President and CEO, Alzheimer’s Association

Harry Johns became president and chief executive officer of the Alzheimer’s Association in September 2005. 

Since his arrival the Alzheimer’s Association has built new momentum toward creating its A World Without Alzheimer’s Disease® through a number of innovative tactics: the first nationwide campaign to increase understanding and awareness about Alzheimer’s disease; an emphasis on accelerated progress in treatment via the promotion of clinical studies; a campaign to enhance early detection; the introduction of new tools to support both individuals with the disease and their caregivers; an increased focus on public policy and advocacy; and targeted funding to advance research toward effective detection, treatment and prevention methods of Alzheimer’s. 

Under Johns’ leadership the Alzheimer’s Association has seen a significant increase in media attention to the cause and to the organization. The Association’s annual publication, Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures, has become the most cited source covering the broad spectrum of Alzheimer’s issues. The Alzheimer’s Association International Conference™, the world’s largest meeting on Alzheimer’s research, has become an Association-led event held annually to advance science and public awareness. The Association worked to build congressional support for the National Alzheimer’s Project Act (NAPA), which mandated the development of a national strategic plan to address Alzheimer’s. NAPA was passed unanimously by both houses of Congress and signed into law by president Obama in January 2011 and the country’s first National Alzheimer’s Plan was released in May 2012. The Nonprofit Times recognized the Alzheimer’s Association as one of the “50 Best Nonprofits to Work For” for three years in a row, ranking the organization as number one among large nonprofits in 2011 and 2012.  

Before joining the Alzheimer’s Association Johns spent more than twenty-two years with the American Cancer Society (ACS). In his final role at ACS he served as executive vice president for strategic initiatives. As a member of the small executive team, he was responsible for the organization’s nationwide strategy.

Johns earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, FL, and a master’s degree in business administration from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL.

In 2011 Johns was appointed by the Secretary of Health & Human Services to the Advisory Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care and Services and serves on the Council’s Research Subcommittee, providing input and recommendations to the Secretary and to Congress on a national strategy to address Alzheimer’s disease.  He also serves on the board of Research!America and as the President and CEO of the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, a 501(c)(4) sister organization to the Alzheimer’s Association working to make Alzheimer’s a national public policy priority.