About Us: Staff



Maria Alvarez
María Alvarez, Executive Director
María Alvarez has worked with senior citizens groups as an organizer, advocate, and director of housing and caregivers programs for over 22 years. She has designed and implemented educational, social service, and leadership programs for older adults.  She is a certified HIICAP (Health Insurance Information Counseling and Assistance Program) counselor.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Marquette University and a Master’s Degree in Non-Profit Management from the New School for Social Research where she was a Sloan Fellow.

   Joan Akpan, Assistant to the Executive Director
Joan Akpan joined StateWide in December 2011 as assistant to the Executive Director, using her organization, graphic and public relations skills. Her past experience includes working in the Advertising industry in Seattle and New York City. Joan has over 12 years of experience as an Account Manager working with clients such as American Standard, Disney and Nextlink. She also worked in the Retail Industry in Visual Merchandising for clients such as Speedo, Liz Claiborne and NEXT. Joan is an avid volunteer and currently serves on the United States Tennis Association Metro Board and the Board of Directors for the Knickerbocker Field Club.
Sarah Jane Blake
Sarah Jane Blake, Outreach Counselor
Sarah Jane Blake joins StateWide as an Outreach Counselor based out of Tompkins County. She was previously the HIICAP Coordinator for Tompkins County while working as the Retirement Services Coordinator at Lifelong (Tompkins County Senior Citizen Council) in Ithaca.  She is a certified HIICAP (Health Insurance Information Counseling and Assistance Program) counselor. She has a BA in English from the University of Maine and a JD from Franklin Pierce Law Center in Concord, New Hampshire. Born in Bangor, Maine, she has progressively traveled south and now lives happily with her husband Jim and three black cats in Brooktondale, New York.
Gene Dumlao







Gene Dumlao, Outreach Counselor
Gene joined the staff in February, 2011 and is one of the staff experts that responds to the Patients Rights Hotline calls. He provides counseling on Medicare benefits and the EPIC program to help enrollees make informed choices. He is a certified HIICAP (Health Insurance Information Counseling and Assistance Program) counselor. Prior to that, Gene assisted seniors for five years at EPIC, the Elderly Pharmaceutical Insurance Coverage plan for New York State. He honed his skills and knowledge on their Helpline then served his last four years there as an EPIC Outreach Field Representative. Previously, he was with IBM in Dallas, TX serving as a Customer Fulfillment Professional. Gene also was the Distribution Warehouse Manager for Diamond Distribution out of Laredo, TX. Gene has been solving issues and doing what is right and fair for organizations and members for over thirty years.
Marcus Harazin, Coordinator Patient Advocates Program

Marcus Harazin is implementing StateWide’s new initiative on Patient Advocacy. A lifetime member of StateWide who has recently retired as Deputy Director of the NYS Office for the Aging, Marcus will be making presenta-tions throughout the state to help seniors negotiate the health care system and collect information to inform policy makers about needed changes in the health care delivery system.
Gail Myers, Deputy Director
Gail joined the staff of New York StateWide Senior Action Council in April 2011, with the title of Special Projects Developer. In 2013 she was named Deputy Director.  She is a certified HIICAP (Health Insurance Information Counseling and Assistance Program) counselor,  a certified Long Term Care Ombudsman, serves as a liaison to the Capital District Senior Issues Forum, and serves on the NYS DOH DSRIP CBO/Cultural Competency Workgroup.  Gail has more than two decades experience working to improve health and human service programs and as a public relations specialist. Prior to joining the staff of StateWide, Gail was appointed by Governor Spitzer to serve as the Special Assistant for Community Affairs and Public Participation at the New York State Office for the Aging. In prior years, she was the political director for the Medical Society of the State of New York, the principal lobbyist for the New York State Nurses Association, and legislative assistant to the Chairman of the NYS Assembly Ways & Means Committee.
Leslie Sierra, Outreach Counselor

Leslie  joined the Staff of StateWide Senior Action Council in April 2012.  She comes with over 20 years experience working with the senior population. She started the Brooklyn Caregivers Program while a Sr. Case Manger for The Institute for Puerto Rican/Hispanic Elderly.  She was responsible for and facilitated one of the first support groups for caregivers in Brooklyn, N.Y. She was the first of many to recognize and honor caregivers for the unpaid work they do in the borough of Brooklyn.  She trained and educated over 500 hundred seniors and staff on crime prevention, elder abuse, and financial abuse for the Ft. Greene Senior Citizens Council as a Crime Prevention Specialist/ Case Manager.  She is a certified HIICAP (Health Insurance Information Counseling and Assistance Program) counselor.

Leslie Sierra is President of the Board of Directors for a 325 unit Co-op in the borough of Brooklyn and she is also an ardent wedding and event planner. Keeping seniors and communities educated, informed, and empowered is key to seniors aging in place.

To learn more about StateWide, please click the links below:

StateWide History
Board of Directors
Staff List and Bios
Collaborating Organizations