Shea Tanis

Emily Shea Tanis, PhD, is the Director for Policy and Advocacy at the Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities at the University of Colorado. Dr. Tanis has been a member of the Coleman Institute team for nearly a decade joining in 2010 as a Coleman fellow and quickly advancing into the roles of the Associate Director and Acting Executive Director and now Co-Director for the Institute under the new organizational structure. Dr. Tanis is also on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, where she has published articles and investigated the definition of intellectual disability, the measurement of adaptive behavior and support need, the construct of self-determination, federally funded supports and services for people with IDD and their families, and self-directed employment strategies.  She is nationally recognized for her expertise in applied cognitive technology supports, cognitive accessibility, and advancing the rights of people with cognitive disabilities to technology and information access.

Dr. Tanis serves as the PI for the State of the States in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Longitudinal Data Project of National Significance funded by the Office of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, U.S. Administration for Community Living which investigates the determinants of public spending for Intellectual and Developmental Disability Services in the United States and contributes to the project of Public Spending and Services for People with Disabilities examining cross-disability public spending in the United States.  Tanis has been a co-author on The State of the States in Developmental Disabilities Monograph since 2011. She is the sibling of a man with a traumatic brain injury and is past-chair of the National Sibling Leadership Network and co-founder of the Colorado Sibling Leadership Network Chapter- Rocky Mountain Sibs.  She received her PhD from the University of Kansas, Department of Special Education, MA from Rhode Island College, and BA from Brown University in Psychology.