Tara Cortes is recognized for her distinguished career spanning executive leadership, nursing education, research and practice. She is the Executive Director of the Hartford Institute for Geriatrics a Professor in Geriatric Nursing at the New York University College of Nursing. Dr. Cortes has provided significant contributions to advancing the health of people, particularly those with limited access to the health care system. Importantly, she has developed collaborative models with advanced practice nurses and physicians in traditional as well as non traditional settings to enhance the care of the American elderly population. Prior to joining the NYU College of Nursing, Dr. Cortes was the President and CEO of Lighthouse International, a well known not-for-profit organization helping people with vision loss. She mindfully transformed the organization to a health care provider from a social charity, and was recognized worldwide for her leadership in helping to move the field of vision loss from that of disability to health care. Dr. Cortes spent the initial phase of her career in nursing education at Hunter College, and then as the Head of Nursing Research and Information Systems at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. She was the Chief Nursing Officer at Rockefeller University Hospital and continued her career in nursing and hospital administration at Mount Sinai Medical Center and at Bridgeport Hospital, before assuming the senior leadership role at Lighthouse International. As Executive Director of the Hartford Institute, Dr. Cortes has brought her leadership, wisdom and experience to enhance some of the respected existing programs in the Institute and to develop new and innovative initiatives. The consistent theme across her work is the essential role of advanced practice nurses improving the quality of life in specific patient populations and the interdisciplinary nature of health care. She is a leader in developing, evaluating and implementing advanced nursing practice and collaborative practice. Dr. Cortes’s work has contributed to advancing interdisciplinary models across the continuum of care to reduce disparities in access to care and to assure healthy aging in place. She has helped change policy and practice in geriatric care and in low-vision and blindness care by developing roles for advanced practice nurses to provide care to those with poor access to resources due to lack of knowledge or functional disabilities. Dr. Cortes has been a globally recognized leader advocating for government decision makers to recognize and support eye disease as a health priority, and facilitate access to treatments and low vision rehabilitation worldwide. She served on the Boards of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness and the AMD Alliance International, and was appointed by the New York State Governor to the Executive Board of the Commission for the Blind and Visually Handicapped. Dr. Cortes is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing and a Fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine. She is a Past Fellow of the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellows Program. She received the Distinguished Alumni Award from New York University, where she completed her PhD and Masters degrees. Her BSN is from Villanova University, where she served on the Board of Trustees and was recently awarded the Medallion for Outstanding Contributions to the Profession. Dr. Cortes serves on the Board of the Visiting Nurse Regional Health Care System, the Board of the National Accreditation Council for the Blind and Visually Handicapped, and on the US Army New York City Community Advisory Board.