Walt Dawson, D.Phil.

  • Assistant Professor of Neurology, School of Medicine
  • Assistant Professor, OHSU-PSU School of Public Health


Dr. Walter Dawson studies the public policy implications of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias including the financial impact on families and the public programs that finance care. His specific research interests include global health policy, long-term services and supports financing, and interventions to better support people living with dementia including improved cognitive screening and dementia detection.

In addition to an appointment at the OHSU School of Medicine, Dr. Dawson is a Senior Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health with the Global Brain Health Institute (GBHI) at the University of California, San Francisco and faculty at Portland State University’s Institute on Aging. Dr. Dawson has extensive direct experience in national and state-level public policy. As staff at the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, he worked on provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to increase access to long-term services and supports. Dr. Dawson is an elected member of the National Academy of Social Insurance.


Dawson, W. (2010). The CLASS Act and Long-Term Care Policy Reform: A Perspective, Public Policy & Aging Report, 20(2): 16-20.

Atkins, L., Tumlinson, A., and Dawson, W. (2017). Financing for Long-Term Services and Supports. Generations, 40(4): 38-44.

Dawson, W. (2017). Winning the Fight to End Alzheimer Disease. JAMA Neurology, 74(8): 896–897. PMID: 28672290

Dawson, W. (2017). The Future is Now: On-Demand Health for Long-Term Services and Supports. Public Policy & Aging Report, 27(3): 106-110. DOI: 10.1093/ppar/prx018

Dawson, W. & Nash, M. (2018). Aging with Serious Mental Illness – One State’s Response. Generations, 42(3): 63-70.

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. & Cutler, J. (2020). Addressing Long-Term Services and Supports Reform via Medicare. Yes, Medicare, That Post-Acute Care Program, Journal of Aging & Social Policy, 32:2, 108-124. PMID: 30642232

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: 1-25. PMID: 32019621

Dawson, W., Bangerter, L. & Splaine, M. (2020) The Politics of Caregiving: Taking Stock of State Level Policies to Support Family Caregivers. Public Policy & Aging Report. DOI: 10.1093/ppar/praa005


  • B.A., 2004, University of Portland
  • M.S., 2006, London School of Economics
  • M.S., 2008, University of Oxford
  • Ph.D., 2014, University of Oxford
  • Fellowship:

    • Atlantic Fellow for Equity in Brain Health, University of California, San Francisco, 2018-2020
    • Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Governance and Public Policy, McMaster University, Canada, 2015

Honors and awards

  • Fulbright Scholar

Memberships and associations

  • AcademyHealth
  • American Society on Aging
  • Gerontological Society of America
  • International Society to Advance Alzheimer's Research and Treatment
  • National Academy of Social Insurance

Areas of interest

  • Global health policy
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Dementia
  • Long-term services and supports
  • Caregiving
  • Caregiving, Screening and detection of cognitive impairment
  • Technology and dementia