton. In 1981, she worked as Network Press Liaison for the Reagan-Bush Inaugural Committee. In the late 60s, Comer wrote for the Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper after graduation from her alma mater, the University of Pennsylvania.
Board Affiliations: USAganstAlzheimer’s, Co-Founder, Women Against Alzheimer’s, National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts (Emeritus). Former affiliations: National Alzheimer’s Association, Johns Hopkins Neuropsychiatry Advisory Board, The Copper Ridge Institute (EMA), The Presidential Scholars Foundation, Eureka Foundation, Carnival Resorts & Casinos International, Inc., CHC Canada, LTD. (Audit Committee), Franklin Pierce College, The Fulbright 50th Anniversary Committee (USIA ‘95/96), The President’s Advisory Council on Physical Fitness and Sports and White House Fellows Program. Comer has also served on the advisory boards of the Business Women’s Network, Women of Washington, Board of Governors, The National Women’s Economic Alliance Foundation, and CIPE (Center For International Private Enterprise).