The Eleventh Annual Coleman Institute Conference:

A Coleman Institute National Conference on Cognitive Disability and Technology in Challenging Economic Environments

Thursday, October 13, 2011
The Westin Westminster Hotel, Westminster, Colorado

Conference Participants


Rodney Bell helps organizations adopt, market, or develop emerging technologies as principal of ASSET Consulting LLC (Applying Systems, Software, and Engineering Technology). A consultant for 20 years, he now specializes in applications for long-term care and people with cognitive disabilities. Clientele include service providers, technology vendors, academic institutions, trade associations, and government agencies. The mission of ASSET Consulting is to advance the effective use of emerging technology in service of social needs.

Bell presents at conferences by the Coleman Institute, NASDDD, ANCOR, and others. He writes for trade publications and co-authored the Chapter "Emerging Technologies" in National Goals and Research for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (The Arc, AAMR, 2005).

Bell previously developed and marketed tools for software and systems engineering while employed 18 years in computing and electronics industries. He has a BA in mathematics from The University of Texas at Austin (1967) and is a member of the IEEE Computer Society and the Association of Computing Machinery.


Peter Blanck, PhD, JD, is university professor at Syracuse University. University professor is the highest faculty rank granted by Syracuse and only eight prior individuals received this honor. Blanck is chairman of the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI), which is a university-wide institute working on the inclusion of persons with disabilities into society around the globe. He also is chairman of the Global Universal Design Commission (GUDC) and an honorary professor at the Centre for Disability Law and Policy, the National University of Ireland, Galway.

Blanck received a juris doctorate from Stanford University, where he was president of the Stanford Law Review, and a PhD from Harvard University. He is a former member of the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities and senior fellow of the Annenberg Washington Program. His most recent books are Disability Civil Rights Law and Policy (with Hill, Siegal and Waterstone, in 2009) and Race, Ethnicity and Disability (with Logue, in 2010).


David Braddock is associate vice president of the University of Colorado (CU) System and executive director of the University System's Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities. He also holds the endowed Coleman-Turner chair in cognitive disability and is professor of psychiatry at the University's School of Medicine.

Braddock was previously at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) for over 20 years and is professor emeritus there. He was founding head of the UIC's academic Department of Disability and Human Development, and was instrumental in establishing several innovative programs including the nation's first PhD program in disability studies, the Illinois University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, the State of the States in Developmental Disabilities Project, the CDC-funded National Center on Physical Activity and Disability, and centers in assistive technology, aging, and the Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center on the implementation of the ADA. Prior to UIC, he held positions in Washington, D.C. in the U.S .Department of Health, Education and Welfare's Secretary's Committee on Mental Retardation and the Council for Exceptional Children.

His publications primarily focus on long-term care, health promotion and disease prevention and public policy toward disability. He has given presentations in 48 states and seven foreign countries and provided invited testimony in the legislatures of 15 states. His research has influenced mental disability legislation, litigation, and appropriations decisions in many states and nationally. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2011 Thomas Jefferson Award from the Board of Regents of the University of Colorado and the AAIDD Leadership Award.


Cathy Bodine, PhD, is an associate professor and section head, Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, executive director of Assistive Technology Partners, and assistive technology (AT) advisor to the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities. She entered the field of assistive technology within one month of graduating with her communication disorders degree-because the clients with cognitive disabilities at a regional center for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities she served demonstrated unequivocally they were able to benefit from assistive technologies. Seeing the need for further research and development in the area of cognitive technologies, she joined a private manufacturing firm where she spent the next four years, serving not only as a product consultant, but also as an active member of numerous research and development teams.

Today, Bodine remains actively committed to new product design, AT research, and the relationships she has developed over the past 20 years within the professional AT community and with families and persons with disabilities. She is a highly valued and trusted member of the AT manufacturing community, a powerful liaison with the commercial manufacturing community, and a nationally recognized leader in the field of AT.

Bodine has served as the principal investigator (PI) for a number of pre-service preparation grants in AT (223 graduate students), is the PI for the Colorado AT Act (P.L. 105-394), and has served as the PI for research and development projects leading to new designs in AT devices (Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation, Watson Research Centre-IBM, and four Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants). She is PI on the NIDRR-funded Rehabilitation and Engineering Research Center for the Advancement of Cognitive Technologies hosted at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, Denver.


Ann Cameron Caldwell, PhD, is the chief research and innovations officer at The Arc of the United States. In this role, she advances the organizational mission through vision design and programmatic implementation, and advances relational engagement with key individuals and organizations. She is also responsible for internal organizational metrics and national research initiatives. Cameron received her doctorate in disability studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2005, and has a masters degree from the University of Chicago. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland with her husband Joe and son Geoffrey, a teenage self-advocate with Down syndrome.


Henry Claypool has 25 years of experience developing and implementing disability policy at the federal, state, and local level, and also has personal experience with the nation's health system as a person with a disability. He sustained a spinal injury over 25 years ago. In the years following his injury, he relied on Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income, which enabled him to complete his bachelor's degree at the University of Colorado. After completing his degree, he spent five years working for a Center for Independent Living, after which he became the director of the Disability Services office at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Claypool served as the policy director at Independence Care System, a managed long-term care provider in New York City. He has advised the federal government on disability policy for several years.

From 1998-2002, he held various advisory positions at the U.S.Department of Health and Human Services, including senior advisor for disability policy to the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services during the Clinton administration. From 2005-2006, he served as a senior advisor in the Social Security Administration's Office of Disability and Income Support Programs. Claypool was also appointed by Governor Tim Kaine of Virginia to serve on the Commonwealth's Health Reform Commission in 2007.


Bill Coleman is a partner with Alsop Louie Partners (, an early stage Silicon Valley venture capital firm. Previously Coleman was founder, chairman and CEO of Cassatt, Inc. an enterprise cloud software company which was acquired by CA, Inc. in 2009. In 1995, he founded BEA Systems, Inc. for which he developed the vision and business plan, recruited the other two other principals, Ed Scott and Alfred Chuang and raised the Series A funding from Warburg Pincus (the only funding round required until the IPO in 1997). Coleman was chairman and CEO of the company from its founding through 2001 during which BEA became the fastest software company ever to reach a billion dollars in annual revenue, a record that still stands today.

Prior to BEA, Coleman held various management positions at Sun Microsystems, Inc., including: co-founder of Sun Federal; founder, vice president and general manager of Sun Professional Services; and vice president of system software overseeing SunOS, the initial development of Solaris and related system administration, networking and management products. Before his work at Sun, Coleman co-founded and was vice president of engineering at Dest Systems. Prior to that, he was the director of product development at VisiCorp where he oversaw publishing of the first spreadsheet, VisiCalc; development of the first office suite of personal computer productivity applications, the "Visi Series"; and development of the first personal computer window system, VisiOn. As general manager of the high frequency systems group at GTE Sylvania he grew his systems business from $12m to $36M in less than three years.

Coleman began his career in the U.S. Air Force as chief of satellite operations in the Office of the Secretary of the Air Force supporting the National Reconnaissance Organization.

Coleman has a bachelor's degree in computer science from the U.S. Air Force Academy and a master's degree in computer science and computer engineering from Stanford University. He also has an honorary doctorate from the University of Colorado.

Coleman is the founder and president of the Coleman Colorado Foundation which founded and supports the University of Colorado Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities ( He is a member of the board of directors of Symantec, Framehawk, iControl and Resilient Network Corporations and Business Executives for National Security; a Commissioner of the Trilateral Commission, and both chairman of the Center Science, Technology and Society and a trustee of the University of Santa Clara. He was a member of the board of the Silicon Valley Leadership Group from 1999 to 2009, and chairman from 2004 - 2006 and has served on numerous other public and private boards. Both Ernst & Young and the Robert H. and Beverly A. Deming Center for Entrepreneurship at the University of Colorado-Boulder named Coleman their 2001 "Entrepreneur of the Year," and Business Week named him one of 2001's ebiz 25 top executives.


Founding donor of the University of Colorado's Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, Claudia Coleman began her technology career when she joined Hewlett-Packard (HP) in 1971, initially in an administrative position. Her career grew rapidly as HP rose to prominence in the emerging computer industry and she was promoted to district manager, responsible for helping build HP's sales channel for printers and computer peripherals. Her sales career was highlighted by her selection to HP's prestigious President's Club in 1986. Before leaving HP in 1992, Coleman was promoted to Americas Peripherals Marketing Center manager in the company's multibillion-dollar Computer Peripherals organization.

For most of the past decade, Coleman's energy has been focused on various volunteer, charitable, and philanthropic activities, including the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities. She is secretary of the Coleman Colorado Foundation board. In 2001, she was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Colorado. She is a past member of the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities where she served as chairperson of the Assistive Technology subcommittee.


Chris Collins is executive director of Alliance. Alliance is a private nonprofit professional association whose members include Community Centered Boards (CCB) and Service Provider Organizations (SPO). Alliance members provide services and supports to individuals with developmental disabilities and their families throughout Colorado.

Prior to her current position at Alliance, Collins was executive director of Horizons, one of twenty Community Centered Boards in Colorado. She earned both her bachelor and masters degrees at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusetts.

She served on the board of directors of the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) and was co-chair of the ANCOR State Association Executives Council. She has over 35 years of experience in Colorado's community based system.


Diane Coyle, PhD, (OBE), was a former economist at the U.K Treasury, European editor of Investors Chronicle and economics editor of The Independent. Presently she is director of Enlightenment Economics, the consultancy company she founded in 2001, specializing in global and technological issues.

In 2000 she won the prestigious Wincott Award for Senior Financial journalists. Coyle was educated at Oxford University, where she received a BA (Hons) in philosophy, politics and economics, and at Harvard University, where she was awarded a PhD for her thesis on the behavior of wages and employment in manufacturing industry. She specializes in competition analysis and the economics of new technologies and globalization, including extensive work on the impacts of the mobile telephone in developing countries. Recent projects include work for NESTA on the wider conditions for innovation, and a forthcoming study on the spread of the internet via mobile phones in developing countries, commissioned by Vodafone.

Coyle is passionate in her desire to encourage widespread understanding of economic issues and how economic trends will have an impact on businesses and individuals. Her new book , The Economics of Enough, How to run the economy as if the future matters, was published in February 2011. Her previous books include: The Soulful Science (Princeton University Press 2007), Sex, Drugs and Economics (2002, Texere), Paradoxes of Prosperity (2001, Texere), Governing the World Economy (2000, Polity) and The Weightless World (1997, Capstone/MIT Press), all translated into many languages.

A former presenter on BBC Radio 4's Analysis, Coyle is on the research committee of the Economic and Social Science Research Council; a member of the Royal Economic Society and American Economic Association; a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts; a BBC trustee and visiting professor at the University of Manchester's Institute for Political and Economic Governance. She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2009 for her services to economics.


Daniel K. Davies has been actively involved in research and development of technology for individuals with intellectual and cognitive disabilities for over 20 years. Because his oldest brother John lived with severe intellectual and physical disabilities, he has been closely associated with issues important to individuals with disabilities. Davies has directed over 50 research projects focused on technology and cognitive disabilities funded by the U.S. Department of Education, the National Institutes of Health, DARPA and the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation. He has been on the leading edge of research into cognitive support technology for individuals with intellectual disabilities and consequently in 2006 was selected out of 951 nominations from 98 countries to receive the Technology Museum of Innovation's prestigious Katherine M. Swanson Equality ward for "pioneering information technology for individuals with cognitive disabilities." Currently he serves as co-chair of the Technology Division for the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and was awarded the 2004 Technology and Media Leadership Award by the Council for Exceptional Children for "national leadership in the area of research and development of cognitive support technologies." Since 2001 he has held a research appointment with the University of Kansas's Beach Center on Disability. He is a recipient of the 1996 and 1997 Technology Transfer Awards from the Colorado Chapter of the Technology Transfer Society. He has authored over 75 publications, reports, and book chapters related to cognitive technology for individuals with disabilities and is an invited presenter at professional conferences nationally and internationally.


Mark Emery has been CEO of Imagine! since May 2008 and has worked in a variety of capacities for Imagine! since December 1983. He has over 30 years of experience supporting people who have a disability. Emery has spoken at several national conferences on issues related to intellectual disabilities and the use of technology to more effectively support people with disabilities. He holds a BS degree in mathematics education from the University of New Hampshire, and a MA degree in special education administration from Johnson State College. He is the author of "Then Again, What Do I Know?" blog.


James F. Gardner, PhD has served as president and chief executive officer of The Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) since 1989. During his career Gardner has worked as a unit director in a large public institution, executive director of a regional educational collaborative, vice-president of a university center on excellence in developmental disabilities, and director of an educational center at a private psychiatric health care system. He has served on numerous local and national non-profit boards and advisory councils.

Gardner received his PhD in a dual program of American studies and American social history from Indiana University. He was awarded a Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., post-doctoral fellowship in medical ethics at the Harvard Medical School. Gardner later completed the masters in administrative sciences program at The Johns Hopkins University. He has held faculty appointments at The Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland. He has written and edited more than 50 publications in the field of disability and human services.


Dale N. Hatfield is currently a senior fellow at the Silicon Flatirons Center for Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship and an adjunct professor in the Interdisciplinary Telecommunications Program, both at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Prior to joining the University of Colorado, Hatfield was the chief of the Office of Engineering and Technology at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and, immediately before that, he was chief technologist at the agency. He retired from the FCC and government service in December 2000.

Before joining the FCC in December 1997, he was chief executive officer of Hatfield Associates, Inc., a Boulder, Colorado based multidisciplinary telecommunications consulting firm. Before founding the consulting firm in 1982, Hatfield was acting assistant secretary of Commerce for Communications and Information and acting administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). Before moving to NTIA, Hatfield was chief of the Office of Plans and Policy at the FCC. Hatfield has nearly fifty years of experience in telecommunications policy and regulation, spectrum management, and related areas.

He holds a BS in electrical engineering from Case Institute of Technology and an MS in industrial management from Purdue University. In May, 2008, Hatfield was awarded an honorary doctor of science degree by the University of Colorado for, inter alia, his commitment to the development of interdisciplinary telecommunications studies. Hatfield is also the executive director of the Broadband Internet Technical Advisory Group (BITAG) and is currently serving on the FCC's Technology Advisory Council (TAC) and on the Commerce Department's Spectrum Management Advisory Committee (CSMAC).


Rick Hemp has served as project coordinator of the State of the States in Developmental Disabilities project from 1984 to the present. He contributes to an ongoing program of technical assistance for public officials and for advocacy and provider organizations. Hemp has co-authored (with David Braddock) 15 special analyses of long-term care services and supports in California, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Wyoming. He has written or co-written 39 books, journal articles, and book chapters and more than 55 monographs and special reports on family support and individual support services, accreditation, managed care, and the public financing of disability services for persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities, mental illness, and physical disabilities. Hemp received his master of arts in human development/health policy in 1974 from Governors State University, and completed doctoral course-work in community health sciences at the School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago. He was the 2011 recipient of The Arc of the United States Distinguished Researcher in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Award.


Charlie Lakin, PhD, is the director of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), the flagship of the U.S. government disability research agenda located in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) in the U.S. Department of Education. Lakin has a long history with NIDRR. As a professor at the University of Minnesota's Institute on Community Integration, Lakin headed the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Community Integration for more than 20 years. He has more than 40 years experience as a teacher, researcher, consultant, and advocate in services for people with disabilities. Lakin has directed numerous research and training projects and has (co)authored over 200 publications based on that work. He has frequently consulted with state, federal and international agencies in matters of policy, research and evaluation. Among recognitions afforded Lakin are appointments by President Clinton to the President's Committee on Mental Retardation, the American Association on Mental Retardation's Dybwad Humanitarian Award, and the University of Minnesota's Outstanding Community Service Award. Lakin has a PhD in educational psychology from the University of Minnesota.


Clayton Lewis, PhD, is scientist in residence at the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, professor of computer science, and fellow of the Institute of Cognitive Science at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Lewis received his PhD in experimental psychology from the University of Michigan. Before coming to the University of Colorado in 1984, he had a 10 year career in research and development at IBM. He was elected to the Computer Human Interface (CHI) Academy of the Association for Computing Machinery in 2009. His research focuses on human- computer interaction, including design methods and paradigms for making programming more accessible. Lewis participates in a number of national and international projects on making information technology more accessible and inclusive, with an emphasis on the web and mobile platforms. His role at the Coleman Institute is to promote useful dialogue and cooperation among leaders of assistive and mainstream technology.


Sharon Lewis was appointed commissioner of the Administration on Developmental Disabilities in March 2010. Prior to her appointment as commissioner, she served as the senior disability policy advisor to U.S . House Committee on Education and Labor, advising members of the committee on legislative strategy and disability-related policy issues in education, employment and healthcare, and as a Kennedy public policy fellow for the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Children and Families. Lewis is the recipient of numerous awards, including the 2010 Distinguished Leadership in National Disability Policy Award and the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities Chairman's Award. In Oregon, she worked on public policy for the Oregon Developmental Disabilities Coalition and for The Arc. She served as the co-chair of the Oregon Family Action Coalition Team, founded, and managed the Oregon Partners in Policymaking Program, working with individuals with disabilities and family members to participate in policy decisions at all levels. Lewis is a parent to three daughters, including one with disability. She is a native of Michigan and a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis.


Economics Professor Emeritus Robert Metts is a UC Berkeley trained PhD economist with 25 years of research experience in the field of disability and development. Metts, who is disabled as a result of childhood polio, is a leading scholar, practitioner and advisor in the field of disability and development. From 1995 to 1996 he served as a Fulbright senior research scholar in Ghana, Kenya, and South Africa, conducting research into the extent to which people with disabilities were included in the mainstream activities of development assistance agencies. In 2000, he was commissioned by the World Bank to develop a conceptual framework for inclusionary disability policy that subsequently became the basis for the Bank's own disability strategy. In 2002 Metts chaired a United Nations Interregional Consultative Expert Meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia on appropriate and cost-effective disability-sensitive policy design and evaluation for sustainable livelihoods for all in the 21st century. In 2004, he was back at the World Bank headquarters leading a blue ribbon panel of development economists in an effort to create a framework for disability and development as an academic discipline. In 2005, he consulted with the leaders of the governments of Vietnam and Yemen to develop national disability policies and strategies based on the inclusionary framework he developed for the World Bank. Since retiring this year from the University of Nevada, Metts has shifted his efforts to improving the focus of disability policy research.


Ari Ne'eman is the president and co-founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, an advocacy organization run by and for autistic adults seeking to increase the representation of autistic people across society. He is an autistic adult and a leading advocate in the neurodiversity and self-advocacy movements. In 2009, President Obama nominated Ne'eman to the National Council on Disability, a federal agency charged with advising Congress and the president on disability policy issues. He was confirmed by the Senate in July 2010 and currently chairs the Council's Policy and Program Evaluation Committee. Ne'eman worked to shut down the New York University Child Study Center's "Ransom Notes" campaign and also led other successful disability community responses to offensive advertisements, including the response to the Autism Speaks "I am Autism" fundraising video. In his policy work, he has worked on a wide variety of disability rights legislation relating to education, transition, employment, rights protection and other areas.

In April 2010, he was appointed by Secretary Sebelius as a public member to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, a federal advisory committee that coordinates all efforts within the Department of Health and Human Services concerning autism. Appointed by Governor Jon Corzine, Ne'eman served as vice chair of the New Jersey Adults with Autism Task Force, where he represented autistic adults in reviewing the state's autism services. He also previously served on the New Jersey Special Education Review Commission, where he authored a minority report on the topic of aversives, restraint, and seclusion. In 2008, Ne'eman served as the first Patricia Morrissey Disability Policy fellow at the Institute for Educational Leadership. That year, he also received the HSC Foundation Advocates in Disability Award, and in 2009, he received the Expanding Horizons Award from United Cerebral Palsy. He is also a board member of TASH, an advocacy organization focusing on advancing social justice for people with significant disabilities. In addition, he was named by the New York Jewish Week as one of their "36 by 36" in 2010. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, where he studied political science in the Sondheim Public Affairs scholars program.


Margaret Nygren, EdD, joined AAIDD as executive director and CEO in 2010 after six years of service at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). Nygren's previous positions include a fellowship in the Disabled and Elderly Health Programs group at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in Baltimore, director of the Center on Aging and Disabilities at the Lieutenant Joseph P. Kennedy Institute in Washington, D.C., and director of both Family Support Services and of Mental Retardation Services at Kit Clark Senior Services in Boston.


Renee L. Pietrangelo, PhD, is chief executive officer of the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) in Alexandria, Virginia. Since the fall of 2001, she has played a key role in creating and implementing a national campaign, sponsored by ANCOR and endorsed by seven national disability organizations, to address workforce issues regarding recruiting and retention of direct support professionals who support people with disabilities.

Pietrangelo has overseen a national workforce research initiative in support of the campaign's objectives and is recognized as a national spokesperson on the issue. In that capacity she has worked with numerous federal and state leaders in crafting initiatives to address workforce shortages. In 2004 she was awarded the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services distinguished Secretary's Highest Recognition Award.

Pietrangelo has over 30 years of experience as a nonprofit association executive, with established expertise in the areas of leadership competencies and development, and education and training. Her previous association executive positions were in the fields of medical technology and financial services. Pietrangelo has been integrally involved in quantitative and qualitative national research on leadership competencies. She earned her PhD in philosophy at Georgetown University, with an emphasis on ethics and human values.


William Pound has been the executive director of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) since September 1987. He has been with the conference since its founding in 1975 and has been instrumental in the development of many of its innovative programs and services designed for legislators, legislative leaders, and legislative staff.

NCSL was created by the 50-state legislatures to represent their interest on the federal level and to develop greater interstate communication and cooperation. NCSL maintains a Washington, D.C. office, which represents state legislatures on state-federal issues and a Denver, Colorado office that works on state issues and priorities. NCSL provides a wide range of services to legislatures, including direct project assistance, research information, and publications.

Pound has researched and written extensively on legislatures and the legislative process and fiscal and public finance issues. He speaks to both national and international audiences on topics of state government fiscal conditions, public policy issues, and on the activities of state legislatures and federalism.


Sara Honn Qualls, PhD is the Kraemer family professor of aging studies professor, professor of psychology, and director of the Gerontology Center at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. She led the development of the doctoral program in clinical psychology that emphasizes geropsychology, and helped found the CU Aging Center where students learn to provide mental health and family interventions for older adults. She also founded the collaboration between UCCS and the Palisades at Broadmoor Park, a privately owned senior residential community, where faculty and students create cutting edge wellness programs using innovative technologies.

As a clinician, Qualls developed caregiver family therapy that integrates existing empirically based interventions with family therapy principles. Within the American Psychological Association, she chairs the Committee on Aging, and recently served on the Presidential Task Force on Caregiving that produced a Family Caregiver Briefcase of resources for psychologists. Qualls has published several books in geropsychology, including Aging and Mental Health, a clinical geropsychology series for clinicians, and her most recent book that describes the work of the team at the CU Aging Center on Caregiver Family Therapy is in press. Her research currently is studying the family caregiver therapy intervention, technology interventions designed to produce "prosocial" behavior in older adults and families, and senior housing wellness models.


Shauna Reitmeier comes to the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare with 17 years of behavioral healthcare experience including mental illness and developmental disabilities in addition to substance abuse. During that time she has been actively involved in direct clinical practice, clinical program development, administrative oversight, and evidence base practice implementation. Most recently she lived in Michigan where she spent the last eight years working with a four county Medicaid prepaid inpatient health plan and its extensive provider network. While there she took on several roles including the coordinator of affiliation activities, the director of a four county performance improvement program, and the director of provider relations. She currently serves as the director of technical assistance and contract manager for the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare and the SAMHSA/HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions.


Jo Ann Simons, MSW, is well known in the area of intellectual disability as someone whose commitment has enriched the lives of countless individuals. Currently the president and CEO of The Cardinal Cushing Centers, Inc. in Massachusetts, she was formerly the executive director of the Arc of East Middlesex (1993-2008) She hold positions on the boards of the National Down Syndrome Society and of LIFE, Inc of Cape Cod. Simons also served as a consultant to Special Olympics, Inc. and lectures throughout the world on issues on transition and future planning. She is the author of The Down Syndrome Transition Handbook as well as chapters in other books. Previously, she was the deputy superintendent of the. Fernald State School (1989-1993), the director of policy for the Massachusetts Department of Mental Retardation (1988-1989), president of the National Down Syndrome Congress (1983-1991) and on the board of directors of Special Olympics International (1989-1995). Simons has gracefully blended the roles of parent and professional.

She and her husband, Chet Derr, have two adult children: Jonathan, who has Down syndrome, is a graduate of Swampscott, Massachusetts High School and Cape Cod Community College. Currently, Jon lives independently in his own home on Cape Cod and has a life filled with meaningful paid work, important volunteer activities, many leisure pursuits and close friends. Emily, who reminds her that being "typical" is also special, is an attorney.


Jenifer Simpson is the senior director for Government Affairs at the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), a national membership organization in Washington, D.C. advocating for the independence of people with all disabilities. She heads the Telecommunications and Technology Policy Initiative at AAPD that focuses on ensuring that all technology – products and services – is designed and deployed with disability users in mind. At AAPD, she has initiated a Health Information Technology project, a Broadband Awareness campaign, a Digital TV Transition Consumer Education project, and an Emergency Awareness Outreach mission; these are efforts to educate consumers with disabilities and key stakeholders about how changes in the technology ecosystem impact people with disabilities and their families.

Simpson co-founded and co-chairs the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology, a coalition of over 315 national and community-based organizations who advocate for legislative and regulatory safeguards that will ensure full access by people with disabilities to evolving high speed broadband, wireless and other Internet Protocol (IP) communication technologies. Previously, at the Federal Communications Commission, she implemented the disability accessibility mandates in the Communications Act after working as an employment advisor at the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. Prior to government service, Simpson worked for United Cerebral Palsy Associations in their national office where her portfolio also included technology policy. Simpson has an MBA. from Trinity University and a BA in art from the University of Massachusetts. She parents a 26 year old young man with cerebral palsy.


Sue Swenson is deputy assistant secretary for the Office on Special Education and Rehabilitative Services and acting director of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). Swenson previously served as CEO of The Arc, as executive director of the Kennedy Foundation, and as U.S. commissioner for developmental disabilities in the Clinton administration. She was educated in interdisciplinary humanities at the University of Chicago and holds a master of business administration from the University of Minnesota. She is the mother of an adult man who has complex disabilities, and who now lives with two roommates and around the-clock supports in a hyper-accessible house in Maryland. The next challenge is to add more technology to reduce the "footprint" of staff.


Nancy Thaler is the executive director of the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS). NASDDDS, which serves 50 states and the District of Columbia, keeps state leaders informed about federal policy and service innovations, represents states" issues to federal agencies, and provides information and technical assistance to state administrators.

Thaler began her career in 1971 working in nonprofit agencies developing community services for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Joining Pennsylvania state government in 1987, she was appointed the state's deputy secretary for mental retardation from 1993 to 2003, where she managed a system of institutional and community services for over 80,000 individuals. Thaler's leadership enabled the expansion of community services for Pennsylvanians with disabilities on the waiting list for services as well as those living in institutions, resulting in a 50% reduction of the institutional population during her tenure. From 2003-2005, Thaler served as the director of quality improvement for the U.S . Department of Health and Human Services Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and was responsible for developing federal oversight of state-operated Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Waiver programs.

Thaler and her husband are the parents of an adult son with cognitive disabilities. She has a bachelor of arts in music from the College Misericordia and a master of human organization science/public administration from Villanova University. She is a recipient of the 2003 Censoni Award of Excellence in Public Services from NASDDDS; the 2003 Leadership Award from the AAIDD, and the 1992 Award for Contribution to Non-Aversive Behavioral Intervention from The National Association for People with Severe Handicaps (TASH).


Greg Wellems career began 25 years ago as a direct support professional for individuals with cognitive and developmental disabilities. For the last 20 years he has worked with Imagine!, a community centered board located in Boulder, Colorado. Wellems has been involved in the development of many innovative programs designed to better meet the needs of persons with disabilities and is responsible for several software programs that are being used by human service providers across the nation. His current focus is on developing and incorporating technology to improve supports for individuals with cognitive disabilities. This focus has resulted in the development of the two "SmartHomes," which serve as a model for the future of care for individuals with cognitive disabilities and related conditions. He works as a consultant, assisting organizations to implement assistive technology to improve the quality and efficacy of services and he also serves as a member of the board of directors for the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR).


Dustin Wright joined Rest Assured® in January 2006 as general manager. In this role, Wright works with residential providers, case managers, individuals with disabilities, seniors and families to tailor the Rest Assured® patented web-based Telecare system to meet each individual's needs. He oversees operations at the company's state-of-the-art network virtual support and response center and is responsible for marketing, sales and development.

Wright began his career as a direct support professional with a private provider in Indiana, while attending Purdue University. He holds a bachelor of science degree from Purdue. After graduation, Wright continued his work in the field of developmental disabilities as a QMRP and director of program services.