Neil Romano, President and CEO of The Romano Group, LLC, is considered one of the nation’s leading authorities in the field of media and public advocacy, overseeing some of the most visible and effective public health programs in the United States.
Mr. Romano’s extensive background includes tenure as Director of Communications for the White House Office of Drug Abuse Policy, working on campaigns such as “Just Say No” and “America Responds to AIDS.” A noted producer/director, Romano’s film, “Youth Homicide: A Public Health Crisis,” earned an Emmy Nomination in the category of Best Director.
Mr. Romano was nominated by President George W. Bush to be the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Disability Employment Policy in 2007. He also served as a member of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID), The United States Access Board, and The Committee for Purchase from People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled. Mr. Romano was appointed to the National Council on Disability in 2015 by Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell.
Additionally, Mr. Romano serves on a number of diverse national boards to include the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society, the Prison Jail Ministries Foundation, The Taylor Hooton Foundation, The National Foundation to End Senior Hunger, The National Industries for The Blind, and The United States International Council on Disabilities (USICD). Mr. Romano has advised the Association for People in Supported Employment, the U.S. Business Leadership Network, and other disability employment groups that use a “business to business” approach to promote the imperative of hiring people with disabilities. Mr. Romano serves as a consultant to Wal-Mart on disability issues.
Matt Salo was named Executive Director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD) in February 2011. The newly formed association represents all 56 of the nation’s state and territorial Medicaid Directors, and provides them with a strong unified voice in national discussions as well as a locus for technical assistance and best practices. Matt formerly spent 12 years at the National Governors Association, where he worked on the Governors’ health care and human services reform agendas, and spent the 5 years prior to that as a health policy analyst working for the state Medicaid Directors as part of the American Public Human Services Association. Matt also spent two years as a substitute teacher in the public school system in Alexandria, VA, and holds a BA in Eastern Religious Studies from the University of Virginia.
Joseph M. Macbeth began his 30-year career in the I/DD field as a Direct Support Professional. Recognized as a national leader in the advocacy and advancement of the direct support profession, he co-authored the series of publications entitled “Voices from the Frontlines”; produced an award winning Realistic Job Preview for community-based organizations; and developed the “Disability Studies Certificate” to assist more than 500 direct support professionals advance their college education. Macbeth has served on the boards of the ANCOR Foundation, Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL), College of Direct Support and Relias Learning’s National Advisory Board. He is also involved with AIEJI, an international organization based in Denmark that promotes the work of social educators. He lives in Altamont, NY.
Molly Reynolds is a fellow in Governance Studies at Brookings. She studies Congress, with an emphasis on how congressional rules and procedure affect domestic policy outcomes, with current research exploring exceptions to the filibuster rule for particular measures in the U.S. Senate. Reynolds received her Ph.D. in political science and public policy from the University of Michigan.
Pre-Conference and Breakout Session Presenters
Marilyn Althoff, CEO of Hills & Dales, in Dubuque, Iowa has guided the agency for 13 years. Her passion and advocacy has supported significant services growth and success through diversifying and recognizing opportunity. Marilyn is active in state associations, ANCOR, and community boards and committees, as well as legislative initiatives.
Erica Anderson is the Senior Director of the Disability Network Business Acumen Center at the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD). Previously, she worked at the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and at a FIDE-SNP in Wisconsin in managed care operations.
Bob Baker is Vice President of Operations for Keystone Human Services and CEO of two subsidiaries. Prior to joining Keystone he served for 20 years in Senior Leadership positions in two Academic Medical Centers and 10 years in senior health policy positions in federal and state government.
Ted Behncke joined St. Coletta in 2008 after 30-years of service in the U.S. Army where he retired as Lt. Colonel. At St. Coletta's, he's held various positions including Director of Residential Operations, VP of Operations and Support Services, COO, and currently, President. Additionally, Behncke has served as surveyor for the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities since 2013.
Maghan Bowman graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, IA. She began working at EPI in 2014. She currently is the Service Outcomes & Data Director, specializing in assessments, start and end of services, individualized service plans, and health risk screening tools.
Bonnie-Jean Brooks has been the President and CEO of OHI in Maine for 38 years. Representing OHI, she served as President and Board Member of the Maine Assn. for Community Support Providers. She also served on the boards of ANCOR, ANCOR Foundation, AAIDD, and CARF.
Alice Brouhard, RN is a champion of the use of technology, especially tablet technology, to support people with memory and cognitive challenges to live independently. She has worked tirelessly to set up a system that allows her daughter, who sustained a severe traumatic brain injury, to lead a self-determined life despite significant disabilities.
Kara Brouhard sustained a severe traumatic brain injury at age 5. Kara leads a self determined life in her own house with assistance from mainstream technology that supports her independence and self-sufficiency. She is a member of Families at the Forefront of Technology and presents at their annual conference.
Tina Campanella is the CEO of Quality Trust. She established Quality Trust as a strong, independent advocacy organization and leads national efforts around increasing the use of supported decision-making. With over 40 years of experience, she is acknowledged as an exceptional thinker and leader in the field.
Jeff Case and his wife Rebecca organized Developing Potential Inc. in 1993 to fill a need in the Kansas City, MO metro area for adults with developmental disabilities. Jeff has worked with not-for-profits for over 25 years. Presently, Jeff assists states, counties, and organizations with greater interoperability, increased transparency, and transition toward paperless provision of services.
Johnathon Crumley, BS, MDiv, is currently the Senior Director of Operations for Health Risk Screening, Inc. He served as VP of Georgia Support Services, offering case management services to those with I/DD. He was also a Senior SIS trainer with AAIDD. He lives in Tampa, FL.
Laurie Dale has transformed the way Ability Beyond delivers its care. Her goal: let folks do it for themselves. Laurie has worked in the field of technology for 20 years and serving people with varying disabilities for 30 years. She has seen first-hand how technology can change a person’s life.
Josh DeZurik is Director of Program Technology for Dungarvin, Inc., a national provider supporting over 4,000 individuals in 14 states. He coordinated the national multi-phase rollout of the EMR system and is developing national standards for EMR use focusing on efficiency, best practice, and data. Previously, Josh served in leadership capacity in operations division.
Carson Dickie is a Gallup Company certified Strengths Coach. He uses Gallup's research and his 35 years of business experience to help organizations use their employees' unique talents and strengths to thrive and make a difference. Carson currently serves as Principal of InStrength Consulting and as President of Dickie Energy.
David Donohue has two decades of experience in health care, disability rights, and communications. David helped design person-centered programs for the nation’s first whole life Managed Care approach. As both a provider and subsidiary of Centene, David and LifeShare continue to advocate for empowering supports for people with IDD.
Kris Eastman has worked for Mainstream Living for 30 years and was appointed Vice-President of Waiver Services in 2013. Eastman has oversight of all residential and day services programs serving individuals with intellectual disabilities. Eastman is a graduate of Iowa State University and holds a Bachelor's of Science in Social Work.
Dr. Lucille Esralew is a New Jersey licensed psychologist and Clinical Administrator for a mental health crisis response and clinical outreach program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and co-occurring mental health disorders. Dr. Esralew is the Editor of the NADD Bulletin and coordinates three telehealth programs.
Josh Evans is the Vice President of Government Relations for IARF, working to advance and accomplish the Association's budget and policy priorities at the Statehouse. He works with Policy Staff and directs Association lobbyists on all facets of the legislative process.
Lori B. Feldkamp is the President & CEO for Big Lakes, a community service provider in northeast Kansas. Big Lakes is a not for profit organization that provides employment, day activities and residential services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Dr. Robert Fletcher, NADD Founder and CEO, has extensive experience in intersystem initiatives and broad spectrum of experience as a clinician, program developer, policy advocate, and consultant. He has authored numerous publications addressing mental health aspects in persons with IDD, including Chief Editor of the DM-ID. Dr. Fletcher spearheaded the NADD Accreditation and Certification Programs in an effort to raise the bar for provision of services to individuals with IDD/MI.
Bill Gaventa is Director of the Summer Institute on Theology and Disability. His expertise is in spiritual supports, training for clergy and community services staff, aging and end of life/grief issues, cultural competence, and community building. He is the 2016-2017 President of American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
Melissa Hecht joined Relias Learning in 2012 and has been on the Product Management team since August of 2014. Melissa combines her passion for Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities and Product Management to provide the best training and services for those who support people with disabilities.
Jennifer Higgins, Ph.D. is a research and policy associate at the Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers in Massachusetts. Dr. Higgins implemented and managed an integrated primary and behavioral health care program at a large behavioral health agency in Springfield, MA, overseeing a team of care managers and primary care providers.
Than Johnson is CEO of CRSI, a 40-year non-profit support agency in Ohio established by parents to provide an alternative to institutional living. Mr. Johnson has served as President of ANCOR and his state association, OPRA. He currently serves on the ANCOR Board of Directors, Foundation and Government Relations Committee.
Hannah Carlson Jurewicz, LPC, CCP-D, serves as State Director with Dungarvin CT, an organization that provides residential and day supports for adults. She has published, advocated, and provided training in human services for 25 years, and most recently published the manual to accompany her program, Addiction Recovery for Challenged Individuals.
Terry Leahy is the COO of Oconomowoc Residential Programs, whose “Co-Owners in Care” make a positive difference in the daily lives of 1,700 individuals. Terry has a B.A. degree from Princeton University and a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School.
Karen Lee has been Executive Director of SEEC since 1990. SEEC offers a full complement of innovative IDD supports in MD and DC. Karen served as MD DDA Public Policy Fellow creating E1st Strategic Plan in Maryland. She holds a Masters in Transition Education & Public Policy from University of Maryland.
Sharon Lewis is a national expert in disability policy, working to advance opportunities for people with disabilities to fully participate in all aspects of community. Previously, she served in leadership roles at the U.S. Dept. Health & Human Services and as Senior Disability Policy Advisor for U.S. House Committee on Education and Labor.
Ken Lovan worked for ResCare for the past 33 years and is now serving as a Government Relations and IDD Services Consultant. His focus is on developing IDD reimbursement, innovative service redesign, managed care and alternate payment models. He continues to lead the ANCOR Service Redesign Workgroup.
William "Bill" Loyd is the CEO at The Arc Montgomery County. Previously, he served as State Director for DC and Business Developer at St. John's Community Services (SJCS) and Executive Director at Midlands Community Development Corporation. While at SJCS the agency converted to facility-free services. He currently serves on the ANCOR Board of Directors.
Julie Manworren is CEO of Living Well Disability Services. Living Well provides person-centered Customized and Residential Services in the Twin Cities region for people with complicated health conditions and IDD. They own 17 Waiver homes and 16 ICF homes. She serves on the ANCOR Board of Directors and Government Relations Committee.
Jennifer May, Vice President of Operations at STAR Services, finds ways to encourage innovative business practices within the disability field, resulting in well-trained, person-centered staff, and stronger organizational practices. Jennifer has a passion for staff development and enjoys presenting on positive psychology, management topics, workforce motivation, and strategic planning.
Diane McComb is ANCOR’s Liaison to State Associations. She previously served as the Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Department of Disabilities, as CEO of Maryland’s state association, and CEO of a community agency supporting people with IDD and their families.
Tracey Nichols is the Recovery Program Coordinator for Dungarvin CT, an organization that supports individuals with co-occurring disorders as well as intellectual and developmental disabilities. She has worked in different facets of the human service field for 20 years supporting and advocating for person-centered care.
Patricia Nobbie is a Disability Policy Engagement Director at Anthem conducting stakeholder engagement in states implementing managed care models for people with I/DD, foster children, older adults and others. Pat previously worked at ACL, the US Senate, for the Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities, and is also Mia’s Mom.
Izel Obermeyer is the director of the assistive technology program at the Westchester Institute for Human Development, in Valhalla, NY. She is an occupational therapist with 30 years of experience. She is also the project leader for the Multimedia Technology center. This year she became a fellow of AOTA.
Nanette O'Donnell is a partner in the healthcare practice in Duane Morris LLP. She is certified as a health law attorney, and often advises hospitals, physician groups, and other providers in structuring and negotiating contracts with commercial, Medicare, and Medicaid Managed Care Plans.
David O'Hara is a technology fellow with the Office of the National Coordinator on Health Information Technology. In collaboration with the Rix Center at the University of East London, he promotes the use of multimedia "wiki" technology in the U.S. to promote fully engaged person-centered service planning.
Kim Opsahl leads ANCOR’s ACL Business Acumen grant-related activities. She brings over 20 years’ experience supporting individuals with disabilities to that role, including several years working as a state association executive in Indiana. Kim is also an attorney, admitted to practice in Indiana in 2014.
Lydia Paquette is the Executive Director of the Maine Association for Community Service Providers, an association of organizations providing support services to individuals with developmental disabilities. She is licensed to practice law in Maine and specializes in supported decision-making and guardianship proceedings.
Rachel Patterson is a senior consultant for Health Management Associates. She has previously served at the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and Association of University Centers on Disabilities. She is an expert on long-term services & supports, family support policy, and health care access for people with disabilities.
Cheryl Pray is a 20-year veteran in nonprofit management whose career is rooted in advocating for people with disabilities and those who support them. She began as a case counselor for people with disabilities, helped shape the ADA, and is the current CEO of ARRM in MN.
Nicole Rand, Program Director with Exceptional Persons, Inc. in Waterloo, Iowa, has served as an advocate to advance community inclusion for persons of all abilities through her work at EPI and participation on the Iowa Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) board where she currently serves as Chapter President.
Kim Ray is the Executive Director of Genesee Lake School, where she oversees residential, day school, and respite services. She holds a B.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and a M.S. degree in Rehabilitation Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Erin Riehle, MSN, RN is a national leader in promoting employment opportunities for people with disabilities. She is a founder and Director of Project SEARCH, an employment and transition program that has received national recognition for innovative practices. Erin Riehle began her career at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center as a staff nurse in the pediatric intensive care unit and advanced to clinical director of the emergency department.
Andrew Ritter, Jr. is a Senior Associate at Capital Associates, Inc., a leading Pennsylvania government relations firm. With nearly a decade of experience in the legislative and executive branches of state government, he now operationalizes the government relations strategy for Pennsylvania Advocacy and Resources for Autism and Intellectual Disability (PAR).
Leah Rummel is currently the Vice President of Strategic Account Management for the UnitedHealthcare Community Plan of Texas. She has over 35 years of experience working in the health industry, and has been with UnitedHealth Group since 2005. Leah’s expertise is focused in legislation, policy, relationships, Medicaid managed care and quality for individuals with ID/DD.
Lori Sedlezky is an Independent Consultant at SEEC. Her experience in the disability field includes DSP workforce development, management, qualitative research, and advocacy and policy analysis. Lori worked at the Research and Training Center on Community Living, ICI, and holds a Masters in Social Work from the University of MN.
Valerie Sellers is the CEO of the New Jersey Association of Community Providers. NJACP represents 54 provider agencies serving the IDD community. Previously Ms. Sellers was a Senior VP of Planning & Research at the NJ Hospital Association with one of her major responsibilities being managed care.
Thalia Simpson-Clement is the Chief Operating Officer for St. John’s Community Services, a private non-profit organization, headquartered in Washington, DC. She is responsible for the oversight and technical support of program operations in DC, PA, DE, TN and VA. Services offered include: Employment, Day Support, and Community Living services.
Stan Soby is Vice President for Public Policy and External Affairs at Oak Hill, a lifespan service provider in Connecticut. Stan started as a volunteer, worked as a DSP for three years, then joined Oak Hill as a teacher. He has held a number of positions supporting Oak Hill’s Mission.
Chris Sparks is an Iowa native. He received his BA in Psychology from Graceland University and later a MPA from UMKC and his MSW from UNI. Chris started with EPI in 1991 and became the Executive Director in 1998. Chris has served ANCOR in leadership roles for over 15 years.
Mary Anne Tolliver has a lifetime of experience supporting people with I/DD. She is passionate about working with individuals who are aging, and supporting them through end-of-life decisions, sudden death, end stage dementia, and other serious illnesses. Additionally, she has extensive experience collaborating with medical, hospice, and government entities.
Laura Vegas has more than 24 years of experience in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities. Previously, Laura was the Director of Employment and Community First CHOICES and Select Community for BlueCross/BlueShield of TN and Assistant Commissioner for Policy and Innovation for the TN Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
Chad VonAhnen is Executive Director at Johnson County Developmental. He has a bachelor's in Criminology from the University of Northern Iowa and his MPA from Drake University. Chad has over 20 years’ government experience in Kansas and Iowa. He and his wife, Louisa, have three children, Lauryn, Bennett and Bryce.
Shirley Walker is the President and CEO of PAR since 1991. Her career began as an educator in the greater Los Angeles area, then in PA as Assistant Superintendent of a school district. Prior to PAR she was the Commonwealth’s Deputy Secretary of the Office of Children, Youth and Families.
Tom Wilds has provided technical support on Provider Transformation to numerous agencies as a Subject Matter Expert for ODEP. Tom Wilds retired as CEO/President of St. John’s Community Services, a historic non-profit where he closed its workshop, sold its facilities and moved to community based support for people living with disabilities.
Barbara Williams-Stewart is a clinical social worker specializing in Grief Therapy for individuals with ID/DD and families. She works for The St. Louis Arc, teaches at Webster University, and provides counseling for college students. Barbara is also the founder of The Belle Center, an inclusive early childhood program.