At age 44, Alyssa Easton didn’t give Alzheimer’s Disease a lot of thought. “I was aware of my family’s history with the disease,” says the former director of CDC’s Healthy Communities Program, “but never considered that one day I would receive such a life changing diagnosis.” Her hard-fought journey to a correct medical diagnosis was a harried experience. After numerous visits with specialists and alternative practitioners in a two year timespan, Easton landed at Emory. “You have a form of Alzheimer’s” are words you never expect to hear. Yet Easton did not succumb to this pronouncement of Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease (EOAD). She realized immediately that battling Early Onset would re quire a bullfighter’s stance. Easton channeled all of her energy into learning as much as she could about EOAD. She applied the same rigor to investigate this rare disease as she had advocating for the public’s health as a CDC health officer. Alyssa Easton’s stellar career reads like a who’s who in public health.
She received her Doctor of Philosophy degree in Health Behavior from the University of Toledo in 1996 and her Master of Public Health degree in Epidemiology from the University of Alabama–Birmingham in 1997. She joined CDC in 1997 as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) officer. During her tenure as an EIS officer, she collaborated with the Hungarian Ministry of Welfare on the Budapest Student Health Behavior Survey. Prior to joining the Healthy Communities Program in 2004, Easton led the Surveillance and Specific Populations Team in the Office on Smoking and Health, Epidemiology Branch, where she led research and surveillance projects for specific populations.
In 2007 she had the privilege of presenting on the Healthy Communities Program at Oxford University in Oxford, England, and in 2008 at the Vrije Universiteit (Free University) in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. She has authored or coauthored more than 100 presentations, abstracts, editorials, and publications. In the face of this insidious disease, Easton continues to contribute by serving on Emory’s ADRC Early Onset Alzheimer’s Disease Taskforce. In addition, she accompanies Dr. Levey to numerous educational presentations to help raise the profile of EOAD and make a difference in the changing face of Alzheimer’s disease.