Company: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism,
United States Department of Health and Human Services
Location: Silver Spring, MD United States
Dorothea de Zafra-Atwell is currently enjoying an active retirement following a rewarding career with the federal government. An expert in training, public policy and program development and cross-cultural communication, the last position she served in was director of science education and senior program analyst for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at the United States Department of Health and Human services. In that role, Ms. de Zafra-Atwell had a variety of responsibilities, including managing all aspects of the contracting process for the development and field testing of science education curriculum supplements related to alcohol abuse and alcoholism, and rendering equal employment opportunity counseling and managerial diversity training. She also conducted management and policy studies, and cultivated and presented reports with actionable recommendations.
Two life-changing events prompted Ms. de Zafra-Atwell’s retirement in 2002: her marriage to a retiree and the nearly simultaneous need for her to take power of attorney and assume responsibility for her aged mother. In navigating both worlds, she discovered her passion for the new movement in aging consciously and creatively, and for elder-care reform and advocacy. Currently, she serves on the Lifelong Learning Advisory Council for her undergraduate alma mater, the University of Rochester.
One of the biggest challenges Ms. de Zafra-Atwell had to overcome was overt discrimination in the 1960s and 1970s. She persevered through the early anti-feminist obstacles, however, and strove for excellence in the positions she held. Ms. de Zafra-Atwell attributes her success to her desire to make a positive difference in the world and the encouragement she received from her parents. Committed to lifelong learning, she worked toward her goals by earning a master’s degree in public and international affairs from the University of Pittsburgh in 1965, and a Bachelor of Arts in non-western civilizations from the University of Rochester in 1963. As of 2010, Ms. de Zafra-Atwell is also a credentialed long-term care ombudsman.