Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee logo


Main content area.

IACC Full Committee Meeting Speaker Biographies - April 9, 2013

Linda K. Smith

Deputy Assistant Secretary and Inter-Departmental Liaison for Early Childhood Development
Administration for Children and Families (ACF)

Ms. Smith joined the IACC as a Federal member in 2013. As Deputy Assistant Secretary and Inter-Developmental Liaison for ACF, she provides overall policy coordination for the Head Start and Early Head Start Program and the Child Care and Development Fund, as well as serving as the liaison with the U.S. Department of Education and other federal agencies. Her office serves as a focal point for early childhood policy at the federal level. She previously served as the executive director for the National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA), where she represented more than 650 community-based agencies concerned with the care of children in their earliest years. Ms. Smith led the organization through significant growth and transformation- she was the driving force behind NACCRRA's national policy agenda and strategic plan to improve the quality of child care nationwide. Key components of NACCRRA's advocacy efforts included strengthening child care licensing and oversight, requiring comprehensive background checks, and establishing minimum training requirements for all child care workers. Prior to joining NACCRRA, Ms. Smith served as a legislative fellow and professional staffer on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee under the Chairmanship of the late Senator Edward M. Kennedy. Prior to this work, she was the director of the Office of Family Policy for the Secretary of Defense, where she was one of the primary architects of the military's child care program. Additionally, she has held positions with both the United States Army and United States Air Force. She began her career in early childhood education on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation in her native state of Montana. She is a graduate of the University of Montana.

Stephen Blumberg

Acting Associate Director for Science
Division of Health Interview Statistics
National Center for Health Statistics
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Dr. Stephen Blumberg was recently named the Acting Associate Director for Science for the Division of Health Interview Statistics at the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prior to this new role, he was the lead statistician for the State and Local Area Integrated Telephone Survey. This random-digit-dial survey mechanism regularly fields some of the world's largest telephone surveys on children's health, health care, and well-being, including the National Survey of Children with Special Health Care Needs and the National Survey of Children's Health. His published research often focuses on survey strategies to identify vulnerable populations, such as children with special health care needs and children with autism spectrum disorder. Since 2003, Dr. Blumberg has also written and spoken extensively about the prevalence of wireless-only households and the impact of cell phones on coverage bias for telephone surveys. His honors include the 2008 Young Professional Achievement award from the Coalition for Excellence in Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology, the 2009 Warren J. Mitofsky Innovators Award from the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR), and election as the 2012 President of DC-AAPOR, AAPOR's Washington-Baltimore chapter. Dr. Blumberg has a PhD in Social Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin.

Michael D. Kogan

Director, Office of Epidemiology and Research
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)

Dr. Michael D. Kogan is Director of the Office of Epidemiology and Research for the Maternal and Child Health Bureau at HRSA. In this position he is responsible for directing activities of the office with an emphasis on 1) building the data capacity of federal, state and local areas in maternal and child health; 2) strengthening the present and future workforce skill levels in maternal and child health epidemiology; 3) disseminating information and strengthening the evidence base in maternal and child health; and 4) overseeing the extramural research program. He also serves as the Project Director for the National Surveys of Children's Health and the National Surveys of Children with Special Health Care Needs. Prior to this position, he was a senior epidemiologist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Health Statistics.

He serves on the editorial board of the Maternal and Child Health Journal and has served in that capacity for the American Journal of Public Health. He has served as a special editor for Pediatrics and the Maternal and Child Health Journal. He has also held adjunct academic appointments at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Harvard University, and is a regular lecturer at Georgetown University. He has published over 100 articles and book chapters on numerous topics in pediatric and perinatal epidemiology. He received the 2003 Advancing Knowledge award from the Coalition for Excellence in Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology. He also received the 2011 HRSA Administrator's Award for Excellence for his leadership and research. He received his doctorate in epidemiology from Yale University.

Maureen E. Gormley, M.P.H., M.A., R.N.

Chief Operating Officer, NIH Clinical Center

Over her 25-year career at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Ms. Gormley has enjoyed working in an environment rich with scientific leaders and clinical experts whose mission is to further discovery in the field of medicine. Her current responsibilities include oversight of administration and operations including patient nutrition, facilities management, housekeeping, materials management, social work, spiritual ministry, communications, patient recruitment, training/organizational development, acquisitions, and the Edmond J. Safra Family Lodge. Additionally, Ms. Gormley is responsible for the development of the Clinical Center's annual operating plan and serves as executive secretary to the NIH Advisory Board for Clinical Research.

Ms. Gormley was hired in 1987 as an administrative fellow in the Clinical Center Office of the Director. In the early 1990s, she became involved in the burgeoning field of organizational quality improvement, especially its application in the healthcare industry. In 1995, Ms. Gormley became Special Assistant to the Director of the Clinical Center serving as principal advisor on operational and governance issues, coordinating key staff projects, writing senior briefing materials, and making recommendations relating to continuous improvement of administrative and operational programs. After three years as Special Assistant, she advanced to the position of Chief, Administrative Management and Planning and was appointed to her current position in 1999.

Ms. Gormley led the multi-year activation effort for the 240-bed Mark O. Hatfield Clinical Research Center, which culminated in the patient move into the new hospital in April 2005. More recently her efforts have focused on improving the management of employee performance. Having trained all of the hospital's supervisors in the unique technical and interpersonal aspects of holding employees accountable in the federal sector, the Clinical Center has made strides in improving workforce accountability, a major factor in achieving ongoing cost reductions.

Connie Kasari, Ph.D.

Professor of Psychological Studies in Education and Psychiatry
University of California, Los Angeles

Connie Kasari, Ph.D. is Professor of Human Development and Psychology with a joint appointment in Psychiatry at UCLA, where she is the Principal Investigator for several multi-site research programs, including the Autism Intervention Research Network for Behavioral Health funded by HRSA, Characterizing Cognition in Nonverbal Individuals with Autism Intervention network by Autism Speaks, and Autism Intervention for Minimally Verbal Children with ASD in the Community by NIH. She received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was a NIMH postdoctoral fellow at the Neuropsychiatric Institute at UCLA. Since 1990 she has been on the faculty at UCLA where she teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses, and has been the primary advisor to more than 40 PhD students. She is a founding member of the Center for Autism Research and Treatment at UCLA and has been actively involved in autism research for the past 25 years, leading projects under the CPEA, STAART, and Autism Centers of Excellence programs from NIH. Her current research focuses on developing targeted interventions for early social communication development in at risk infants, toddlers and preschoolers with autism, and peer relationships for school aged children with autism. She is involved in several randomized controlled trials, with her most recent work involving multi-site studies for interventions aimed at underserved and under-represented populations of children with autism. She has published widely on topics related to social, emotional, and communication development and intervention in autism. She is on the treatment advisory board of the Autism Speaks Foundation, and regularly presents to both academic and practitioner audiences locally, nationally and internationally.

Helen Tager-Flusberg, Ph.D.

Director, Developmental Science Program
Boston University

Helen Tager-Flusberg received her Bachelors in Science in Psychology from University College London, and her doctorate from Harvard University. From 1978 through 2001 she was a Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Massachusetts – Boston and from 1996 – 2001 she also held the position of Senior Scientist at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center/UMass Medical Center. Since 2001 Dr. Tager-Flusberg has been at Boston University, initially with primary appointments in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology and Pediatrics in the School of Medicine and now as Professor of Psychology at Boston University, where she was the Director of the Developmental Science Program from 2009 to 2012. Dr. Tager-Flusberg has conducted research on autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders (including Williams syndrome, Down syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, 16p, and Specific Language Impairment) for over 35 years, investigating developmental changes in language and social cognition in these populations using behavioral and brain imaging methodologies. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health and private foundations, including Autism Speaks, The Simons Foundation, the Autism Consortium, the Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation and the March of Dimes. Dr. Tager-Flusberg took NIH-funded research leadership roles as the Principal Investigator for the Boston University CPEA (Collaborative Programs of Excellence in Autism; 1997-2009), STAART (Studies to Advance Autism Research and Treatment; 2003-2009) and current ACE (Autism Center of Excellence; 2012-2017). She has edited four books and written over 170 journal articles and book chapters. Dr. Tager-Flusberg is currently the President of the International Society for Autism Research, serves on the editorial board of several professional journals and is Associate Editor of the Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders. She has presented her research at many professional conferences, parent advocacy group meetings, and training institutes.

Katherine Cargill-Willis

Program Specialist
Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD)
Administration for Community Living (ACL)

Katherine Cargill-Willis has been a Program Specialist at the Administration for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD), formerly Administration for Developmental Disabilities for seven years. During her tenure at ADD she has been a project officer for University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service (UCEDD) and the Developmental Disabilities Councils. Kathy is currently the project officer for the National Autism Resource and Information project and the data collection projects.

Before coming to ADD Kathy has been under contract with both the Ohio and Oregon Development Disabilities Councils. The Ohio Council tasked her with analyzing major federal legislation. For the Oregon Council she collected satisfaction data on personal assistance services in the state and she also was a co-author for a handbook explaining the Oregon Health Plan in layman's terms. Oregon was the place where Kathy received the foundation of her legislative and disability experience. She worked as a research assistant during two sessions of the Oregon Legislature. Her disability direct service experience includes serving as a Living Skills Instructor, a Skills trainer and a mobility trainer. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Portland State University and her graduate work has focused on data analysis.

Kathy was born into a military family. Her father's job resulted in the family relocating frequently giving Kathy first-hand experience in a variety of segregated and inclusive educational settings. Currently Kathy and her husband, Henry, reside in Alexandria, Virginia.

Amy Goodman

Co-Director of Autism NOW Center
The Arc

Ms. Amy Goodman lives in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. She is an individual on the autism spectrum, discovering she had Asperger's syndrome when in her 30s.

She earned her undergraduate degree from Regents College in New York and her Master's degree from Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia in Special Education with a focus in autism. During that two year period, she participated in the College Program for students with Asperger's syndrome at the Autism Training Center (ATC) at Marshall University.

She is a member of the West Virginia Autism Society of America as a member at large. She was also a partner of Partners and Policy Making class of 2009-2010 sponsored by the West Virginia Developmental Disability Council.

She has worked as a Service Coordinator in the West Virginia Birth to Three Program and has also worked as a teacher's aide and presenter at a summer camp, Camp Gizmo, for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families for the past eight summers.

Lastly, she has participated in panels for individuals on the autism spectrum for the West Virginia's Autism Society's conferences in 2007, 2009, and 2011. She was also a panelist/speaker at an Asperger's conference in Kearney Nebraska. in 2007.

Now she works as Co-Director of Autism Now at The Arc of the U.S. in Washington D.C. She has been at this position since November of 2011 to the present. She has written a feature article for The Autism Advocate magazine sponsored by the Autism Society of America on Bullying in December 2012.

Karen Wolf-Branigin

Senior Program Officer
The Arc

Karen Wolf-Branigin is a Senior Program Officer with The Arc of the United States. Her responsibilities include leadership on several national programs including Autism Now, the National Autism Resource and Information project, funded by the Administration for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Before joining The Arc in March 2013, Karen served as Co-director of the National Center on Senior Transportation and as the Director of Training and Technical Assistance at Easter Seals Project ACTION, both located at Easter Seals. Her interest in accessible transportation includes research and support of the travel training profession. Karen came to Washington, DC in 2001 as a Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Foundation Public Policy Fellow and she served in the Office of Senator John D. Rockefeller, IV.

Karen worked at the Developmental Disabilities Institute at Wayne State University Michigan's University Center on Disabilities for 12 years where she focused on employment and person-centered research, model demonstration programs and direct services. She authored and edited training curriculum for people working in direct services and was instrumental in establishing the Michigan Alliance of Direct Support Professionals.

Karen began her career working in direct service where she had the privilege of supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families reach their dreams of living full lives in their communities. She learned her greatest lessons about oppression while working at a state institution which was finally closed in 1984.

Karen received her bachelor's degree in Music Therapy from Western Michigan University and an MSW in Social Welfare Policy and Planning from The University of Michigan.



HHS Home | Contacting IACC | Accessibility | Privacy Policy | FOIA | Disclaimer | USA.gov | IACC Webmaster

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services • 200 Independence Avenue, S.W. • Washington, D.C. 20201