Anabel Pelham, Ph.D

Executive Director
Anabel Pelham, Ph.D. Professor

Anabel Pelham, Ph.DAnabel Pelham, Ph.D. is president of the National Association of Professional Gerontologists (NAPG) and emeriti professor and founding director of the Gerontology Program at San Francisco State University. She is also Founding Director of the Center for Age-Friendly Excellence (CAFE) a project of the Los Altos Community Foundation and a member of the Foundation's Board of Directors. Dr. Pelham is a member of the Los Altos Women's Caucus, an active participant of Los Altos Forward (LAF), and a member of AARP’s California Livable Communities Advisory Team.

Dr. Pelham has expertise in global issues in aging and gerontology, Age-Friendly Cities and community development, community-based health and human services, qualitative research methods, graduate gerontology curriculum development, geriatric care management, life-long learning, and credentialing and accreditation in the field of gerontology. She has lectured and taught for several years internationally and in the former European Masters in Gerontology (EuMaG) Summer School in multiple countries around the world. Dr. Pelham's current interests are: creating Age-Friendly Cities and communities, professionalizing the discipline of Gerontology and compassion as a core value in aging.

Dr. Pelham is past president of the California Council on Gerontology and Geriatrics (CCGG) and is an active member of GSA, CAG, IAGG and serves on the AGHE's Global Aging Committee. She is a former Chair of the Senior Commission for the City of Los Altos, where she led the successful initiative to make Los Altos and Los Altos Hills the first Age-Friendly (City and Town) in California. She is also a member of the Advisory Council of Grupo Dabvsa, Mexico.

Cynthia Nakayama, CPG

Associate Director
Grants and Finance
Cynthia NakayamaCynthia Nakayama understands that on a global level, our aging population is increasing at a massive rate and that the need for supportive infrastructures has escalated. They are critical to our well-being.

Throughout our lives we build life experiences, skills, and activity preferences. When we become older, this continues. We do not become one generic group. We need environments that support both our need for continued intellectual and emotional growth and our physical change.

Cynthia’s experiences in overseeing her father’s care has furthered her awareness of how important it is to acknowledge and maintain those activities that bring brightness into his days.

Her work with the Center for Age-Friendly Excellence (CAFE) has strengthened further her belief in the development of age-friendly cities that support all generations, including the aging.

Cynthia is a Credentialed Professional Gerontologist and a CPA in California (inactive). Her corporate experience has included technology, telecommunications, finance, and biometric security. Working in the ethnogeriatrics area with Stanford Geriatric Education Center broadened her exposure to the healthcare issues of diverse elders. Volunteer contributions have been in the areas of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, heart health, and educational programs.

Vaishali ("Shali") Sirkay, MPH

Associate Director
Community Health
Vaishali SirkayVaishali (“Shali”) Sirkay comes to CAFÉ from a public health background in Community Health and Program Development. She believes that health decision-making behavior does not exist in a vacuum, so taking a multi-generational, systems-level approach to improving health outcomes is critical for lasting behavioral change from the individual through community levels. Her passion for empowering communities has translated into working on diverse projects, including those looking at the Social Determinants of Health, and using Media Literacy as a public health tool. She started a national non-profit organization, the Action Coalition for Media Education, to address the need for a non-partisan media literacy organization. Her experience working in the non-profit public health sector complemented her later role in Corporate Philanthropy, which she found to be a powerful way of using resources within the community to address unmet need. Shali is sensitive to the ways in which philanthropy impacts the donors as much as it impacts the recipients.

As an active member of her community, Shali currently serves as Co-Chair of the Los Altos Community Coalition, sits on the Executive Board of the Los Altos Mountain View Council PTA (which serves three local school districts), and has been a Girl Scout Troop Leader since 2009. She has co-chaired campaigns that led to the successful passage of a bond and parcel tax in the November 2014 and 2016 General Elections.

Shali received her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Barnard College at Columbia University, and her Master of Public Health from Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.