IACC Member Biographies
Joshua Gordon, M.D., Ph.D.
Director, National Institute of Mental Health, National Institutes of Health, and Chair, IACC
Dr. Joshua Gordon was appointed as the Director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in 2016 and serves as the Chair of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee. Prior to joining the NIH, Dr. Gordon was a member of the faculty of Columbia University's Department of Psychiatry from 2014-2016, where he used his training in psychiatry and neuroscience to combine laboratory-based studies examining mouse models of human psychiatric illness with clinical practice and teaching in general psychiatry. His expertise in neurophysiology has allowed him to investigate features of the neural circuitry that underlie mental health conditions. He earned his B.A. degree in Biology from Washington University in St. Louis, and his M.D./Ph.D. from the University of California at San Francisco. He did his residency and fellowship in Psychiatry at Columbia University/NYS Psychiatric Institute. Dr. Gordon has received several awards and grants, including an IMHRO Rising Star Award, two NARSAD Young Investigator awards, an APA-GlaxoSmithKline Young Faculty award, and research grants from NIMH. In his role as NIMH Director, Dr. Gordon oversees the lead federal agency for research on mental health disorders and conditions. With an annual budget of approximately $1.5 billion, NIMH supports over 2,000 research grants and contracts. In addition, the NIMH intramural research program supports approximately 300 scientists who work in laboratories at NIH. The mission of the NIMH is to transform the understanding and treatment of mental illnesses through basic and clinical research, paving the way for prevention, recovery, and cure.
Skye Bass, L.C.S.W.
Program Coordinator, TeleBehavioral Health Center of Excellence, Division of Behavioral Health, Indian Health Service
Skye Bass is a member of the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians of Northern Michigan. Ms. Bass is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, she received her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Michigan. She currently serves as a Program Coordinator for the Indian Health Service (IHS) TeleBehavioral Health Center of Excellence. In this capacity, Ms. Bass provides leadership and training in behavioral health and also provides clinical services through telehealth. Prior to her current role, she worked as a social worker at Phoenix Indian Medical Center and served as a Public Health Advisor for the IHS Division of Behavioral Health. Ms. Bass is passionate about equipping, connecting, and encouraging providers who serve American Indian/Alaska Native people.
Diana W. Bianchi, M.D.
Director, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health
Dr. Diana W. Bianchi joined the IACC as a Federal Member when she became the Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) in 2016. In this role, she oversees the Institute's research on pediatric health and development, maternal health, reproductive health, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and rehabilitation medicine. Prior to joining NIH, she spent 23 years at Tufts Medical Center, where she was the Executive Director of the Mother Infant Research Institute, as well as the Natalie V. Zucker Professor of Pediatrics, Obstetrics and Gynecology at Tufts University School of Medicine. Dr. Bianchi was also the Vice Chair for Pediatric Research at the Floating Hospital for Children, Boston. From 2011 through 2015, she served on the National Advisory Council of NICHD. She was formerly the Editor-in-Chief of the international journal Prenatal Diagnosis and is a Past President of the International Society for Prenatal Diagnosis and the Perinatal Research Society. She was elected to membership in the National Academy of Medicine in 2013. Dr. Bianchi received her B.A. magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania and her M.D. from Stanford University School of Medicine. She completed her residency training in Pediatrics at the Children's Hospital, Boston and her postdoctoral fellowship training in Medical Genetics and Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine, both at Harvard. She is board-certified in all three specialties and is a practicing medical geneticist with special expertise in reproductive genetics. In 2020 she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Amsterdam.
Anita Everett, M.D., D.F.A.P.A.
Director, Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Dr. Anita Everett is the Director of the Center for Mental Health Services. In this role, she provides executive leadership for federal efforts to improve the nation's mental health service systems. Prior to her arrival at SAMHSA, she served as the Section Chief of the Johns Hopkins Bayview Community and General Psychiatry. She was on the faculty of the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and the Bloomberg School of Public Health. At Hopkins, she has been involved with the leadership of health system behavioral health integration into accountable care structures. Earlier in her career, Dr. Everett served as the Senior Medical Advisor to SAMHSA. From 1999 to 2003 she served as the Inspector General to the Office of the Governor in the Department of Mental Health in Virginia. She received the Patrick Henry award for outspoken advocacy. Dr. Everett has served on the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Advisory Council. She is active in several professional organizations including the American Psychiatric Association where she has received a commendation for her work in healthcare reform. She is a past president of the Maryland Psychiatric Society and the American Association of Community Psychiatrists. She has been engaged in several international projects, which have included consultation with the Ministries of Health, Department of Mental Health in Iraq and Afghanistan on the implementation of mental health services in these countries.
Tiffany R. Farchione, M.D.
Director, Division of Psychiatry, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Dr. Tiffany Farchione joined the IACC as a Federal member in 2012. She received her medical degree from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, and completed adult residency and child & adolescent fellowship training at the University of Pittsburgh's Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. Dr. Farchione is board certified in both general and child & adolescent psychiatry. Prior to joining FDA in 2010, Dr. Farchione was affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and was on the faculty of the University of Pittsburgh. As the Director of the Division of Psychiatry Products at FDA, Dr. Farchione is involved in the oversight of new drug review for all psychiatric drug development activities conducted under investigational new drug applications, and the review of all new drug applications and supplements for new psychiatric drug claims.
Maria Fryer, M.S.
Program Analyst, Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice
Ms. Maria Fryer is the Justice and Mental Health Policy Analyst for the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) at the Department of Justice (DOJ). She oversees the justice and behavioral health discretionary grant portfolio and collaborates with multiple private and federal agencies to assist states, local government, and their behavioral health service providers to better understand the relationship between the criminal justice system, the behavioral health system, and people with mental illness (MI), intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD) and co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse. She administers the Justice and Mental Health Collaboration Grant Program and other justice, mental health and disability initiatives. Ms. Fryer previously worked at the North Carolina Governor's Crime Commission. She has also served as a North Carolina Law Enforcement Instructor and assisted with curriculum development through the North Carolina Justice Academy. She has a M.S. in Criminal Justice and Educational Psychology from North Carolina Central University. Ms. Fryer also has lived experience helping her child on the autism spectrum to navigate the education, employment and healthcare environment.
Dayana J. Garcia, M.Ed.
Disabilities and Inclusion Specialist, Office of Head Start, Administration for Children and Families
Ms. Dayana Garcia is the Disabilities and Inclusion Specialist at the Office of Head Start (OHS) in the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). She performs program and policy analyses of services provided by Health and Human Services (HHS) programs. She also plans, directs, and monitors activities related to disabilities and inclusion services. Ms. Garcia serves as liaison with representatives of the health care and human services industry. Ms. Garcia began her career as a special education teacher and worked with children and youth with diverse abilities and cultural backgrounds. She also held positions as a Head Start Disabilities Coordinator, a Head Start Content Specialist, and then the Director of the Head Start Information and Communication Center at the Trans-Management Systems Corporation. She speaks both English and Spanish. Ms. Garcia holds an M.Ed. in Special Education from the University of Hawaii.
Elaine Cohen Hubal, Ph.D.
Senior Science Advisor, Center for Public Health and Environmental Assessment, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Dr. Elaine Cohen Hubal is a Senior Science Advisor in the Office of Research and Development (ORD) at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)'s Center for Public Health and Environmental Assessment. She leads research to advance models for estimating human exposure to Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). She also translates EPA exposure information and tools for use by multiple sectors. Previously she served in a series of science leadership positions in ORD. Her primary research interests are in understanding the impact of the built and natural environments on human health with an emphasis on vulnerable populations and life stages. Dr. Cohen Hubal served on other scientific panels and committees, including the Voluntary Children's Chemical Evaluation Program (VCCEP) Peer Consultation and as an IACC alternate. She is Editor-in-Chief for the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology. Dr. Cohen Hubal received her Ph.D. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from North Carolina State University.
Jennifer Johnson, Ed.D.
Deputy Commissioner, Administration on Disabilities, Administration for Community Living
Dr. Jennifer Johnson is the Deputy Commissioner of the Administration on Disabilities (AoD), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Community Living (ACL). She is also the Director of AoD's Office of Disability Service Innovations. AoD's mission is to equip individuals with disabilities of all ages with opportunities, tools, and supports to lead lives of their choice in their community. Its programs are working to create change and improve the lives of the estimated 61 million individuals with disabilities living in the US by advancing opportunities for inclusion and participation in the community, employment and financial well-being, and independence and self- determination. Dr. Johnson has served as the Deputy Commissioner since September 2019, with a focus on improving the quality, accountability, and evidence base of AoD's programs and initiatives. Before assuming her current role as AoD's Deputy Commissioner, Dr. Johnson served as the Deputy Director of the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) from July 2015 through August 2019. Prior to her tenure at AoD, Dr. Johnson conducted policy research at The George Washington University's Graduate School of Education and Human Development and taught graduate level classes on research methods, bilingual special education, and disability policy. She has also held positions in the Arlington County Public School system, at the Council for Exceptional Children, and at the Institute for Women's Policy Research. Dr. Johnson earned her doctorate in Special Education from The George Washington University and has a Master's degree in Early Childhood Special Education from The George Washington University. She earned her Bachelor's Degree from Hollins University.
Alison R. Marvin, Ph.D.
Statistician/Health Sciences Researcher, Division of the Analytics Center of Excellence, Social Security Administration
Dr. Alison R. Marvin joined the IACC as a Federal member in 2021. Dr. Marvin is a Statistician/Health Sciences Researcher in the Division of the Analytics Center of Excellence at the Social Security Administration (SSA), leading projects involving Supplemental Security Income (SSI) redeterminations and case selection and providing statistical support for Agency SSI outreach efforts. She also serves as the Autism Subject-Matter Expert at SSA. Prior to joining SSA, Dr. Marvin was Research Manager of the Interactive Autism Network, an internet-mediated research project and registry in the Department of Medical Informatics at Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore, MD. Dr. Marvin continues her association with Kennedy Krieger Institute on a limited basis as Research Manager of the Autism Research and Engagement Core at the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities, one of a national network of University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. Dr. Marvin is affiliated with the Wendy Klag Center for Autism & Developmental Disabilities at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Marvin has an M.S. in Statistics and Operations Research, an M.Phil. in Public Administration (with a focus on Health and Public Policy), and a Ph.D. in Health Sciences, and has published extensively in the field of autism research.
Matthew Miller, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Director, VA Suicide Prevention Program, Office of Mental Health and Suicide Prevention, Veterans Health Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Dr. Matthew Miller is the Director of the Suicide Prevention Program for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. He leads a team dedicated to the implementation and reinforcement of evidence-based community and clinical interventions addressing suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention for 19 million Veterans, nationwide and 140+ VA healthcare systems. Dr. Miller previously served as the Director of the Veterans and Military Crisis Line (VMCL). Under his leadership, the VMCL became the world's largest and suicide crisis call center. Prior to joining the VMCL, as Director, Dr. Miller served at the local VA facility level as the Deputy Chief of Staff for the Saginaw VA Medical Center, as well as the Chief of Mental Health. Dr. Miller received his PhD from Michigan State University and his MPH from the University of Michigan. Dr. Miller also served as an Officer and Clinical Psychologist with the United States Air Force. He completed his professional Residency in Clinical Psychology at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base Medical Center. He served as a Chief of Mental Health at a Joint Services Pilot Training Wing, overseeing outpatient mental health operations for all Active Duty members and dependents within the installation community. Dr. Miller was awarded the USAF's 71st FTW "Cutting Edge Award" for the development of a cross disciplinary clinical treatment protocol and program that reduced pilot washout rates secondary to complicated airsickness to less than 1 percent. Dr. Miller was awarded the Air Force Commendation Medal for service rendered as part of the War on Terrorism.
Kamila Mistry, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Health Scientist Administrator, Associate Director, Office of Extramural Research, Education, and Priority Populations; Senior Advisor, Value Based Care Transformation, Child Health and Quality Improvement, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Dr. Kamila Mistry is the Associate Director for the Office of Extramural Research, Education and Priority Populations at the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality (AHRQ). She is also the Senior Advisor for Value and Child Health and Quality Improvement. She leads multiple national initiatives focused on measuring and reducing health and health care disparities and improving quality, safety, and value for vulnerable populations. Additionally, she is a part-time Assistant Professor at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Department of General Pediatrics. Previously, she served as the Program Director at Johns Hopkins, focusing on innovative practice-based models for improving quality of care and child outcomes. Dr. Mistry completed her NRSA post-doctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She received a Ph.D. from the Department of Population, Family and Reproductive Health and M.P.H. from the Department of Health Policy and Management, both from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Georgina Peacock, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.P.
Director, Division of Human Development and Disability, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Dr. Georgina Peacock is the Division Director for the Division of Human Development and Disability (DHDD) at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). She directs CDC's efforts to optimize child development for those at risk for high-impact conditions. Additionally, she sees patients in developmental clinics – the Good Samaritan Health Center and the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Neurology Developmental Clinic. She is an adjunct professor with Emory University Department of Pediatrics as well as the Georgia State University Center for Leadership in Disability and Georgia Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program. She represents CDC on multiple committees including the National Advisory Committee on Children and Disabilities, the HHS Disability Collaborative, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on Early Childhood. Dr. Peacock received her M.P.H. and M.D. at the University of Kansas.
Lauren Raskin Ramos, M.P.H.
Director, Division of Maternal and Child Health Workforce Development, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration
Ms. Lauren Raskin Ramos is the Director of the Division of Maternal and Child Health Workforce Development at the Health Resources and Services Administration's Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB). In this role, she leads federal efforts to educate and train the current and future maternal and child health workforce. Ms. Ramos is also the lead for MCHB's Autism investments in training, research and state systems development. Previously, she held leadership roles at the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. Ms. Ramos has also worked at the National Center for Education in Maternal and Child Health at Georgetown University on the Bright Futures Project, and at the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. She served as an Officer of the Maternal and Child Health Section of the American Public Health Association (APHA) and as a Board member of the National Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition. Ms. Ramos completed her MPH at the UCLA School of Public Health with a concentration in Community Health Sciences and received her BA in Sociology and a Certificate in Community Health from Tufts University. She is a recipient of APHA's Maternal and Child Health Young Professional Award.
Nina Schor, M.D., Ph.D.
Deputy Director, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health
Dr. Nina Schor is the Deputy Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) at the NIH. Dr. Schor is a pediatric neurologist and previously served as chair of the department of pediatrics at the University of Rochester, New York and pediatrician-in-chief at Golisano Children's Hospital. While at the University of Rochester, she was the first Director of the Translational Biomedical Science Ph.D. Program and played an integral role in developing the program and recruiting graduate students. The focus of Dr. Schor's research has been on neuroblastoma, a type of pediatric cancer, and neuronal death caused by oxidative stress, which occurs when harmful forms of oxygen molecules damage cells. Prior to her time in Rochester, she was a professor, Chief of Child Neurology and Associate Dean for Medical Student Research at the University of Pittsburgh in PA. Dr. Schor earned a Ph.D. in medical biochemistry from Rockefeller University in New York City and her M.D. from Cornell University Medical College in New York City. She completed residency programs in neurology and pediatrics at Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston.
Teresa Souza, Ph.D.
Social Science Analyst, Office of Policy Development and Research, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Dr. Teresa Souza serves as a social science analyst within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Policy Development and Research (HUD/PD&R). Since joining HUD in 2010, Dr. Souza has focused on the development and implementation of the Department's research agenda for supportive housing for persons with disabilities. In this capacity, she has managed a multi-phased evaluation contract of the Section 811 supportive housing program for persons with disabilities and is the subject matter expert for a contract to evaluate the Mainstream voucher program for persons with disabilities. Dr. Souza is the co-author of a Housing Policy Debate article on health and health services access among adults with disabilities who receive federal housing assistance (2017) and the lead author of a Report to Congress on the Worst-Case Housing Needs of people with disabilities (2011). Prior to joining HUD, she worked for six years at the Inter-American Development Bank, where she designed and evaluated housing and urban development programs in several countries in Latin America. She earned a Bachelor of Architecture and Urban Planning degree and a Master of Architecture and Urban Planning degree from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, and a Ph.D. in Urban Studies from the University of Maryland.
Jodie Sumeracki, B.A.
Senior Policy Advisor, Disabled and Elderly Health Programs Group, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Ms. Jodie Sumeracki is the Senior Policy Advisor at Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). She provides leadership and guidance for various long-term care policy areas and special projects and leads the analyses of policy issues and topics related to long-term care programs and payment systems. Before coming to CMS, she was a Health Policy Associate for the National Association of State Medicaid Directors. Previously she served as a Health Insurance Specialist at CMS. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Pennsylvania State University.
Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S, Ph.D.
Acting Director, National Institutes of Health
Dr. Tabak is the Acting Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), officially taking office on December 20, 2021. Dr. Tabak has served as the Principal Deputy Director and the Deputy Ethics Counselor of NIH since August 2010. He previously served as the Acting Principal Deputy Director of NIH (2009), and prior to that as Director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research from 2000–10. Prior to joining NIH, Dr. Tabak was the Senior Associate Dean for Research and Professor of Dentistry and Biochemistry & Biophysics in the School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Rochester in New York. A former NIH MERIT recipient, Dr. Tabak's major research focus has been on the structure, biosynthesis, and function of glycoproteins. He continues work in this area, maintaining an active research laboratory within the NIH intramural program in addition to his administrative duties. Dr. Tabak is an elected member the National Academy of Medicine (formerly IOM) of the National Academies. He received his undergraduate degree from City College of New York, his D.D.S. from Columbia University, and a Ph.D. from the University of Buffalo.
Debara L. Tucci, M.D., M.S., M.B.A., F.A.C.S.
Director, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health
Dr. Debara Tucci is Director of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders at the National Institutes of Health, a position she has held since September 2019. Prior to coming to NIH, Dr. Tucci was a longtime faculty member at Duke University, in the Department of Head and Neck Surgery & Communication Sciences. Dr. Tucci's research has focused on understanding the biological effects of hearing loss in animal models, and on treatment of otologic disease, including with cochlear implantation. She partnered with the Duke Clinical Research Institute and colleagues at Duke to develop a national practice-based research network, and led a research team that implemented and studied outcomes and cost-benefit of adult hearing screening in primary care clinics at Duke. She has trained and mentored many resident physicians, junior faculty, and graduate students, both informally and through development of formal research training and mentoring programs. Current work as co-chair of the Lancet Commission on Global Hearing Loss allows her to pursue her passion for understanding and impacting hearing loss disability in diverse and underserved populations worldwide.
Larry Wexler, Ed.D.
Director, Research to Practice Division, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education
Dr. Larry Wexler has been a special educator for 50 years as a teacher of students with significant disabilities, principal, state specialist for intellectual disabilities, chief of staff for the State Director of Special Education, director of state monitoring, Office of Special Education Program (OSEP) project officer, Deputy Director of the Monitoring and State Improvement Planning Division, and Associate Division Director responsible for OSEP's National Initiatives Team. Dr. Wexler is currently the Director of OSEP's Research to Practice Division where he manages the IDEA $260 million discretionary grants program. In addition, he has represented the Department of Education on the Council of UNESCO's International Bureau of Education, led UNICEF-sponsored delegations to South Africa and Lesotho and currently represents the Department of Education on the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee and serves as the Department of Education's policy expert on restraint and seclusion. He holds a doctorate with a concentration in severe disabilities from the Johns Hopkins University.
Nicole Williams, Ph.D.
Program Manager, Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, U.S. Department of Defense
Dr. Nicole Williams is a Program Manager for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) at the Department of Defense (DOD). She manages the Autism Research Program (ARP) and Pancreatic Cancer Research Program (PCARP). She leads the complete research program life cycle for both programs to invest over $20M annually in Congressional appropriations. Previously she was a Science Officer for CDMRP. She previously served as a federal member of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, as well as on the Federal Interagency Working Group on Autism. Dr. Williams received her Ph.D. with honors in Chemistry from Loyola University.
Taryn Mackenzie Williams, M.A.
Assistant Secretary, Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor
Taryn Mackenzie Williams, M.Ed. is the Assistant Secretary for the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). She advises the Secretary of Labor on how the Department’s policies and programs impact the employment of people with disabilities and leads the ODEP. Previously, Ms. Williams was the managing director for the Poverty to Prosperity Program at American Progress, which works on progressive policies focused on a broad range of anti-poverty strategies. Before joining American Progress, she worked at ODEP on a variety of issues related to education, workforce policy, Social Security, Medicaid, and civil rights. In her role as director of youth policy, Ms. Williams led agency efforts to coordinate education and employment policy in support of improved labor force outcomes for disabled youth. From 2014 through 2016, Williams served as ODEP’s chief of staff. She also undertook detail assignments as associate director for public engagement and liaison to the disability community at the White House from 2014 through 2015 and as a policy adviser on the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions from 2012 through 2013. Prior to joining the federal government, Ms. Williams worked as the research coordinator for leadership programs at the Institute for Educational Leadership and as the director of programs at the National Association of Urban Debate Leagues headquartered in Chicago. She holds a bachelor’s degree in public policy from Brown University and a master’s degree in education with a concentration in administration, planning, and social policy from Harvard University.
Richard Woychik, Ph.D.
Director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences; Director, National Toxicology Program, National Institutes of Health
Dr. Richard Woychik is the Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) and the National Toxicology Program (NTP). In these roles, he oversees federal funding for biomedical research to discover how the environment influences human health and disease. Prior to becoming Director, Dr. Woychik served as Deputy Director of NIEHS. As a mammalian geneticist, Dr. Woychik has had a number of noteworthy accomplishments. His laboratory was the first to clone and characterize the gene called agouti, which provided molecular insights into obesity and the satiety response in the brain. Additionally, his laboratory was the first to identify a gene mutation associated with polycystic kidney disease. Recently, his research program has been focused on investigating the molecular mechanisms associated with how environmental agents influence the epigenetic control of gene expression. Dr. Woychik previously served as president and CEO of Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine, and functioned as the director of the laboratory's NCI designated Cancer Center. Prior to leading the Jackson Laboratory, Dr. Woychik held positions in both academia and industry: chief scientific officer for Lynx Therapeutics; head of the Parke-Davis Laboratory of Molecular Genetics; professor within the Departments of Pediatrics, Genetics and Pharmacology at the Case Western Reserve University; and senior research scientist at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Dr. Woychik completed his B.S. and M.S. at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and earned his Ph.D. in molecular biology at Case Western Reserve University in 1984. He completed his postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School.
Maria Mercedes Avila, Ph.D., M.S.W., M.Ed.
- Parent, Researcher
Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics; Director, Vermont LEND Program, Larner College of Medicine, University of Vermont
Dr. Maria Mercedes Avila joined the IACC as a public member in 2021. She holds an appointment as an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics in the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont. She is the Director of the Vermont Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (VT LEND) Program, an interprofessional maternal and child health leadership training program. She is a member of the Vermont Governor's Racial Equity Task Force, the Vermont Governor's Children and Family Council for Prevention Programs, and the Vermont Green Mountain Care Board nominating committee. Dr. Avila has been involved in more than twenty HRSA, PCORI, SAMHSA, ACL, and OMH grants. Since 2011, she has been invited to lead 58 national presentations and keynotes and more than 150 regional sessions on topics related to National CLAS Standards, health disparities research, social justice in health care, culturally responsive care and practice, social determinants of health, and structural competence and cultural humility. Dr. Avila holds a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, Master's degrees in Educational Leadership and in Social Work, and Graduate Certificates in Diversity, Inclusion, and Social Justice and in Interdisciplinary Study of Disabilities. Dr. Avila recently completed a Harvard Medical School Program in Refugee Trauma Mastery Certificate in Global Mental Health. Dr. Avila is mother to a son on the autism spectrum.
Alice Carter, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Massachusetts Boston
Dr. Alice Carter is a Professor in the Psychology Department at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Trained as a clinical psychologist, Dr. Carter's work focuses on young children's development in the context of family relationships, with an emphasis on the early identification of psychopathology and neurodevelopmental disorders and factors that place children at risk for difficulties in social and emotional development. Her first faculty position was in the Department of Psychology at Yale University with a joint appointment at the Yale Child Study Center. Dr. Carter is an author or co-author of over 250 articles and chapters, a member of the Zero to Three DC:0-5 Task Force, co-editor of the Handbook of Infant, Toddler, and Preschool Mental Health Assessment (Second Edition) with Rebecca Del Carmen, Ph.D., and co-author of the Infant-Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment (ITSEA) and the Brief Infant-Toddler Social and Emotional Assessment (BITSEA) with Margaret Briggs-Gowan, Ph.D. Dr. Carter is currently evaluating the effectiveness of a naturalistic developmental behavioral intervention for young children with early signs of autism designed specifically for Part C Early Intervention settings. She has conducted trainings on assessment of infant, toddler, and preschool mental health and early detection of autism spectrum disorders nationally and internationally. Dr. Carter completed her undergraduate work at Cornell University in Human Development and Family Studies, her graduate training in Clinical Psychology at the University of Houston, and her clinical internship and postdoctoral training in Developmental Psychopathology at the Yale Child Study Center.
Sam Crane, J.D.
- Self-Advocate, Advocate
Legal Director, Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities
Samantha Crane, J.D. joined the IACC as a public member in 2015. Ms. Sam Crane is a self-advocate and the Legal Director at Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities. A graduate of Harvard Law School, Ms. Crane previously was legal director at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. She also served as staff attorney at the Bazelon Center of Mental Health Law, focusing on enforcing the right to community integration as established by the Supreme Court in Olmstead v. L.C., and as an associate at the litigation firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart, & Sullivan, L.L.P., where she focused on patent and securities litigation. From 2009 to 2010, Ms. Crane served as law clerk to the Honorable Judge William H. Yohn at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.
Aisha Dickerson, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University
Dr. Aisha S. Dickerson is Assistant Professor of Epidemiology and a Bloomberg Assistant Professor of American Health in Environmental Challenges at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is an environmental neuroepidemiologist with primary research interests in environmental risk factors for neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders, including autism spectrum disorder, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and dementia. She currently serves as Principal Investigator on an NIH-supported research grant on parental occupational exposures and risk of autism spectrum disorder in offsprings in Denmark. Additionally, she investigates the influence of disparities in autism assessment and service provision along with environmental justice issues in underserved communities. Dr. Dickerson holds a B.S. in Biology and M.S.P.H. in Epidemiology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham and a Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. She received a year of postdoctoral training at the US Environmental Protection Agency before completing a postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.
Dena Gassner, M.S.W.
- Researcher, Self-Advocate, Parent
Ph.D. Candidate in Social Work, Adelphi University; Adjunct Professor, Department of Health Sciences, Towson University
Ms. Dena Gassner is co-chair of the Autistic Researcher Committee for the International Society for Autism Research. She currently serves on the University of Cincinnati Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Center for Dignity in Healthcare for People with Disabilities. She is a member of the Autistic Researcher Review Board for the Autism Intervention Research Network in Physical Health (AIR-P) and a member of the AIR-P Gender, Sexuality, and Reproductive Health Node. She has provided consultative support for two SIGs (Special Interest Groups) for INSAR and helped to reconstruct how SIGs are done. She coordinated this year's first scheduled SIG at INSAR - "Building on the Strengths of Autistic Scholars by Addressing Systemic Barriers to Autistic Success in Academia". Before joining IACC, Ms. Gassner provided key testimony to the IACC on suicidal ideation and self-harm in autism, served on the IACC Mental Health Workgroup, and spoke as a panelist for the 2019 NIMH Autism Awareness Month special event on girls and women on the autism spectrum. She is in her seventh year on the National Board of Directors of the Arc US. Having served four years as the chair and co-chair of the National Council of Self-Advocates (NCSA) and six years working with the Policy Committee, she is now shifting to the Access, Equity and Inclusion Committee. Ms. Gassner has published multiple book chapters and journal articles and has presented across the globe on topics such as autism and aging, disparities for autistic women, and autistic motherhood/reproductive healthcare access. Ms. Gassner is a self-advocate and mother of an adult son on the autism spectrum.
Morénike Giwa Onaiwu, M.A.
- Self-Advocate, Parent, Advocate
Equity, Justice, and Representation Executive Committee Chair, Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network; Humanities Scholar, Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Rice University
Mx. Morénike Giwa Onaiwu (she/they) is an autism self-advocate and parent of several children, including an autistic son and daughter. Mx. Giwa Onaiwu is an educator, social scientist/activist, and consultant whose work focuses on disability justice, intersectionality, meaningful community involvement, human rights, and inclusion. Mx. Giwa Onaiwu is a Humanities Scholar at Rice University in the Center for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality. Mx. Giwa Onaiwu is also the Equity, Justice, and Representation Consultant for the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network and has served on numerous national and global committees, including consecutive terms chairing NIH and HRSA-funded collaborative workgroups. Mx. Giwa Onaiwu is an award-winning public speaker and writer who has written for and/or been featured in numerous articles, books, and other traditional and digital platforms, often drawing from both professional knowledge as well as personal experiences as a late-diagnosed autistic non-binary woman of color and an autistic parent of autistic and non-autistic children in a multicultural, serodifferent, neurodiverse family. Mx. Giwa Onaiwu's board membership includes the Autistic Researcher Review Board (ARRB) of the Autism Intervention Research Network for Physical Health at UCLA, Foundations for Divergent Minds, National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities at Brandeis University, and Institute for Exceptional Care. Mx. Giwa Onaiwu earned an M.A. in Special Education with a concentration in autism and developmental disabilities from the University of Texas Permian Basin in 2014 and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. from University of East Anglia.
Alycia Halladay, Ph.D.
- Parent, Researcher, Advocate
Chief Science Officer, Autism Science Foundation; Adjunct Faculty, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, Rutgers University
Dr. Alycia Halladay is the Chief Science Officer for the Autism Science Foundation (ASF), where she oversees scientific activities, grants, and initiatives. ASF focuses on investments in early career researchers to improve scientific discovery while training the next generation of scientists using cutting-edge technologies. These awards include pre- and post-doctoral fellowships, undergraduate awards, COVID-19 research grants, the Autism Sisters Project, the Baby Siblings Research Consortium, and the Alliance for the Genetic Etiologies of Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Autism. ASF also provides outreach and communication support to the Autism BrainNet, helping explain the importance of this program to families and individuals with ASD. Dr. Halladay also produces a weekly podcast aimed at explaining scientific information to the public. Prior to joining ASF in 2014, Dr. Halladay served as Senior Director of Clinical and Environmental Sciences at Autism Speaks. There, she helped lead the "Early Access to Care" Initiative, which aimed to lower the age of diagnosis for autism and improve access to evidence based services. She also managed the environmental science portfolio and the worked closely with event organizers to communicate science to the public. Dr. Halladay also serves as President of the Board of Directors for the Phelan McDermid Syndrome Foundation. In 2001, Dr. Halladay received a Ph.D. in biopsychology from Rutgers University, where she still holds a faculty appointment. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in 2004. Dr. Halladay has a 10-year-old daughter who is on the autism spectrum.
Craig Johnson, B.A.
- Parent, Advocate
Founder and President, Champions Foundation
Craig Johnson is the father of a teen son on the autism spectrum and an author and advocate for people with disabilities. He currently serves as an Associate Pastor at Lakewood Church in Houston and as the Founder and President of the Champions Foundation and Champions Club developmental centers for special needs children with over 95 centers across the world. Pastor Johnson is the co-author of "Champions Curriculum", a full scope Christian curriculum for special needs children, as well as other curricula and resources. He is the author of Lead Vertically: Inspire People to Volunteer and Build Great Teams That Last and Champion: How One Boy's Journey Through Autism Is Changing the World. Pastor Johnson and Samantha, his wife of 30 years, co-wrote the new children's book You Are Extraordinary. Pastor Johnson travels and speaks across the world advocating for the forgotten and disenfranchised. He has been accepted as a graduate student at the University of Houston pursuing a Master's degree in special populations. Pastor Johnson and Samantha have three children: Cory, Courtney, and Connor.
Yetta Myrick, B.A.
- Parent, Advocate
Founder and President, DC Autism Parents
Ms. Yetta Myrick is the mother of teenage son diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disability. She is the Founder and President of DC Autism Parents, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in the District of Columbia (DC), where she oversees daily operations and has created programs for children and youth diagnosed with autism and their families. Ms. Myrick has served as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Act Early Ambassador to Washington, DC, since 2016. She is leading the DC Act Early COVID-19 Response Team Project funded by the CDC and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities. Ms. Myrick was the Community Outreach Coordinator at the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders (CASD) at Children's National from 2016 to 2020, where she worked with the research team to engage the local autism community. From 2013 to 2017, Ms. Myrick served as the Stakeholder Advisory Board Chair for CASD's Patient-Centered Outcome Research Institute (PCORI) Grant, "A Community-Based Executive Function Intervention for Low Income Children with ADHD and ASD Research Project". In 2019, she was appointed by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to serve as a member of the DC Developmental Disabilities Council and is a member of the Got Transition® National Family Health Care Transition Advisory Group. Ms. Myrick holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from the Catholic University of America.
Lindsey Nebeker, B.A.
- Self-Advocate, Advocate, Family Member
Freelance Presenter/Trainer; Development Specialist, Autism Society of America
Ms. Lindsey Nebeker works as a freelance presenter/trainer, and she is on the national staff at the Autism Society of America. She was born in Tokyo, Japan, and spent the first eleven years of her life residing there with her family. She received her autism diagnosis at age 2 from the UCLA Department of Psychiatry. Ms. Nebeker is also sibling to an autistic adult with high-support needs. Through her family experience, she is especially focused on improving access to communication and community services and recognizing autistics and their caregivers who rely on significant support. Over the past decade, Ms. Nebeker has served on several boards and advisory panels for organizations such as the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network, Felicity House, and the Autism NOW Center. When she is not reporting to her full-time job positions, you can find her engaged in her passions of traveling, Japanese culture, documenting her life through photography, and composing pieces on her 1909 Steinway. Ms. Nebeker holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Technology (minor in Photography) and a certificate for the Partners in Policymaking Advocacy Leadership Training Program.
Jenny Mai Phan, Ph.D.
- Self-Advocate, Parent, Researcher
Research Post-Doctoral Fellow, Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders, Children’s National Hospital
Dr. Jenny Mai Phan joined the IACC as a public member in 2021. Dr. Phan is a NINDS-funded T32 postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at Children’s National Hospital. She completed a NICHD-funded T32 postdoctoral fellowship in the Waisman Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison between 2020-2022. Dr. Phan is an autistic researcher who studies autism and co-occurring mental health symptoms in adolescents. Her current research interests include investigating underlying biopsychosocial mechanisms of early and delayed pubertal development, as well as the influence of sexual health education, and how these impact on autistic adolescents’ mental health and wellbeing. From 2015-2020, Dr. Phan served on the Iowa Autism Council, where she, as a parent of four with two boys on the autism spectrum with co-occurring conditions, provided counsel on priorities of resources and services allocation across the state of Iowa. She also serves as Executive Secretary on the Psychology Interest Network at the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. By training, Dr. Phan earned a B.S. in psychology at the University of New Orleans and a M.S. and Ph.D. in human development and family studies at Iowa State University with a concentration in biopsychology and adolescent development.
Joseph Piven, M.D.
Thomas E. Castelloe Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics; Director, University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
Dr. Joseph Piven is an active clinician and the Thomas E. Castelloe Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). Dr. Piven is the director of multiple organizations, including the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD), a comprehensive institute for services, research, and training in neurodevelopmental disorders; the North Carolina University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), funded by the Department of Health and Human Services and Administration for Community Living; and one of 14 NICHD-funded Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers. He directs an NIH-funded postdoctoral research training program in neurodevelopmental disorders at UNC and has been the Principal Investigator of an NIH-funded Autism Center of Excellence Network study of brain development in infants at risk for autism for 15 years. Dr. Piven is the founding Editor of the Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders. His research is focused on the pathogenesis of autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders. Dr. Piven received his M.D. degree from the University of Maryland in 1981 and completed training in general and child and adolescent psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He continued in research training in the genetics of neurobehavioral disorders during a postdoctoral John Merck Fellowship at Johns Hopkins with Dr. Susan Folstein, and he was part of the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Iowa from 1990 through 1999.
JaLynn R. Prince, B.F.A.
- Parent, Advocate
Co-Founder, President, and Chair, Madison House Autism Foundation
Ms. JaLynn Prince came to the autism arena in order to advocate for her son Madison, now in his thirties, before autism was on the public radar. She and her husband Dr. Gregory A. Prince, a noted virologist, founded one of the only organizations to address broadly, yet comprehensively, the lifespan issues of autism after the age of 21. Ms. Prince heads Madison House Autism Foundation (MHAF) and consults with numerous advisors, many of whom are on the Foundation's advisory board and consults with others from universities, companies, organizations, and individuals with autism across the country and internationally. In turn she has conferred and advised on projects and innovations in Uganda, Myanmar, India, the United Kingdom, Guatemala, Lithuania, Poland and the United States. MHAF's initiatives include Autism After and the Autism Housing Network (AHN). AHN was also co-publisher, co-editor, and co-author of A Place in the World: Fueling Housing and Community Options for Adults with Autism and Other Neurodiversities. MHAF has also launched a statewide pilot, Autism After 21 Utah Blueprint Initiative, on adult autism, inclusion, and community building. Mrs. Prince has served on many university boards and advisories, including the Johns Hopkins University School of Education, University of Utah Library, Utah Valley University, Brigham Young University Management Society, Southern Virginia University, and Utah State University. She is, or has, served on the boards of the REACH Institute, Operation KIDS, Rising Star Outreach, and the International Center for Conciliation, Royal Society of Medicine, and many others.
Susan Rivera, Ph.D.
Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology; Professor, MIND Institute, University of California, Davis
Dr. Susan Rivera is Professor and Chair of the Psychology department at the University of California, Davis, and a faculty member of the UC Davis MIND Institute and the Center for Mind and Brain. She has conducted scientific research on autism and other developmental disorders for twenty years. Her scientific work uses brain imaging (EEG/ERP and functional and structural MRI) and eye tracking techniques to investigate questions about how underlying brain activity and behavior supports the development of skills (i.e., attention, visual perception, face processing, sensory processing and emotion regulation) necessary for adaptive cognitive and social-emotional well-being. In addition to this scientific work, she is also devoted to championing the tenets of neurodiversity and advocacy to the public and the academic community.
Matthew Siegel, M.D.
Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, Tufts University School of Medicine; Vice President of Medical Affairs, Developmental Disorders Service Line, Maine Behavioral Healthcare
Dr. Matthew Siegel is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics of Tufts University School of Medicine, Vice President of Medical Affairs, Developmental Disorders Service Line of Maine Behavioral Healthcare, and Faculty Scientist at the Maine Medical Center Research Institute. Dr. Siegel attended Amherst College and Stanford Medical School and trained at Brown University in child psychiatry, psychiatry, and pediatrics. He is the Principal Investigator and Director of the Autism and Developmental Disorders Inpatient Research Collaborative (ADDIRC), a network of specialized child psychiatry units performing studies of children severely affected by autism and intellectual disability. Dr. Siegel has developed a widely recognized continuum of care and clinical research focused on treatment of serious challenging behaviors in youth with autism and related disorders. He is a co-author of the American Academy of Child Psychiatry's Practice Parameter on the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder and the Parameter for the Assessment and Treatment of Psychiatric Disorders in Children and Adolescents with Intellectual Disability.
Ivanova Smith, B.A.
- Self-Advocate, Advocate
Self-Advocate Faculty, Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities, University of Washington
Ms. Ivanova Smith was born in Latvia and spent the first five-and-a-half years of her life in an institution there before immigrating to the United States. Ms. Smith is a person with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD). She is married and has two young children. She is in addition an activist and advocate for employment for people with disabilities. Her advocacy includes meeting and testifying before the Washington State Legislature and frequent speaking engagements and presentations. She works as a faculty member for the University of Washington's Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) Department. Ms. Smith is the Chair of Self-Advocates in Leadership (SAIL) and a member and President of the Pierce County Chapter of People First of Washington. She lives with her family in Tacoma, Washington.
- Self-Advocate, Advocate
Student, University of California, Berkeley; Senior Staff Writer, The Daily Californian
Mr. Hari Srinivasan is a minimally speaking autistic student at UC Berkeley, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Disability Studies, and a member of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest academic honor society. As a recently selected Haas Scholar at UC Berkeley, Mr. Srinivasan will be carrying out a year-long research project to improve the coping toolbox for autistics. Mr. Srinivasan is the lead student instructor for a weekly class on autism, creating and teaching content that covers a myriad of issues across the lifespan. As a student journalist at The Daily Californian, he has written over 50 articles on both disability and non-disability topics. He heads Team Propaganda at the UC Berkeley Disability Lab, which hacks low cost solutions for a wide range of disabilities. He has been a research assistant at the university Psychology Labs on projects related to mental health, ADHD, and sleep. He also served as the first non-speaking autistic student president of the campus organization Autism: Spectrum at Cal, stressing the idea of autism needing to go beyond mere Awareness, Acceptance, and Inclusion and towards Belonging. His other affiliations include Board member and Whistleblower Compliance Officer for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, Council of Autistic Advisors for the Autism Society of America, and a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at the Frist Center for Autism and Innovation at Vanderbilt University.
Helen Tager-Flusberg, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences; Director, Center for Autism Research Excellence, Boston University
Dr. Helen Tager-Flusberg is Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences and Director of the Center for Autism Research Excellence at Boston University. She has devoted her career to conducting research on autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders exploring variability in phenotypic expression, investigating developmental and intervention-based changes in language and social cognition using behavioral and brain imaging methodologies, and developing new measures to assess language across the full range of the autism spectrum. Her research has been funded by NIH, other government agencies, and private foundations, and she has led several NIH multi-site multidisciplinary autism research programs: Collaborative Programs of Excellence in Autism (CPEA), Studies to Advance Autism Research & Treatment (STAART), and Autism Centers of Excellence (ACE). She has edited seven books and written over 250 journal articles and book chapters. She is the Past President of INSAR (2011-2013) and received the INSAR Lifetime Achievement Award in 2021 for her lasting contributions to research on autism.
Julie Lounds Taylor, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics; Investigator, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Dr. Julie Lounds Taylor joined the IACC as a public member in 2015. She is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics, with a secondary appointment in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She is also an Investigator at the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, a Eunice Kennedy Shriver Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center, where she serves as Associate Director of the Biostatistics and Bioinformatics Core E. Her research focuses on understanding factors that promote positive outcomes for autistic adults and their families, particularly during the transition to adulthood. Dr. Taylor's research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, Autism Speaks, the FAR fund, and the U.S. Department of Defense. She currently directs a randomized controlled trial testing a parent advocacy intervention to improve service access for autistic youth who are transitioning to adulthood, a longitudinal study of precursors and consequences of employment stability for adults on the autism spectrum, and a study of the day-to-day experiences that are associated with depression among autistic youth. Dr. Taylor has consulted on several federal committees, reports, and activities focused on the transition to adulthood for autistic youth, and she was the 2014 recipient of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Early Career Award. Dr. Taylor earned her B.A. in Psychology from Wheaton College and her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Notre Dame. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Waisman Center, Lifespan Family Research Laboratory, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Paul Wang, M.D.
Deputy Director, Clinical Research Associates, LLC, Simons Foundation; Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, Yale University School of Medicine
Dr. Paul Wang is a developmental behavioral pediatrician whose familiarity with ASD draws from hundreds of personal relationships with individuals affected by ASD, including patients, their families, research subjects, work colleagues, and other self-advocates. His professional experience spans academia, industry, advocacy, and non-profit science funding. Dr. Wang's professional career began at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where he participated in the care of hundreds of families with autism and related conditions and led a research lab focused on language and memory development. He subsequently worked in the pharmaceutical and biotech industries, designing and directing some of the largest randomized controlled trials to date in autism and in fragile X syndrome. Dr. Wang worked in science funding and science communication as Senior Vice President at Autism Speaks before joining the Simons Foundation in 2016. As Deputy Director of Clinical Research there, his remit broadly spans clinical and translational research on ASD, with a particular focus on clinical trial design issues, and the development of biomarkers and outcome measures for clinical trials. Dr. Wang appreciates the broad range of perspectives, needs, and goals within the ASD community. He is passionate in his desire to help find new and more effective supports for this diverse community.
Stephen Whitlow, J.D.
- Parent, Advocate
Executive Director, Transition Services, Merakey
Mr. Stephen Whitlow is husband to Sharon and father of Sarah, Sam, and Jackson. Before his work in transition services, Mr. Whitlow practiced law with a defense litigation firm, served as an administrator of a small private school for two years, and then returned to law. After a disappointing meeting about post-school services for their autistic son, Mr. and Mrs. Whitlow founded the non-profit Gateway Transition Center, which provided transition services to young adults with autism. In 2018, Merakey assumed the Gateway Transition programs and retained Mr. Whitlow to serve as its Transition Director for the Children's Division. Currently, the Division's mission is to create models for transition services in Baton Rouge that can be replicate in other communities. Merakey Gateway has developed the transition house model as a stepping-stone for individuals seeking independence. The transition home has private bedrooms to permit independent living but will also provide a house manager to guide and support residents as they strive for self-sufficiency. This house and related transition services will create a pathway of services for families dealing with autism, from diagnosis to independence. Mr. Whitlow also works to create transition services which braid available funding streams into coherent pathways for families. These services require the cooperation of schools, programs, and government agencies for the benefit of families of individuals on the autism spectrum. Mr. Whitlow graduated in 1989 from Louisiana State University with a degree in Business Administration and in 1992 from the Paul M. Hebert School of Law at LSU.
Courtney Ferrell Aklin, Ph.D. (for Lawrence A. Tabak, D.D.S, Ph.D.)
Acting Associate Deputy Director, National Institutes of Health
Dr. Courtney Ferrell Aklin serves as the Acting Associate Deputy Director of NIH. She also is a Senior Advisor within the Immediate Office of the Director (IMOD), where she is responsible for advising on a broad array of complex and sensitive issues, strategic interactions, and management leading to the effective and efficient operation of the IMOD. Prior to this, Dr. Aklin served as the Chief of Staff at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. As the Chief of Staff, she developed and implemented strategic initiatives to fulfill the Institute's mission, while also overseeing communications, outreach, and legislative activities. Dr. Aklin has over 15 years of research administration and leadership experience at NIH. At the National Institute on Neurological Disorders and Stroke, she designed and managed programs to augment emerging neuroscience research programs at universities and medical schools committed to increasing diversity in the biomedical workforce. Before her work at NINDS, Dr. Aklin was Assistant Director of Training and Director of the Fear and Anxiety research portfolio within the Division of Developmental Translational Research at the National Institute of Mental Health. Dr. Aklin came to NIH in 2004 as an American Association for the Advancement of Sciences Science & Technology Policy Fellow to work on activities related to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee. Dr. Aklin is a licensed Clinical Psychologist with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park and a B.A. in business administration and psychology from the University of Richmond.
Thyria Alvarez, M.S.W. (for Teresa Souza, Ph.D.)
Social Science Analyst, Office of Policy Development and Research, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Ms. Alvarez serves as a social science analyst within the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Office of Policy Development and Research. Ms. Alvarez joined the Policy Development Division in 2020 to support the Department's research agenda to report on current trends of housing instability and evaluate the effectiveness of programs aimed to reduce housing instability and prevent homelessness. Ms. Alvarez co-authors the Worst Case Housing Needs Report to Congress. Prior to joining HUD, Ms. Alvarez worked for Abt Associates Inc., where she supported evaluation studies of HUD Programs. Ms. Alvarez also provided technical assistance to HUD programs and to the Government of the Dominican Republic to enroll people living with HIV in the public healthcare system, through the USAID's Health Finance and Governance Project. At Abt, Ms. Alvarez collaborated in the quantitative and qualitative components of the evaluation of HUD's Supportive Services Demonstration. She also collaborated in the Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress. Prior to working for Abt Associates Inc., Ms. Alvarez worked for the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. At the beginning of her career, Ms. Alvarez also served as a case manager to prevent and treat child abuse and neglect in vulnerable families, including families with children with disabilities. Ms. Alvarez earned a Bachelor of Social Work degree at the University of Missouri-Columbia, and a master's degree in Social Work from Washington University in Saint Louis with a concertation in Social and Economic Development and Mental Health, and a specialization in Research.
Leola Brooks, M.S. (for Alison R. Marvin, Ph.D.)
Social Insurance Specialist, Social Security Administration
Ms. Leola Brooks serves as the Senior Advisor and Liaison to other offices located within the Social Security Administration, to support disability research efforts. She represents the Office of Research, and Demonstration, the Office of Research, Demonstration, and Employment Support located within the Office of Retirement and Disability Policy. She serves on numerous interagency groups including the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID), Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs, Interagency Disability Policy Group (DPG) and the Coordinating Council on Access and Mobility's federal work group on Interagency collaboration. Prior to federal service, she managed and developed disability-related programs for the District of Columbia. She has a B.S. degree in dual majors of Rehabilitation and Psychology from Springfield College, Springfield, Massachusetts and a M.S. degree in Education/Rehabilitation Counseling from the George Washington University, Washington, DC.
Amanda B. Bryans, M.S. (for Dayana Garcia, M.Ed.)
Education and Research to Practice Supervisor, Office of Head Start, Administration for Children and Families
Ms. Amanda Bryans has worked in the Administration for Children and Families, Department of Health and Human Services since 1999. During that time, she has led efforts to improve the quality and effectiveness of program services through regulations, research, program monitoring, and training and technical assistance. She currently leads the Office of Head Start's work on school readiness and research to practice. In addition to early childhood education and research, her expertise includes inclusion and transportation services. Amanda has a B.S. from Cornell University in Human Development and Family Studies and an M.S. from the State University of New York at Albany in Educational Psychology, Measurement and Statistics. She has worked for Head Start for over 30 years including five years as a Disabilities Services and Education Coordinator, and five years as the Director of the Head Start program in Albany, NY.
Judith A. Cooper, Ph.D. (for Debara L. Tucci, M.D., M.S., M.B.A., F.A.C.S.)
Deputy Director, National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders, National Institutes of Health
Dr. Judith Cooper is currently Deputy Director of the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders at the NIH. In addition, she serves as Director, Division of Scientific Programs, within NIDCD. She has programmatic responsibilities for the areas of language, language impairments, and language in deaf individuals. Dr. Cooper's current responsibilities include overseeing and coordinating the activities of her division; advising within NIDCD and across the NIH regarding issues related to language and language disorders; participating in trans-NIH initiatives focused in language as well as autism; and, working with potential and funded researchers in language across the US and beyond, providing advice, direction, and encouragement related to research grant focus, development and preparation. She received her B.F.A. at Southern Methodist University in 1971 with a major in Speech-Language Pathology, her M.S. in Speech-Language Pathology at Vanderbilt University in 1972, and her Ph.D. at the University of Washington in 1982 in Speech and Hearing Sciences. She was elected a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association in 2006 and received the Honors of the Association in 2007.
Rebecca Dzubow, M.E.M., M.P.H. (for Elaine Cohen Hubal, Ph.D.)
Regulatory Support and Science Policy Division Director, Office of Children’s Health Protection, US Environmental Protection Agency
Rebecca Dzubow is the Director of the Regulatory Support and Science Policy Division in the Office of Children’s Health Protection (OCHP) at Environmental Protection Agency. OCHP’s mission is to ensure that environmental exposures occurring early in life are considered during EPA’s development of actions, regulations, assessments, methods and policies. Prior to this, she was a Health Scientist in OCHP and in EPA’s Office of Research and Development, served on the EPA’s Risk Assessment Forum as the Chair of the Human Health Oversight Committee, was a Brookings Institution LEGIS Congressional Fellow at the US Congress, and an Association of Schools of Public Health Fellow at EPA. Ms. Dzubow received her Master of Environmental Studies (M.E.M.) from Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies and Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) from Yale School of Epidemiology and Public Health.
Melissa L. Harris, B.S. (for Jodie Sumeracki, B.A.)
Deputy Director, Disabled and Elderly Health Programs Group, Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services
Ms. Melissa Harris was formerly the CMS representative to the IACC since 2015. Ms. Harris has worked in the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services' Disabled and Elderly Health Programs Group since its inception in 1997, serving in various positions including the Director of the Division of Benefits and Coverage, Senior Policy Advisor, Deputy Group Director, and most recently, a temporary position of Acting Director. In these capacities, Ms. Harris has overseen the development and implementation of many Medicaid coverage policies, including for individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Ms. Harris has extensive experience in implementation of the Medicaid home and community-based settings regulation, and Medicaid's coverage requirements for individuals under the age of 21.
Alice Kau, Ph.D. (for Diana W. Bianchi, M.D.)
Health Scientist Administrator, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health
Dr. Alice Kau joined the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Branch as a Health Scientist Administrator in June 2003. Dr. Kau is responsible for the Branch's Bio-behavioral Research Program with emphasis on autism research. She also serves as a key member of the autism and behavioral science research communities on behalf of the Branch and assists in formulating and planning activities of these programs. Dr. Kau received her doctorate in developmental psychology from Ohio State University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in clinical psychology at the Department of Pediatrics at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Prior to coming to the NICHD, Dr. Kau was an assistant professor of psychology at the Kennedy Krieger Institute, Johns Hopkins University.
Christy Kavulic, Ed.D. (for Larry Wexler, Ed.D.)
Associate Division Director, Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education
Christy Kavulic is the Associate Division Director of the Early Childhood Team in the Office of Special Education Programs in the U.S. Department of Education. In this position, she oversees the development and management of discretionary grants funded under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act that prepare an effective early childhood workforce; support the implementation of evidence-practices; and support high-quality early childhood systems at the State and local levels. She also supports collaboration with other federal partners to ensure that infants, toddlers, and preschool children with disabilities and their families have access to and full participation in high-quality early childhood programs and services. She has a master's degree in speech-language pathology and a doctorate in early childhood special education.
Walter J. Koroshetz, M.D. (for Nina Schor, M.D., Ph.D.)
Director, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health
Dr. Walter Koroshetz joined the IACC as a Federal member in 2009. He is Director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). He directs the NINDS planning and budgeting and oversees Institute scientific and administrative functions. Prior to his appointment as Director in July 2015 he served for eight years as Deputy Director at NINDS. Before joining NINDS, Dr. Koroshetz served as Vice Chair of the Neurology Service and Director of Stroke and Neurointensive Care Services at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). He was also a Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and led neurology resident training at MGH between 1990 and 2007. Dr. Koroshetz trained in internal medicine and then neurology at MGH, after which he did post-doctoral studies in cellular neurophysiology at MGH and the Harvard neurobiology department. He joined the MGH neurology staff, first in the Huntington's disease unit and then in the stroke and neuro-intensive care service. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Dr. Koroshetz graduated from Georgetown University and received his medical degree from the University of Chicago.
Cindy Lawler, Ph.D. (for Richard Woychik, Ph.D.)
Chief, Genes, Environment, and Health Branch, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Institutes of Health
Dr. Cindy Lawler is Chief of the Genes Environment and Health Branch in the Extramural Division of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. She provides leadership and oversight for a diverse program of research grants and cooperative agreements to understand how environmental chemicals affect the function of molecules, cells, organs, and organ systems and how those changes may contribute to complex human diseases. The role of epigenomics, gene-environment interaction and microbiome in exposure-related diseases are important areas of focus. Dr. Lawler administers a national grants program to understand environmental contributors to autism and provides leadership in planning, development, and evaluation of research initiatives in this area. She works closely with her program colleagues at other NIH institutes that support autism research to ensure coordination of efforts and to develop new autism activities and initiatives in areas of joint interest. Prior to joining NIEHS, Dr. Lawler completed a postdoctoral NICHD-funded fellowship in Behavioral Neuroscience and Molecular Pharmacology at the Brain and Development Research Center at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. Following her fellowship, Dr. Lawler was employed as a Research Assistant Professor and held appointments in the Departments of Psychiatry, Biostatistics and the Program in Toxicology at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She was the Principal Investigator on a NIMH-funded study of the mechanisms underlying the selective activation of a subtype of dopamine receptors observed with a new structural class of agonists. Dr. Lawler received her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts.
Scott Patterson, Ph.D., HSPP (for Matthew Miller, Ph.D., M.P.H.)
Clinical Psychologist, Richard L. Roudebush Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Veterans Health Administration, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
Dr. Scott Patterson is a licensed clinical psychologist and has operated as a facility Local Recovery Coordinator for the Department of Veterans Affairs - Veterans Health Indiana system since 2009. In his role, he operates as the lead staff consultant tasked with modernizing and improving the quality of mental health care across a large VA hospital system. Dr. Patterson's interest areas include evidence-based approaches to treatment of individuals living with high functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), system-based recovery approaches for Veterans living with Severe Mental Illness, and promotion of modern models of therapeutic peer support. Dr. Patterson is the lead ASD evaluator for his facility and specializes in differential diagnosis of Veterans with ASD.
Amanda Reichard, Ph.D. (for Jennifer Johnson, Ed.D.)
Project Officer, National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research, Administration for Community Living
Dr. Amanda Reichard is a Project Officer at the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). She has conducted research focused on disability and health, wellness promotion, and health services throughout her career. Dr. Reichard has analyzed national survey data and Medicare and state Medicaid administrative claims data to better understand health care access, health care utilization, public health surveillance, and disparities among people with disabilities of many types, including Autism Spectrum Disorders. She has also worked in public health for over 20 years. Dr. Reichard has often been a part of academic and programmatic groups working in improving the field's ability to identify people with I/DD and other disabilities for surveillance and research and has several published articles on this topic. She currently serves on the Federal Interagency Workgroup for Autism Spectrum Disorders, the Disability Workgroup for Healthy People 2030, and co-leads a Federal Interagency Workgroup on Use of Administrative Data for Understanding people with I/DD.
Scott Michael Robertson, Ph.D. (for Taryn Mackenzie Williams, M.A.)
Senior Policy Advisor, Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor
Dr. Scott Michael Robertson is a Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) in the U.S. Department of Labor and an autistic adult. Dr. Robertson orchestrates ODEP's Partnership on Inclusive Apprenticeship (PIA) through his role as the federal project manager; PIA drives policies and practices to increase access to career pathways in high-growth, high-demand fields, such as information technology, cybersecurity, clean and renewable energy, and healthcare. Dr. Robertson spearheads ODEP's work to enhance national autism policy, foster neurodiversity at work, and increase access to gainful employment for youth and adults on the autism spectrum. He has also advised on policy and practices for accessible and emerging technology, such as artificial intelligence and automated vehicles. Earlier in his tenure at ODEP, he advanced policies for school-to-work transition and career development for youth and young adults with and without disabilities. Dr. Robertson has served as a Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Fellow for U.S. Senator Tom Harkin in the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. He also served as the Founding Vice President of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), a national nonprofit organization. Dr. Robertson earned his PhD in information sciences and technology at Penn State University. His professional recognitions include the 2011 Jay S. Drotman Memorial Award from the American Public Health Association and a 2020 Service to the Citizen Award from Dorris Consulting International. He is also an inductee of the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame.
Robyn Schulhof, M.A. (for Lauren Raskin Ramos, M.P.H.)
Senior Public Health Analyst, Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities, Associate of University Centers on Disabilities Cooperative Agreement, Maternal and Child Health Bureau, Health Resources and Services Administration
Ms. Robyn Schulhof is a Senior Public Health Analyst with the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Ms. Schulhof has been working in public health for the past 21 years in a variety of capacities including policy, HIV/AIDS, autism, and developmental disabilities. For the past eleven years, she has been a senior project officer and team lead for the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Other Related Disabilities (LEND) Program, funded under the Autism CARES Act, managing funding and support to 25 LEND programs. Ms. Schulhof also directs the cooperative agreement with the Interdisciplinary Technical Assistance Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities currently housed at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). Her work ensures that MCHB-funded Autism CARES grantees and others have access to training tools and technical assistance needed to expand the workforce serving individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. As a member of the MCHB autism team, Ms. Schulhof supports implementation of the bureau's Autism CARES Act funded programs, including research and state initiatives. Ms. Schulhof is a major advocate for families of those with disabilities being part of federal training and research programs.
Stuart Shapira, M.D., Ph.D. (for Georgina Peacock, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.A.P.)
Chief Medical Officer, Associate Director for Science, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Dr. Shapira is Associate Director for Science and Chief Medical Officer in the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Prior to this role, Dr. Shapira served as a medical officer on the Pediatric Genetics Team in NCBDDD. His research activities included dysmorphology of autism, birth defects epidemiology, and newborn screening. Dr. Shapira received his PhD degree in Genetics and his MD degree, both from the University of Chicago. He completed a residency in Pediatrics and a clinical fellowship in Genetics and Metabolism at Boston Children's Hospital. He also completed dual research fellowships in Genetics and Metabolism, and in Allergy and Immunology at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Shapira is board-certified in Clinical Genetics, Biochemical Genetics, and Molecular Genetics. Prior to joining the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities in 2005, Dr. Shapira practiced clinical genetics and metabolic genetics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. He currently serves as CDC liaison to the Committee on Genetics for the American Academy of Pediatrics, as chairman of the Dysmorphology Workgroup for the Centers for Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research and Epidemiology, and as NCBDDD liaison of the Interagency Collaborative to Advance Research in Epilepsy. Dr. Shapira has authored and coauthored more than 100 journal articles, book chapters, and abstracts, and he has been an invited speaker at numerous regional, national, and international scientific conferences.
Cornelia Sigworth, M.S. (for Maria Fryer, M.S.)
Supervisory Program Manager (Associate Deputy Director), Bureau of Justice Assistance, U.S. Department of Justice
Ms. Cornelia Sigworth currently serves as the Associate Deputy Director with the US Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance, a post she has held since July 2014. In this capacity, Ms. Sigworth directs BJA's law enforcement and justice and mental health work including its partnerships with local, state, and national policymakers and their efforts to combat violent crime, enhance prosecution practices, improve public safety responses and outcomes for individuals who come into contact with the criminal justice system, and improve business processes. Ms. Sigworth previously served in a variety of capacities within BJA including most recently as the Senior Advisor and Chief of Staff to the Deputy Director for Policy and Director of the Violence Reduction Network. Ms. Sigworth began her career with The Department at the National Institute of Justice, where she managed national research, evaluation, and program development. Ms. Sigworth holds a B.S. in Criminology from Northern Arizona University and a M.S. in Justice, Law, and Society from American University. She is a graduate of the Department of Justice's Leadership Excellence and Achievement Program and the Harvard Kennedy School Senior Executive Fellows Program. She currently serves on the Advisory Board for the FBI National Academy /National Executive Institute; and is a member of the Executive Leadership Group for Harvard's Leadership for a Networked World - Public Safety. Among other honors, she is a recipient of the US Department of Justice's Assistant Attorney General's Award for Distinguished Service and Northern Arizona University's Criminology Alumni of the Year Award.
Martine Solages, M.D. (for Tiffany R. Farchione, M.D.)
Medical Officer, Division of Psychiatry, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Dr. Martine Solages is a Medical Officer in the Division of Psychiatry at FDA. Prior to joining FDA in 2018, she was the Associate Director of the Psychiatric Consultation-Liaison Service and Associate Fellowship Training Director in the Division of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Children's National Hospital in Washington, D.C. Dr. Solages is a board-certified pediatrician, general psychiatrist, and child and adolescent psychiatrist and the Past President of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Society of Greater Washington. She received her undergraduate degree from Harvard College and her medical degree from the Yale School of Medicine. She completed pediatrics residency at the Johns Hopkins Hospital, psychiatry residency at the Yale School of Medicine, and child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at the Yale Child Study Center, where she served as Chief Fellow.
Anna E. Tschiffely, Ph.D. (for Nicole Williams, Ph.D.)
Science Officer, Neurofibromatosis, Multiple Sclerosis, and Autism Research Programs, Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, U.S. Army Medical Research and Development Command, U.S. Department of Defense
Dr. Anna Tschiffely is a Science Officer for the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs (CDMRP) at the Department of Defense (DOD). She supports the Autism Research Program (ARP) and Neurofibromatosis Research Program (NFRP). She manages $134 million in biomedical research grants. She previously conducted scientific research focused on TBI and PTSD with the Naval Medical Research Center (NMRC). Dr. Tschiffely received her Ph.D. in Neuroscience and Cognitive Sciences from University of Maryland, College Park studying the impact of hormones on Alzheimer’s disease.