2020 Policy Summit

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In times of crisis, it’s easy to yearn for a return to normal—for a return to the way things once were. But long before COVID-19, cracks in the disability service delivery system made “normal” unsustainable. In many cases, returning to the way things were simply isn’t an option for our community of providers and the people we support. 

The good news is that the pandemic has also brought new opportunities—opportunities to revive, to re-envision and to rebuild our systems of support. The even better news? Our community of providers has always been on the leading edge, pioneering innovations to improve service delivery and championing new ways of working that make inclusion possible.

This year, ANCOR’s Policy Summit, Leading Beyond Crisis, will bring together hundreds of leaders virtually to envision the service delivery system of the future. Leveraging the spirit of change necessitated by the realities of 2020, we’ll look ahead to the policies, programs and practices that will be key to transforming from what once was to what will soon be: a new normal defined by systems change, strength and sustainability. We have an opportunity to shape the new normal—let’s seize it, together!

Special thank you to our sponsors


Earnest Supply           

Opening Plenary: Leading for What’s Next with Michael Osterholm
This opening plenary is generously sponsored by Centene Corporation and Earnest Supply.

Plenary | Monday, October 5, 12-1 pm EDT
Following welcome remarks from ANCOR CEO Barbara Merrill, Policy Summit participants will hear from keynote speaker Michael Osterholm, Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research & Policy at the University of Minnesota and co-author of The Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs
Based on more than four decades of experience as an epidemiologist, Dr. Osterholm will walk us through how we got to the COVID-19 pandemic, what we need to know and where we go next when it comes to managing this pandemic and preventing deadly outbreaks in the future. Participants will walk away from Dr. Osterholm’s presentation with a sense of how we can all lead the charge to transform the unprecedented challenges of 2020 into opportunities for resilience and stability, thereby strengthening the future of our services.
Keynote Speaker:
  • Michael Osterholm, Epidemiologist and Author

Finding the Positive and Making it Permanent in a Post-Pandemic World

Deep Dive | Monday, October 5, 1:30-3 pm EDT
Beyond financial resources, one of the most helpful ways Medicaid programs have supported providers to weather the COVID-19 storm has been by offering regulatory flexibilities that ease restrictions that might otherwise stand in the way of effective crisis management. Although these flexibilities were envisioned to be temporary, many have made significant improvements in the I/DD service delivery system that, if made permanent, could help providers be more effective in the long term. For example, how can expanded use of telemedicine technology improve health outcomes for the people we support? How might regulatory flexibilities that have enabled providers to shift from congregate care to more person-centeredness be made permanent? In addition to questions like these, this session will also explore the mechanisms that need to be in place at the state and federal levels, as well as within individual provider agencies, to make these positive changes permanent.
  • Anne Marie Costello, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
  • Elizabeth Dervan, U.S. Senate Committee on Finance
  • Caleb Graff, U.S. House Committee on Energy & Commerce
  • Tom McAlvanah, InterAgency Council of Developmental Disabilities Agencies
  • Stuart Portman, U.S. Senate Committee on Finance
  • Amy Staed, Kentucky Association of Private Providers
  • Rick Van Buren, U.S. House Committee on Energy & Commerce


Forward to the Future: Systems Change for Sustainable Services

Deep Dive | Monday, October 5, 3:30-5 pm EDT
While many other sectors yearn to return to business as usual, our community of providers realize that “business as usual” has never been ideal. Cracks in the Medicaid system have long signaled to community providers that significant systems transformation may be the only path to the long-term sustainability of our services. If this pandemic offers any silver lining, it is the systems transformation that have been necessitated by our new ways of working. But how do we build on the most positive changes that have been engineered over the past several months? How do we learn from our past to ensure that we don’t recreate the challenges that complicated our work long before the pandemic took hold? And what will it take to resource the future we want to see, given the constraints exacerbated by the volatility of 2020? Speakers in this session will explore these questions and more as we consider the future of our services.
  • Al Guida, Guide Consulting
  • Matt Holder, Lee Specialty Clinic
  • Mary Sowers, National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services
  • Michael Strouse, GoodLife Innovations, Inc.
  • Rodney Whitlock, McDermott Consulting


Networking Reception & Legacy Leader Awards Presentation
This networking reception is generously sponsored by Foothold Technology.

Networking Event | Monday, October 5, 5:15-6:15 pm EDT
Just because we’re virtual doesn’t mean we can’t come together and have a good time! During this virtual networking session, you’ll have the chance to reflect on the highlights from the first day of the Summit, plus connect with ANCOR friends and colleagues, old and new. You’ll also get the chance to hear the inspiring stories of some of our field’s most influential leaders as the ANCOR Foundation honors the 2020 class of inductees into the Legacy Leaders Circle. Don’t miss it!


Facilitated Roundtable Discussions 1

Roundtable | Tuesday, October 6, 12-1:30 pm EDT
Facilitated roundtable discussions are interactive concurrent sessions during which an expert facilitator reflects on the topics discussed during our Deep Dive sessions and poses burning questions to participants to glean their ideas, insights and concerns. Topics discussed will include human rights, systems change efforts and more. Come prepared to share your thoughts on these pressing topics!


Daily Plenary: A Year for the History Books with Jonathan Capehart

Plenary | Tuesday, October 6, 2-3 pm EDT
Perhaps more than any other single year in our lifetimes, 2020 has shaped up to be a pivotal moment in American history. From the COVID-19 pandemic to our national reckoning on race to a pivotal election just four weeks from today, 2020 may feel like the never-ending year. To help us make sense of it all, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jonathan Capehart will deliver a keynote address in which he discusses how the Black Lives Matter movement is shaping up to impact the 2020 Elections, and how we can leverage the current moment to advocate for the inclusion of people with disabilities in our ongoing national dialogue about civil rights.
Keynote Speaker:
  • Jonathan Capehart, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist

Civil Rights Beyond the ADA: The Intersections Between Race & Disability in the Fight for a More Equitable America

Deep Dive | Tuesday, October 6, 3:30-5 pm EDT
Equity and inclusion have been front-of-mind throughout 2020, and not just because of the movement for Black lives and the traction it gained earlier this year. Additionally, several important anniversaries in the disability community—including the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the 50th anniversary of the founding of ANCOR and others—have brought into sharp focus the civil rights journeys still ahead for people with I/DD and Autism. During this session, speakers will discuss the parallels between the disability civil rights movement and the movement for Black lives, calling attention to the many areas of overlap and how each can support one another’s fight for a more equitable America.
  • Max Barrows, Green Mountain Self-Advocates
  • Rebecca Cokley, Center for American Progress
  • Keri Gray, Keri Gray Group; National Alliance of Multicultural Disabled Advocates
  • Dior Vargas, People of Color and Mental Illness Photo Project

Daily Plenary: Honoring Those Who Lead Beyond Crisis

Plenary | Wednesday, October 7, 12-1 pm EDT
Our final day kicks off with welcoming remarks from Shannon McCracken, ANCOR’s Vice President for Government Relations. After sharing an overview of what we’ve accomplished so far during the Summit and what participants can expect from our third and final day together, we’ll be treated to an awards presentation recognizing the contributions of several of our association’s policy and advocacy leaders.
Named for the late leader of ANCOR’s government relations efforts, the Suellen Galbraith Award for Excellence in Public Policy will be presented to the ANCOR members who have made significant contributions in the past year to policies that improve the delivery of services for people with I/DD. Then, the Congressional Champion Awards will honor the policymakers who have been staunch advocates for our services and the people we support. You won’t want to miss this moving presentation!
  • Shannon McCracken, ANCOR

Supercharging Our Workforce Agenda

Deep Dive | Wednesday, October 7, 1:30-3 pm EDT
This session will consider our sector’s workforce needs in the context of the coronavirus pandemic and the movement for Black lives by exploring insights from a survey of direct support professionals fielded by NADSP and the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota. Presenters will walk participants through the survey’s findings and evaluate strategies for putting an equitable workforce agenda into action during this unprecedented time. Speakers will also discuss illusions of a tempered workforce crisis during the shutdown, and participants will have the opportunity to consider the future as our programs reopen and we continue to grapple with issues of racial equity in our workforce.
  • Robert Espinoza, PHI
  • Amy Hewitt, Institute on Community Integration, University of Minnesota
  • Joe Macbeth, National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals
  • Michelle Washko, National Center for Health Workforce Analysis, U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration
  • Haeyoung Yoon, National Domestic Workers Alliance

Facilitated Roundtable Discussions 2

Roundtable | Wednesday, October 7, 3:30-5 pm EDT
Facilitated roundtable discussions are interactive concurrent sessions during which an expert facilitator reflects on the topics discussed during our Deep Dive sessions and poses burning questions to participants to glean their ideas, insights and concerns. Topics discussed will include human rights, systems change efforts and more. Come prepared to share your thoughts on these pressing topics!

Closing Remarks & Networking Reception
This networking reception is generously sponsored by Direct Care Innovations, Inc.

Networking Event | Wednesday, October 7, 5-6:15 pm EDT
After concluding remarks from Shannon McCracken, ANCOR’s Vice President for Government Relations, our closing reception will give Summit participants the chance to celebrate the three fulfilling afternoons we’ve spent together. Join us to raise a glass, and walk away feeling energized to continue leading through and beyond crisis toward a stronger future for our field!

The Summit May Be Over, But It’s Not Too Late to View Sessions On Demand!

ANCOR’s annual Policy Summit brought together more than 325 advocates committed to improving the public policy landscape governing the delivery of services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Summit took place on October 5-7, but just because the event has ended doesn’t mean you can’t get in on the action.

NOW AVAILABLE: Register for the Summit to receive on-demand access to most Summit sessions.** Post-Summit registration ($325 for ANCOR members; $425 for non-members) includes access to:

  • 2 Plenary Sessions (including keynote addresses by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jonathan Capehart and epidemiology expert Michael Osterholm).
  • 3 Deep Dive Sessions (topics include civil rights, systems change initiatives including value-based payment reforms, and new strategies for the direct support workforce crisis).
  • Access to the 2020 Policy Summit App, a comprehensive desktop and mobile platform that enables you to relive highlights, connect with other attendees and more.

Register to Access On-Demand Session Content Today

Keynote Speakers

Jonathan Capehart, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist and Washington Post Opinion Writer

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jonathan Capehart is a member of The Washington Post editorial board, writes about politics and social issues for the PostPartisan blog, and hosts the Post’s “Cape Up” podcast. He is also an MSNBC Contributor who regularly serves as a substitute anchor. Known for his insightful, hard-hitting reporting and writing, as well as his eloquent, witty, and thought-provoking commentary, Capehart discusses the news of the day, cultural shifts happening domestically and globally, and the issues that matter now and will matter in the months and years to come.  In addition to his work with the Post, Capehart is a regular moderator of panels at the Aspen Ideas Festival and for the Aspen Institute, the Center for American Progress and at the Atlantic Dialogues conference and the Brussels Forum of the German Marshall Fund. Capehart was deputy editorial page editor of the New York Daily News from 2002 to 2004, and served on that paper’s editorial board from 1993 to 2000. In 1999, his 16-month editorial campaign to save the famed Apollo Theatre in Harlem earned him and the board the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Writing. Capehart left the Daily News in July 2000 to become the national affairs columnist at Bloomberg News, and took a leave from this position in February 2001 to serve as a policy adviser to Michael Bloomberg in his first successful campaign for New York City mayor. Capehart has additionally served as a guest host on “Midday on WNYC” on New York Public Radio. In September 2014, the Advocate magazine ranked Capehart 9th out of 50 of the most influential LGBT people in media. In December 2014, Mediaite named him one of the “Top 9 Rising Stars of Cable News.”

Shannon McCracken, Vice President of Government Relations, ANCOR

Shannon McCracken has been advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 2002, although her passion stems from a time well before then. Growing up with a family member who received waiver services for many years, she truly believes every person can have choice, personal power and control of their lives. Shannon brings a diverse and deep background to ANCOR.  She has held leadership positions in both private and nonprofit companies, owned her own conflict-free case management company, led the state association, and served as a lobbyist and advocate.  Prior to joining the ANCOR team, Shannon served as the Vice President of Kentucky Operations for BrightSpring Health Services (formerly ResCare, Inc.).

Michael Osterholm, Epidemiologist; Author; Director, Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy

Hailed by CNN as “the infectious disease expert who has been warning us for a decade and a half that the world will face a pandemic,” Dr. Michael Osterholm quickly became the go-to expert on the public health impact of COVID-19. Dr. Osterholm predicted a pandemic like COVID-19 in his bestselling book, Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs, a chillingly prescient and detailed account of the most pressing infectious diseases of our day where he lays out a nine-point plan to prevent “the unthinkable from the inevitable.” Dr. Osterholm currently serves as Regents Professor, McKnight Presidential Endowed Chair in Public Health, the Director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy (CIDRAP), Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Division of Environmental Health Sciences, a professor in the Technological Leadership Institute, and an adjunct professor in the Medical School, all at the University of Minnesota.  He has served as a Science Envoy for Health Security on behalf of the US Department of State; was appointed to the World Economic Forum Working Group on Pandemics; and was appointed to the National Science Advisor Board of Biosecurity. Between 2001 and 2005, he served as Special Advisor to the Health and Human Services Secretary on issues related to bioterrorism and public health preparedness. Previously, he served for 24 years in various roles at the Minnesota Department of Health, the last 15 as state epidemiologist and chief of the Acute Disease Epidemiology Section. Dr. Osterholm also serves on the boards of nine epidemiology and infectious disease journals and is a reviewer for The New England Journal of Medicine. He is a frequent consultant to the World Health Organization, the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, a fellow of the American College of Epidemiology and the Infectious Diseases Society of America and has received six major research awards from the NIH and the CDC.


Max Barrows, Outreach Director, Green Mountain Self-Advocates

Rebecca Cokley, Director of the Disability Justice Initiative, Center for American Progress

Anne Marie Costello, Acting Deputy Administrator and Director for the Center for Medicaid & CHIP Services (CMCS), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

Elizabeth Dervan, Health Counsel for Ranking Member Ron Wyden, U.S. Senate Committee on Finance

Robert Espinoza, Vice President of Policy, PHI

Caleb Graff, Deputy Chief Counsel, U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce

Keri Gray, Founder and CEO, Keri Gray Group; Founder, National Alliance of Multicultural Disabled Advocates

Alfonso Guida, Jr., JD, President & CEO, Guide Consulting

Amy Hewitt, Director, Institute on Community Integration; Research and Training Center on Community Living, University of Minnesota

Dr. Matthew Holder, CEO, Lee Specialty Clinic

Joseph M. Macbeth, CEO, National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals (NADSP)

Tom McAlvanah, Executive Director, InterAgency Council of Developmental Disabilities Agencies, Inc.

Stuart Portman, Health Policy Advisor for Senator Chuck Grassley, U.S. Senate Committee on Finance

Mary Sowers, Executive Director, National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities (NASDDDS)

Amy Staed, Executive Director, Kentucky Association of Private Providers (KAPP)

Michael Strouse, President/CEO, GoodLife Innovations, Inc. 

Rick Van Buren, Health Counsel, U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee

Dior Vargas, MS, MPHQueer Latina Feminist Mental Health Activist

Michelle Washko, PhD, Director, National Center for Health Workforce Analysis (NCHWA)

Rodney Whitlock, PhD, McDermott Consulting

Haeyoung Yoon, Senior Director of Policy, National Domestic Workers Alliance