The Board is comprised of seven members appointed by the Governor and
serves as an advocate for consumers of long term care in Wisconsin. To
carry out this statutory mandate the Board operates the Long Term Care Ombudsman
Program, the Medigap Helpline and the Volunteer Ombudsman
Abigail Lowery is currently a stay-at-home parent. She also serves on the DeForest Village Board and has done so since 2017. She volunteers as a meal delivery driver for the DeForest Area Community and Senior Center. She serves on the DeForest Library Board and DaneCom Governing Board. She previously served as chairperson of the DeForest Housing Authority Board, which oversaw subsidized housing for seniors, people with disabilities, and those of lower incomes.
Previously, Abigail worked in various jobs supporting people with developmental disabilities of all ages: at-home autism line therapist, special education assistant, respite care provider, adult family home coordinator, and special education teacher. She continues to stay active regarding disability issues and advocacy as her brother lives in an adult family home in the state.
Abigail is a graduate of University of Wisconsin-Madison with bachelor's degrees in Women’s Studies and Special Education.
Tanya Meyer our current board chair, has a Bachelor of Sciences
from the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point with majors in Psychology and
Tanya has been working at the Social Security Administration since
2005. Prior to that, she had 20 years in long term and aging case
management and program administration. She has worked in various
settings including nursing homes, CBRFs, county and Tribal agencies. She
has also served a diverse group including elders and persons with developmental
Other interests include volunteer procurement of funds for the Rhinelander
Area Food Pantry, which as up to 40% of its total distribution any given month
to Elders, and volunteering time and talents to her children's church youth
Tanya resides in the town of Parrish with her beloved pets.
Dr. Taylor is an emeritus professor at the
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire where he founded the Bachelor of Music
Therapy degree program and prepared students for careers in long term
care settings and other clinical facilities. He served as Chair of the
Department of Allied Health Professions which also included programs in
Environmental & Public Health and Health Care Administration, the latter of
which prepares administrators for long term care
a member of the Advisory Board of the Wisconsin Music and Memory
Initiative. He previously served as Co-Chair of the Turning Point
Transformation Team, a statewide task force that wrote Healthiest
Wisconsin 2010, the state public health plan, and served on the Board of
Directors of the Wisconsin Institute for Public Health. He received his
bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees at the University of Kansas and worked
or trained in numerous treatment facilities. Dr. Taylor is a Board
Certified Music Therapist and author of Biomedical Foundations of Music as
Therapy, a book that is used in college and university undergraduate and
graduate programs throughout the U.S. and in many other countries. He also
taught Music Therapy courses at Alverno College and at Augsburg College where he
served as Interim Director of Music Therapy.
Dale and his wife, Jennifer, live
in Eau Claire.
Mr. Surprise, retired May 2008 as a
Social Worker after 32 years with the Waushara County Department of Human
Services. He provided services for physically disabled adults and elderly
participants in the following Long Term Support Programs; Community Options
Program/Waiver, CIP II, Nursing Home Relocations and Diversions, Guardianships,
Protective Placements, and Elder Abuse. He also has past experience with child
care certifications, custody studies and child welfare.
Mr. Surprise was a family member of two past participants of the Home and
Community Based Waiver Programs.
From 1972 to 1976 he was the Assistant Director of the Boys and Girls Club of
Mr. Surprise is a lifetime member of the Coalition of Wisconsin Aging
Group. He is a current member of the Kiwanis in Wautoma.
Mr. Surprise resides in Wautoma with his lovely wife Kate and son Nick.
Barbara M. Bechtel
Ms. Bechtel has been active in public health and advocacy for over 60
years. She is past president of Wisconsin School Health Association
and past vice president of Wisconsin Public Health Association.
serves on the Commission on Aging advocacy Committee and Wellness Council and is
actively involved with the Wisconsin Aging Network group. Barbara has been
on the Advisory Council of Horizon Home Care and Hospice and has served on the
board of North Shore Board on Health and the Facilities Study Committee for the
Brown Deer School District.
She is a graduate of Mount Sinai School of Nursing, Marquette University
School of Nursing, Brown Deer Police Academy and the Wisconsin Senior Statesman
In 1973 she founded the Brown Deer Senior Citizens Club and has served as
a volunteer for Milwaukee County Department on Aging Senior Meal Program, Brown
Deer Historical Society, Brown Deer Recreation Department and North Shore Board
Her honors include Brown Deer Citizen of the Year, Milwaukee County Public
Health Nurse of the Year, the Wisconsin Public Health Basic Prevention Award and
recognition in the Milwaukee County Senior Citizens Hall of Fame.
Mike is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh,
the FBI Academy, the FBI LEEDS program and the National Sheriffs Executive
Mr. Brooks was born in Wisconsin and raised in
Colorado and Wisconsin. He spent 38 years working for the Winnebago County
Sheriffs Office, retiring in early 2011 after serviing the last 16 years as
Sheriff Brooks assisted seniors of the community in establishing
3 TRIAD programs in Winnebago County. The TRIAD is run by the
seniors and law enforcement serves as a resource to the TRIAD on issues dealing
with quality of life and crimes against seniors. Sheriff Brooks recognized
a growing senior population would need the resources of law enforcement and
other government agencies to insure their quality of life in the community.
He has also served on the Boards for addressing the
issues of Regional Domestic Abuse, Oshkosh Youth Baseball, Winnebago Community
Credit Union and the Oshkosh Humane Society. Mike also served on the
National Sheriffs Association Homeland Security and Jail Denton
Sheriff Brooks expressed his eagerness to serve on a state
board which addresses the rights of our Mothers, Fathers and
Mike lives in Oshkosh with his wife Cheryl. He has 4
adult children and 5 grandchildren. He has 2 favorite pastimes, golf
and watching his grandchildren.
Dr. Valerie Palarski
Dr. Valerie Palarski is a registered nurse in
Central Wisconsin. She has been a registered nurse for over 3
decades. Dr. Palarski received her diploma in nursing from Bellin College
of Nursing. She earned a Bachelors degree from UW-Green Bay in Human
Adaptability, a Masters degree in Fitness Management and a Doctorate degree
in Higher Education and Organizational Leadership from Benedictine
University. She also has a Masters degree in Nursing with a
specialization in healthcare education from the University of Phoenix.
Her specialty is cardiac nursing and leadership. She has worked in
Pittsburgh, PA and for the Rockford Health System in Rockford, IL where she was
the Administrative Director of Case Management. Dr. Palarski has authored
research articles in the field of cardiac nursing for National journals.
Her current research interest is faculty to faculty incivility. She
currently teaches nursing in Wausau, WI.
Dr. Palarski is the Past President of the DC Everest Area School District
where she was also a Board member for four years. She also served on the
Cooperative Educational Service Agency District #9 board of Control. She
is a past member of the Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce Leadership
Board. Se has been a volunteer for Junior Achievement.
lives in the Wausau area with her husband and two dogs. She and her
husband have two adult children. In her leisure time she enjoys hunting,
fishing, scuba diving, traveling and cooking.