MassNAELA Honors State Senator Cindy F. Friedman and Other Civic Leaders at Annual Meeting

Awards Legislative, Community and Chapter Leaders For Their Advocacy For Seniors; Presents Senator Friedman with the Legislator of the Year Award

BOSTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#massnaela–At its annual meeting on Thursday, December 5th, the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (MassNAELA) honored several individuals for their advocacy of elder services and their commitment to raising awareness of legal issues affecting seniors. Massachusetts State Senator Cindy F. Friedman was named the Legislator of the Year for her support and efforts for passage of legislation that protects seniors, particularly those with special needs and disabilities.

Victoria Pulos, a senior staff attorney with the Massachusetts Law Reform Institute, Boston, MA, received the Arthur Stavisky Award, an honor MassNAELA bestows each year to a person who has dedicated themselves to promoting elder causes in the community. MassNAELA State House lobbyist, Nomita Ganguly, Belmont, MA, was presented the Deborah H. Thomson Advocacy Award, which recognizes a MassNAELA member’s efforts advocating elder issues in state government. The John J. Ford Litigation Advocacy Award, which honors a member’s efforts to educate the chapter membership relative to litigation strategies, was bestowed to Rebecca Benson, senior counsel with the Special Needs Law Group of Massachusetts, PC, Framingham, MA.

Each year, MassNAELA recognizes chapter members for their commitment of time and energy to the chapter. The 2019 Chapter Member of the Year award was presented to Susan Levin, Newton, MA, for her continued work leading the chapter’s elder law advocacy efforts. The President’s Award was bestowed to Patrick Curley, Wakefield, MA for his service to and support of the chapter and its president with its legislation and lobbying efforts. Michael Couture, Somerville, MA, and Ms. Levin were honored as retiring members of the chapter board of directors. Matthew Albanese, Milton, MA, received an award for his service and dedication as the 2019 chapter president.

The MassNAELA annual meeting also included the election of chapter officers and directors for the New Year. The 2020 officers include president, Paula K. Almgren, Lenox, MA; president-elect, Pamela B. Greenfield, Needham, MA; vice president, Cathleen H. Summers, Acton, MA; treasurer, Steven F. Mann, Waltham, MA; clerk, Alexis B. Levitt, Norwell, MA; and immediate past president, Matthew Albanese. Newly elected directors include Abigail V. Poole, Dedham, MA, and Laura Silver Traiger, Worcester, MA.

The evening also included a keynote address by NAELA president-elect, Wendy Cappelletto, CAP, from Chicago, Illinois, who provided an overview of the landscape and agenda of the national organization. In addition, a presentation was given by a representative from Rendever, a provider of virtual reality technology that helps seniors overcome social isolation through shared experiences.

The MassNAELA annual meeting was preceded by a vendor fair which featured 17 organizations showcasing their elder care services. The vendor fair provides MassNAELA members with awareness of essential quality-of-life services to which they can connect at-risk seniors and better serve their clients.

About MassNAELA

The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), the premier organization of elder and special needs law attorneys in the country, is dedicated to developing awareness of issues concerning the elderly and those with special needs. Over 450 attorneys are members of the Massachusetts Chapter. Members work directly with the elderly and those with special needs in areas as diverse as planning for catastrophic care costs, disability planning, age discrimination in employment and housing, benefits planning, estate planning, veterans’ benefits and more.

MassNAELA celebrated Special Needs Law Month in October 2019 by distributing more than 200 copies of its Special Needs Advocacy Toolkit ( to stakeholders such as the Department of Mental Health, the Department of Developmental Services, Boston Children’s Hospital, Autism Housing Pathways, MetroWest Center for Independent Living, MetroWest Legal Services, and MassPAC. Members also reached out to community partners in special education, clinical and medical fields, legal services and education, community services, and disability advocacy conferences. Community partners and advocates were also brought together for MassNAELA’s inaugural Special Needs “UnProgram,” held October 4, 2019 at the Edwards House in Framingham, where attendees had a chance to connect and converse about special needs topics.

For more information about MassNAELA, visit


Beth Bryant

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