Biographical Sketches of Invited Speakers and Panelists
David Abramson, Ph.D., M.P.H., is the deputy director and director of research at Columbia University’s National Center for Disaster Preparedness. Dr. Abramson’s areas of study include disaster recovery and resiliency, the social ecology of vulnerability, risk communication targeted at high-risk or elusive communities, and survey research on preparedness attitudes and behaviors. He is the principal investigator of the longitudinal Gulf Coast Child & Family Health Study, an examination of need and recovery among more than 1,000 randomly sampled displaced and impacted families in Louisiana and Mississippi (2006-2010), and is co-investigator of a National Institutes of Health study of the impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill on children’s health. In addition, Dr. Abramson is leading a foundation-funded effort to identify pediatric needs along the Gulf Coast. Other current or recent disaster-related research activities include studies of how U.S. cities recover from disasters, evolving trends in disaster philanthropy, the public health response to Hurricane Irene, and a Federal Emergency Management Agency–funded “community tabletop” that focused on how well school systems can prepare for disasters. From 2007 to 2010, Dr. Abramson served as an associate editor of the American Medical Association peer-reviewed journal Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness. Prior to entering the field of public health in 1990, Dr. Abramson worked for a decade as a national magazine journalist. He has written for Rolling Stone, Esquire, Outside, and the San Francisco
Examiner, among other publications. A former paramedic, Dr. Abramson holds a doctorate in sociomedical sciences with a specialization in political science and a master of public health degree, both from Columbia University.
Michael R. Anderson, M.D., FAAP (Workshop Chair), is vice president and chief medical officer for University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center and associate professor of pediatrics at Case Western Reserve School of Medicine. He specializes in pediatric critical care at UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio. In his role as chief medical officer, Dr. Anderson is charged with oversight of quality and patient safety; research and technology; graduate and continuing medical education; risk management; and credentialing and medical staff coordination for the 900-bed academic medical center campus, which includes the UH Seidman Cancer Center, the MacDonald Women’s Hospital, and the nationally renowned Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital. Dr. Anderson has been active at the local, state, and national levels in disaster preparedness and in 2008 was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as vice chair to the National Commission on Children and Disasters. The 10-member commission was charged with analyzing and making recommendations to the president and Congress for the improvement of the care of children in disasters. Dr. Anderson continues to serve as a consultant to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Disaster Medical System in the Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, DC, on pediatric disaster needs. In addition, he serves as chair of the National Children’s Hospitals Disaster Task Force and has testified in front of the U.S. Senate, the Institute of Medicine, and the President’s Commission on Bioethics. He is currently completing a health care executive M.B.A. program at the Kent State University School of Business.
Angie Besendorfer, Ed.L.D., serves as assistant superintendent of Joplin Schools (Missouri), a position she has held since 2007. Her areas of oversight include curriculum, instruction and accountability, special education, technology, and 21st-century learning. Since the May 2011 tornado, she has taken on roles related to the lease of temporary facilities, planning and design for four permanent buildings, and education of the Joplin public for the passage of the recent bond issue. Dr. Besendorfer served previously as superintendent for Reeds Spring School District and
was elementary principal at Mill Creek Elementary in Independence and Columbian Elementary in Carthage, Missouri. She has worked as director of special services in Holden, Missouri, was assistant director of the Central Regional Professional Development Center, and was an elementary teacher in the Nevada, Missouri, district, where she was instrumental in the establishment of the Storefront School for academically at-risk students. She has been a STARR (Select Teachers As Regional Resources) program teacher and has won the Miliken Family Foundation Award. She received her bachelor’s degree in education from Missouri Southern State University, her master’s of science degree in elementary administration from Central Missouri State University, and her doctorate in education leadership from the University of Missouri.
Allison Blake, M.S.W., Ph.D., was appointed commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families in June 2010. As commissioner, she has emphasized an integrated and strategic approach to serving children and families in the state. To that end, Dr. Blake has focused on a community-based, family-centered approach to service delivery throughout the work of the entire department; ensured the inclusion of parent and youth voices in the department’s planning and quality-improvement work; and fostered a significant expansion of partnerships with the community to help enhance child abuse prevention and family-strengthening efforts across the state. With a vision to promote sustainable growth and identify areas of improvement, as one of her first initiatives, Dr. Blake elevated the status of the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (formerly known as the Division of Youth and Family Services) office on adolescents to a department-level office with an emphasis on a more strategic approach to serving youth transitioning to adulthood. By partnering with youth, parents, stakeholders, service providers, and other state agencies to determine the current strengths of the system and the opportunities for improvement, a formal strategic plan was launched in 2011. In addition, Dr. Blake has created an internal office focused on performance management and accountability to help the department become a self-correcting, transparent organization. For almost 30 years, Dr. Blake has been working on behalf of children and families and the social workers who serve them. Prior to rejoining state service, she served as the director of the Institute for Families at the Rutgers School of Social Work, where she oversaw a portfolio of grants and contracts aimed at strengthening
families by building the capacity of the individuals and organizations that serve them. She also served as vice president of accreditation operations at the Council on Accreditation (COA), an international organization that develops best-practice standards for public and private organizations that provide services across the continuum of care. Her focus while at COA was on helping agencies build their capacity to improve service delivery, a focus she has carried to her vision and work as commissioner of the Department of Children and Families. Some may view Dr. Blake’s professional career as a cycle with an inevitable “homecoming,” as she spent 18 years at the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services working in various direct service and administrative positions. She later worked with the team charged with developing a blueprint for improving the capacity of the child welfare system to improve services for the state’s at-risk children and families. Dr. Blake earned her B.S. in social work from University of Dayton, an M.S. in social work from Rutgers University, and a Ph.D. in social work from Fordham University.
Judy Bezon Braune, M.S., was the associate director for Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) from September 2007 to December 2012. Her responsibilities included program development and expansion; supervision of staff; training, certification and deployment of volunteers; managing interagency relations; and creating partnerships to expand the capacity of the rapid response program. Before joining CDS, Ms. Bezon Braune worked as a school psychologist, implementing several programs promoting children’s mental health and utilizing play therapy techniques with at-risk and emotionally disturbed children.
Kathryn Brinsfield, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.E.P., serves as the acting assistant secretary of health affairs and acting chief medical officer for the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’s) Office of Health Affairs (OHA). She began her service with DHS in July 2008. Previously, she served as director of the Division of Workforce Health and Medical Support within OHA. Before joining DHS, Dr. Brinsfield worked for various organizations, including Massachusetts Homeland Security, Boston Emergency Medical Services (EMS), Boston Metropolitan Medical Response System, and the del Valle Emergency Preparedness Training Institute. Dr. Brinsfield left Boston as an associate professor at the Boston University Schools of Medicine and Public Health with 13 years of experience as an attending physician at Boston City Hospital/Boston Medical Center. She graduated with honors from
Brown University and received her M.D. from Tufts School of Medicine and her M.P.H. from Boston University. She completed her residency in emergency medicine at Cook County Hospital in Chicago and her EMS fellowship at Boston EMS. She worked for Boston EMS as director of research, training, and quality improvement; medical director for special operations; and associate medical director. She chaired the American College of Emergency Physician’s Disaster Committee, co-chaired the Massachusetts State Surge Committee, assisted in the creation of the Massachusetts Alternate Standards of Care Committee, and was the commander of the Massachusetts-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team and a supervisory medical officer for the International Medical and Surgical Response Team, which responded to the September 11 attacks.
Mary Casey-Lockyer, M.H.S., B.S.N., R.N., CCRN, is currently the manager/activity lead for Disaster Health Services at the national headquarters for the American Red Cross. Her responsibilities include Disaster Health Services program development and maintenance; supporting and coordinating the Disaster Health Services volunteer response to disasters; and fostering partnerships with federal/state/local partners and nongovernmental agencies and associations. Prior to her current position, Ms. Casey-Lockyer was an active volunteer with the American Red Cross and the Palatine, Illionois, Medical Reserve Corps. As a Disaster Health Services manager/chief with the Red Cross, she has been on 11 national deployments, most recently to the Hurricane Sandy response in New York. She also served on many volunteer project committees, including the Medical Reserve Corps partnership committee that developed the Building Block document. She received federal deployment training for the Medical Reserve Corps and participated in the Medical Reserve Corps support of the 2010 Chicago marathon. From 2002 to 2011, Ms. Casey-Lockyer was the emergency preparedness and response coordinator for Northwest Community Hospital located in Arlington Heights, Illionis. She was involved in emergency planning activities at the local, regional, state, and federal levels. Ms. Casey-Lockyer earned a master’s degree in homeland security with a focus on public health preparedness in 2010 from the Pennsylvania State University Hershey School of Medicine and holds a bachelor’s of science in nursing degree from DePaul University. Her nursing career includes staff nursing at Rush University Hospital, critical care open-heart nursing, and administrative supervisor roles at Northwest Community hospital.
Esther Chernak, M.D., M.P.H., is the director of the Center for Public Health Readiness and Communication at the Drexel University School of Public Health and an associate professor in the department of environmental health since 2010. At Drexel, Dr. Chernak teaches and directs research and service activities in community preparedness and building public health infrastructure. She recently collaborated with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics to complete a strategic plan for integrating community-based pediatricians into public health preparedness planning in Pennsylvania. Her current work also includes a public health risk assessment of metropolitan Philadelphia and the state of Pennsylvania, the development of a planning aid for public health emergencies for public health and health care professionals, and oversight of the National Resource Center for Advancing Emergency Preparedness for Culturally Diverse Communities (diversitypreparedness.org), a Web-based clearinghouse of resources. Dr. Chernak is an infectious diseases physician with two decades of experience in public health practice at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. She has held a variety of positions there since 1991, including clinical director of HIV services and public health physician in the department’s communicable disease control program. More recently, she served as medical director of the Acute Communicable Disease Control Program and as program manager of the Public Health Emergency Preparedness Program. Under her leadership, the department launched enhanced disease surveillance programs, a health alert network and website for public health partners, planning for pandemic influenza planning and mass prophylaxis, an outreach program to community-based organizations to reach vulnerable populations, and department-wide training in aspects of public health preparedness. In addition to her current academic position, she works as an infectious disease specialist and clinician in the health department’s primary care safety net system, where she provides clinical care to individuals with HIV and guides program implementation and policy regarding infectious diseases. She was also a public health physician for the Montgomery County Health Department in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, and served as that health department’s medical director from 2000 to 2001. Her areas of interest include public health practice and preparedness, clinical infectious diseases, and initiatives that foster collaborations between public health and medical practice. She is board certified in internal medicine and infectious diseases.
Bruce Clements, M.P.H., has served as the preparedness director at the Texas Department of State Health Services since 2009. He held the equivalent position for the State of Missouri from 2005 to 2007. In this capacity, he provides leadership and oversight for public health preparedness programs and related legislative initiatives in Texas. These efforts combine the disciplines of public health, clinical medicine, emergency management, and public administration to build a state wide public health and medical emergency response infrastructure. In addition, he manages federal public health and health care system preparedness grants and provides direction for statewide preparedness activities, including preparedness planning, training, and exercises. He also serves on the Texas Commission on State Emergency Communications representing the Department of State Health Services and providing oversight of the statewide 9-1-1 and poison control programs. Mr. Clements has extensive experience in emergency response activities, including forming and managing response teams that include an environmental health team that responded to the Midwest Floods of 1993; a public health team that deployed in 1997 to Hurricane Mitch in Honduras; Missouri state responses to ice storms, floods, and tornadoes; and Texas state responses to hurricanes, wildfires, West Nile virus, and the H1N1 influenza pandemic. He also assisted in the formation of the Missouri Task Force 1, Urban Search and Rescue Team and the Missouri-1 Disaster Medical Assistance Team. During a 23-year career in the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard, Mr. Clements served as a disaster preparedness specialist responding to a wide range of emergency situations and as a public health officer. He received a master’s of public health degree from Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Missouri, and served as the associate director of the Saint Louis University Institute for Biosecurity from 2000 to 2005. The institute developed preparedness courses and multimedia education and reference materials on bioterrorism and emerging infections; planned and coordinated research initiatives to better identify and define preparedness information and training needs of health care and public health workers; and developed an online master of science in biosecurity degree program. He has current adjunct instructor appointments at the Texas A&M Health Sciences Center, School of Rural Public Health, Department of Health Policy & Management, and the University of North Texas Health Science Center, School of Public Health, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health. He has published a variety of articles on preparedness, contributed book chapters, and authored a textbook
on disasters and public health. He has also lectured extensively on preparedness topics for more than 20 years.
Richard Devylder is the nation’s senior advisor for accessible transportation at the U.S. Department of Transportation, appointed in July 2010 by President Obama. Mr. Devylder advises the department’s efforts to develop and execute effective policy strategies to ensure that all modes of transportation are accessible and integrated to meet the diverse functional needs of the public. Mr. Devylder served as special advisor to the secretary of the California Emergency Management Agency from January 2008 to June 2010, focusing on the access and functional needs of people with disabilities in disasters. Mr. Devylder provided guidance in reviewing and reshaping emergency management systems, policies, and practices in communicating, evacuating, and sheltering Californians with disabilities. As deputy director for the California Department of Rehabilitation from August 2003 to January 2008, Mr. Devylder was responsible for the oversight of four departmental divisions. From 2001 to 2003, he served as chairman of the State Independent Living Council and as the executive director of the Dayle McIntosh Center from September 2000 to August 2003.
Dan Dodgen, Ph.D., is the director for At-Risk Individuals, Behavioral Health, and Community Resilience in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). His office focuses on ensuring that at-risk individuals, behavioral health, and community resilience are integrated into federal public health and medical preparedness and response activities. Before joining HHS, Dr. Dodgen served as special assistant to the CEO and senior legislative and federal affairs officer at the American Psychological Association (APA). Before joining APA, Dr. Dodgen was a fellow with the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Education. He has served on multiple federal advisory groups and authored numerous articles and book chapters on psychology and public policy. He received the APA 2005 Early Career Award for Contribution to Psychology in the Public Interest and was elected a fellow of APA in 2012. He is a licensed clinical psychologist in the District of Columbia.
George Foltin, M.D., is currently the director of the Center for Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Maimonides Infant and Children’s Hospital,
where he is an associate professor of pediatrics and emergency medicine at the New York University School of Medicine, and serves as the vice chair of the department of pediatrics. He is board certified in pediatrics, emergency medicine, and pediatric emergency medicine. Among his numerous committee activities, he is the chairperson of the American Academy of Pediatrics District II Committee on Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC), chairperson of the New York City (NYC) Task Force on Terrorism Preparedness for Children and, founding president of the New York Society for Pediatric Emergency Medicine. Since 1985, Dr. Foltin has published extensively in the field of emergency medical services for children and serves as a consultant to the New York City and New York State departments of health, as well as to federal programs such as the Maternal and Child Health Bureau and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Most recently, Dr. Foltin has worked with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) to develop a New York Pediatric Disaster Coalition. Previous collaborative efforts with DOHMH have included a Pediatric Blast Tabletop Disaster Exercise and a Pediatric Disaster Preparedness Toolkit for the General Hospital; and, with the national EMSC program, a similar toolkit for the prehospital community. Dr. Foltin has been and continues to be principal investigator for many federally funded grants, including a project to develop the Pediatric Terrorism and Disaster Preparedness Resource in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics; the Pediatric Out-of-Hospital Cardiac and Respiratory Arrest Study in NYC; a project to develop the basic and paramedic versions of the TRIPP (Teaching Resource for Instructors in Prehospital Pediatrics); and, as co-investigator, the EMSC Research Network Development Demonstration Project and the EMSC Model Pediatric Component for State Disaster Plans Project.
Patricia Frost, M.S., R.N., PNP, is the director of emergency medical services (EMS) for Contra Costa County, supporting the coordination and oversight of the EMS system serving 1.1 million people with more than 75,000 calls per year and more than 55,000 transports. She also serves as co-chair of the California Coalition for Neonatal/Pediatric Disaster Preparedness, linking novice to expert to support local disaster preparedness for infants and children. Ms. Frost is an experienced clinician and program and project manager with more than 30 years of pediatric and neonatal critical care and ambulatory experience in a variety of roles, including faculty positions at major universities, medical
relief work in Ecuador and Vietnam, staff development, patient care, and advanced practice nursing. She has expertise in creating, developing, and managing programs supporting implementation of standards of care in communities, including pediatric life-support training, patient safety, quality improvement, ST Elevation Myocardial Infarction (STEMI) System Development, and STROKE systems. Among her goals is to fully integrate EMS with the health care system of Contra Costa County. Her specialties include EMS administration, program development, coalition building, pediatric emergency care, prehospital and pediatric health care provider education and training, emergency preparedness, prehospital quality improvement and safety, pediatric disaster and surge preparedness, and STEMI and STROKE system development.
Peter Gudaitis, M.Div., is president of the National Disaster Interfaiths Network—a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that provides consulting, speakers, research, and training to disaster human services and faith-based initiatives to faith communities, faith-based organizations, community-based organizations, colleges/universities, foundations, and government agencies who seek to engage and enhance the mitigation, readiness, response, and recovery capacity of faith communities and government partnerships with whole communities. He also lectures and offers trainings nationally and internationally on religious competency and building sustainable faith-based partnerships as well as disaster readiness, response, and recovery services best practices. From 2003 to 2009, Mr. Gudaitis was the executive director and CEO of New York Disaster Interfaith Services (NYDIS) and currently serves on the board of directors and as its chief response officer. NYDIS is a 501(c)(3) federation of judicatories, faith-based human service providers, and charitable organizations that work in partnership to provide disaster readiness, response, and recovery services for New York City hazards (including 9/11 response). NYDIS collaborates with local, state, and national agencies involved in facilitating the delivery of nonsectarian spiritual care, secular disaster human services, resources, and information to religious communities, underserved victims, and impacted neighborhoods. Mr. Gudaitis has more than 25 years of experience in chaplaincy, emergency management, faith-based philanthropy, program management, and social services administration. He is a former emergency medical services (EMS) supervisor and EMS chaplain. Mr. Gudaitis holds a master of divinity degree from the General Theological Seminary of the Episcopal Church and a B.A. from Kenyon College. He
participates on many local and national disaster human services and nonprofit boards and committees. Mr. Gudaitis is a research associate at the University of Southern California Center for Religion and Civic Culture and a guest lecturer and member of the Emergency & Disaster Management Masters of Public Health (MPH) Advisory Board at the Metropolitan College of New York. Most recently, he was appointed to the New York State Response Commission by Governor Andrew Cuomo.
Ashley Houston is a junior at Hurricane High School in Hurricane, Utah. She is a member of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s national youth preparedness council. As such, she is charged with promoting disaster preparedness in her community as well as others, specifically focusing on youth preparedness. Ms. Houston is a Hugh O’Brian Youth alumnus as well as a Leadership Academy graduate, through which she has learned to be a leader and an effective member of society. Ms. Houston is a member of the Teen Community Emergency Response Team and also has completed the training as a Community Emergency Response Team trainer. In addition, she is a member of Hurricane’s National Honor Society and is currently secretary for her school’s Health Occupation Students of America. Her most recent accomplishment is the completion of a Teen Community Emergency Response Team course at her high school.
Richard Hunt, M.D., FACEP, serves as senior medical advisor for the National Healthcare Preparedness Programs in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and as adjunct professor of emergency medicine at Emory University School of Medicine. Prior to serving in his current position, Dr. Hunt was a distinguished consultant and director of the Division of Injury Response at the National Center for Injury Prevention Control at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). While at CDC, he led the development of medical preparedness and response initiatives for terrorist bombings, including the guidance “In a Moment’s Notice: Surge Capacity for Terrorist Bombings, and the Tale of Our Cities” conference series. He oversaw the development of CDC’s guidances on “National Guidelines for Field Triage of Injured Patients”; the “Acute Injury Care Research Agenda”; and “Advanced Automatic Collision Notification and Triage of the Injured Patient.” He was CDC’s representative to the Federal Interagency Committee on emergency
medical services (EMS). In collaboration with the World Health Organization, Dr. Hunt led CDC’s work to develop and implement trauma systems in low- and middle-income countries. Prior to his work at CDC, he served as professor and chair of the department of emergency medicine at the State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. In the field of critical care transport, Dr. Hunt was medical director of EastCare at East Carolina University School of Medicine and vice chair of the Commission on Accreditation of Medical Transport Systems. With the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), he served as chair of the Trauma Care and Injury Control Committee and for 10 years was liaison from ACEP to the American College of Surgeons’ Committee on Trauma. He is the founding president of Advocates for EMS and is a past president of the National Association of EMS Physicians.
Amy Knight, M.H.A., is the senior vice president of the Children’s Hospital Association, representing more than 220 hospital organizations and programs dedicated to improving child health through innovation in care, education, and research. The association is the result of the 2011 merger between the former National Association of Children’s Hospitals and Related Institutions, the National Association of Children’s Hospitals, and Child Health Corporation of America and comprises more than 200 staff advancing public policy, business performance improvement, quality, and advocacy with its member hospitals. Ms. Knight’s specific responsibilities include oversight of marketing, policy, and corporate communications, public relations, governance, member relations, and education. The association currently has offices in Alexandria, Virginia, and Overland Park, Kansas. Ms. Knight joined the association in November 2011. She was previously a partner in the health care practice at Kurt Salmon, a global consulting firm. In this capacity, she also served as the director of Children’s Hospital Services. As a strategic advisor to children’s hospitals and academic medical centers across the nation, she understands their strategic and operating issues in the evolving legislative, payor, and regulatory environments. She routinely led engagements with hospital executive teams and boards to position their enterprises for success in their local, regional, and national markets. Ms. Knight has a master’s of health administration degree from Washington University’s School of Medicine in St. Louis and a bachelor of arts degree in history from the University of Texas at Austin.
Evelyn Lyons, B.S.N., M.P.H., is the manager and co–principal investigator of the Illinois Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) program within the Division of EMS & Highway Safety, Illinois Department of Public Health. She has coordinated the Illinois EMSC program since 1994. In this role, her responsibilities involve developing and implementing pediatric emergency care and disaster preparedness initiatives within the state of Illinois, as well as coordinating several data projects that are conducted in conjunction with the Illinois Department of Transportation. Her background includes public health, grants management, and quality improvement as well as more than 30 years of experience in emergency nursing and emergency medical services. She received a bachelor of science in nursing degree from St. Xavier University, Chicago, Illinois, in 1977 and a master’s of public health degree from Benedictine University, Lisle, Illinois, in 1998.
Gregg Margolis, Ph.D., NREMT-P, is the director of the Division of Healthcare Systems and Heath Policy for the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He leads a team of policy experts in formulating, analyzing, and implementing policies to build strong, integrated, and resilient health systems that are prepared to respond to and recover from disasters and public health emergencies. Prior to his federal service, Dr. Margolis was the associate director of the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians, a nonprofit organization that serves as the national certification agency for almost 300,000 emergency medical services professionals. Dr. Margolis has held leadership positions and faculty appointments at the George Washington University, the University of Pittsburgh, and the Center for Emergency Medicine of Western Pennsylvania. In 2009-2010, Dr. Margolis was the first paramedic to be awarded a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellowship, through which he served in the Office of Senator John D. Rockefeller.
Ann Masten, Ph.D., LP, is the Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Development and Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota. She completed her Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Minnesota and her clinical psychology internship at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research focuses on understanding processes that promote competence and resilience in the context of adversity and trauma. She
directs the Project Competence studies of risk and resilience, including studies of normative populations and individuals exposed to war, natural disaster, poverty, homelessness, and migration. Dr. Masten is currently a member of the Board on Children, Youth, and Families (BCYF), Institute of Medicine (IOM)/National Research Council, the U.S. National Committee of Psychology, and the Governing Council of the Society for Research in Child Development (as past president). She served on the BCYF Committee on the Impact of Mobility and Change on the Lives of Young Children, Schools, and Neighborhoods and currently serves on the collaborative IOM planning committee for Investing in Young Children Globally and the planning group for the workshop on Medical and Public Health Disaster and Preparedness Response for Children and Families. She has published widely on topics related to resilience in human development, including reviews on children and families exposed to disaster, war, and terrorism. She has received numerous honors, most recently the 2014 Urie Bronfenbrenner Award for Lifetime Contribution to Developmental Psychology in the Service of Science and Society from the American Psychological Association.
Janice Molnar, Ph.D., is deputy commissioner of the Division of Child Care Services in the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS). OCFS provides oversight and monitoring of more than 21,000 regulated child care providers and another 47,000 legally exempt providers in New York State. Throughout her 30-year career, which has included work in the public and nonprofit sectors, Dr. Molnar has concentrated on program and policy issues affecting children, youth, and families. Trained as a developmental psychologist, she has a background in research and evaluation and has experience in organizational development and organizational learning, cross-sector planning and process facilitation, and evaluation and assessment of educational and human service activities both in the United States and internationally. She earned a B.A. from Northwestern University and holds a Ph.D. from Cornell University, where her dissertation focused on the impacts of different kinds of child care arrangements on selected indicators of child development.
Scott Needle, M.D., FAAP, is a community pediatrician in Naples, Florida, and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics’s (AAP’s) Disaster Preparedness Advisory Council. His personal and
professional experiences on the Mississippi Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina have led to national attention regarding disaster-related children’s health issues, pediatric private practice, disaster preparedness, and health problems related to Federal Emergency Management Agency trailers. He is the author of “A Disaster Preparedness Plan for Pediatricians,” which was developed as an interactive online tool for the AAP’s website. His article “Private Practice After Hurricane Katrina: A Proposal for Recovery” was published in the October 2008 issue of Pediatrics, followed by “The Art of the Possible: Looking Back and Ahead Five Years After Landfall” in the August 2011 Supplement to Pediatrics. In April 2011 he represented Florida at the AAP–Centers for Disease Control and Prevention meeting Enhancing Pediatric Partnerships to Promote Pandemic Preparedness, and was co-author on the related commentary “Improving Pediatric Preparedness Performance Through Strategic Partnerships” (published in June 2012 in Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness). Since 2012, he has been a consultant to the Pennsylvania Chapter of the AAP for the Philadelphiaarea Community Preparedness Project, in cooperation with the Drexel University School of Public Health and the Pennsylvania Department of Health. This project seeks to bring primary care pediatricians and health departments together for disaster preparedness, response, and communications. Dr. Needle has also contributed to work on community resilience, pediatric medical countermeasures, pediatric disaster education, and anthrax guidelines. He received his M.D. degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland, and completed his pediatric internship and residency at New England Medical Center/Tufts University in Boston, Massachusetts.
Georgina Peacock, M.D., is a medical officer and developmental-behavioral pediatrician at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. She is currently working with CDC’s Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response on an initiative to enhance public health disaster preparedness and response for children. In addition, Dr. Peacock continues to see patients in a developmental clinic at the Good Samaritan Health Center and is an adjunct professor with the Georgia State Center for Leadership in Disability and Georgia State Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental & Related Disabilities (LEND) program. Dr. Peacock received her doctor of medicine and master of public health degrees from the University of Kansas. She
completed her pediatric residency training at the University of Kansas. She is also a former LEND trainee who completed her developmental-behavioral pediatrics fellowship at the Developmental Disabilities Center at the University of Kansas Medical Center. She initially joined CDC as an Association for University Centers on Disabilities fellow.
Irwin Redlener, M.D., is the director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, which works to understand and improve the nation’s capacity to prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters. He is a nationally recognized expert on disaster preparedness policies, pandemic influenza, the threat of terrorism in the United States, the impact and consequences of major natural disasters, and related issues. Following Hurricane Sandy, Dr. Redlener was appointed by Governor Andrew Cuomo to co-chair the New York State Ready Commission, and he also recently served as 1 of the 10 members of the congressionally established National Commission on Children and Disasters. He is the author of Americans at Risk: Why We Are Not Prepared for Megadisasters and What We Can Do Now, published in August 2006 by Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Dr. Redlener is also president and co-founder, with Paul Simon, of the Children’s Health Fund, a philanthropic initiative created to develop health care programs in 25 of the nation’s most medically underserved urban and rural communities. Under his leadership, the Children’s Health Fund has grown to become a national network of more than 50 mobile and fixed-site pediatric clinics providing more than 250,000 health care encounters each year. Dr. Redlener received his M.D. from the University of Miami School of Medicine and his pediatric training at Babies Hospital of the Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City, the University of Colorado Medical Center, and the University of Miami-Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. He holds honorary doctoral degrees from Hunter College of the City University of New York and Hofstra University, among numerous other awards and honors.
Marcie Roth is director of the Office of Disability Integration and Coordination of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a position to which she was appointed by President Obama in 2009. Ms. Roth serves as senior advisor to Administrator Fugate and as director of the FEMA Office of Disability Integration and Coordination, supporting implementation of
objectives toward achieving the President’s National Preparedness Goal and leading the national transformation toward integrating the access and functional needs of children and adults with disabilities in all aspects of whole-community emergency preparedness and disaster response, recovery, and mitigation. Ms. Roth joined FEMA after serving for more than 20 years in senior leadership positions with national and international disability policy organizations. She led national private-sector response to the additional needs of survivors with disabilities during and after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, and she was commended by the White House for her efforts on behalf of New Yorkers with disabilities in the aftermath of the 2001 terrorist attacks. She has been deployed to New York since early November as a member of the Hurricane Sandy Joint Field Office Command Staff, where she manages a team of 15 disability integration advisors.
Andrew Rucks, Ph.D., is professor in the department of health care organization and policy at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. He has more than 30 years of academic and business experience. He has authored 2 books, 9 computer programming aids, and more than 75 articles and cases that have appeared in Public Health Reports, Journal of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, Long Range Planning, Journal of Systems Management, Business Horizons, Maternal and Child Health Journal, International Journal of Mass Emergencies and Disasters, and others. Dr. Rucks works extensively with state and local health departments. His focus is on developing a regional pediatric disaster surge network for response to disasters affecting children, continuity of operations planning, strategic planning, budgeting, preparedness exercises and drills, and process optimization. Dr. Rucks also serves as the executive director of the survey research unit of the University of Alabama at Birmingham and as executive director of the Southeastern Regional Pediatric Disaster Surge Network. His academic teaching focuses on finance, leadership, and management.
David Schonfeld, M.D., FAAP, is a developmental-behavioral pediatrician and the pediatrician-in-chief and director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children and chair of the department of pediatrics at Drexel University College of Medicine. He is a member the American Academy of Pediatrics Disaster Preparedness Advisory Council and the Sandy
Hook Commission in Conneticut, and served as a commissioner for the National Commission on Children and Disasters. Dr. Schonfeld established the School Crisis Response Program in 1991 at Yale University School of Medicine, which provided training to tens of thousands of school-related personnel in school systems throughout the country and abroad and provided technical assistance in hundreds of school crisis events. He consulted for the New York City (NYC) Department of Education to help optimize the infrastructure within the system for crisis preparedness and response and to provide training to and technical assistance in the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001, which included the training of approximately 1,000 district and school-level crisis teams. In 2005, Dr. Schonfeld was awarded funding by the September 11th Children’s Fund and the National Philanthropic Trust to establish a National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement (NCSCB); additional funding from the New York Life Foundation provides partial support for ongoing services. The goal of the NCSCB is to promote an appreciation of the role schools can serve to support students, staff, and families at times of crisis and loss; to collaborate with organizations and agencies to further this goal; and to serve as a resource for information, training materials, consultation, and technical assistance. Dr. Schonfeld has provided consultation and training on school crises and pediatric bereavement in the aftermath of a number of school crisis events and disasters in the United States and abroad, including school and community shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, Aurora, Colorado, and Chardon, Ohio; flooding from Hurricanes Sandy in NYC and New Jersey, Katrina in New Orleans, Louisiana, and Ike in Galveston, Texas; tornadoes in Joplin, Missouri, and Alabama; and the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan, China.
Merritt Schreiber, Ph.D., is associate clinical professor and director, psychological programs, in the Center for Disaster Medicine, University of California, Irvine, School of Medicine. Dr. Schreiber is involved in the development of best-practice models bridging disaster medical, mental, and public health in mass casualty events. Dr. Schreiber has developed the PsySTART Rapid Mental Health Triage and Incident Management System for use in 88 hospitals and 33 community clinics in Los Angeles County, the District of Columbia, in statewide implementation in Minnesota, and nationally with American Red Cross disaster mental health. He is the originator of a novel psychological first aid program for children, parents, teachers, and family members called
“Listen, Protect, and Connect” featured on the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Ready.gov/kids website. Dr. Schreiber is also the primary developer of “Anticipate, Plan, and Deter,” a disaster responder resilience system being developed for LA County Emergency Medical personnel and other federal response assets. Dr. Schreiber is currently the mental health team lead for National Disaster Medical System/Disaster Medical Assistance System CA-1 and state disaster mental health advisor for the American Red Cross for Southern California. Dr. Schreiber is a member of the California Disaster Mental Health Coalition serving as an expert in children’s issues in disasters. Dr. Schreiber was deployed to the Sandy Hook school shooting as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Behavioral Health LNO in Newtown, Connecticut, and to the Boston Marathon bombing for the HHS/National Disaster Medical System. Dr. Schreiber was reserve captain, U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS), and served on detached service to the Office of the Command Surgeon, NORAD-USNORTHCOM, U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), from 2008 to 2010. In this role, Dr. Schreiber supported the NORTHCOM SG in the development of force mental health protection and resilience strategies and response to mental health issues in catastrophic medical events for the DoD Defense Support to Civilian Authority mission. Dr. Schreiber received the Joint Meritorious Service Medal from U.S. Northern Command in 2009 for these efforts. For the USPHS, Dr. Schreiber was activated in support of the CDC Emergency Operations Center in response to the Southeast Asian Tsunami and Hurricane Katrina. Dr. Schreiber has developed the first concept of operations (CONOPS) for LA County Department of Mental Heatlh, Seattle and King County Public Health and the first National Children’s Disaster Mental Health Concept of Operations with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network’s Terrorism Disaster Center at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Dr. Schreiber currently serves on the National Academies of Science Institute of Medicine Committee on Crisis Standards of Care. Dr. Schreiber received the California Psychological Association Distinguished Humanitarian Contribution Award and a presidential citation from the American Psychological Association for his work related to 9/11. For his federal service, Dr. Schreiber received the Crisis Response Award, Outstanding Unit Citation, and Special Commendation from the U.S. Surgeon General for his development of USPHS response team disaster training.
Linda K. Smith is the deputy assistant secretary and interdepartmental liaison for early childhood development for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In this role, 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 to 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. Ms. Smith 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. In addition, Ms. Smith has held positions with both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force. Ms. Smith 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.
Robert W. Smith, M.D., M.B.A., FAAFP, is a senior medical director for the Central Region of UnitedHealthcare Clinical Services, a division of UnitedHealthcare, the nation’s largest health insurer. Responsible for clinical excellence, Dr. Smith supervises a team of medical directors focused on implementing clinical innovation, improving affordability, and ensuring availability of appropriate and timely care. Dr. Smith previously served as a market medical director for UnitedHealthcare in Missouri and southern Illinois. Prior to that, he served in the department of family medicine of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine as vice chair for education. Clinically active until early 2008, he was on the medical staff of several University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
(UPMC) Health System facilities. UPMC is one of the largest integrated care systems in the nation. Other significant previous roles include acting chief medical officer for a start-up and licensing phase of a new Medicaid health maintenance organization in Erie, Pennsylvania; residency director of the Meadville Medical Center Family Medicine Residency in Meadville, Pennsylvania; and executive vice president of medical affairs of the Health Care Group of St. Louis, PC. A native of Los Angeles, Dr. Smith graduated from the University of Southern California with a B.A. in psychology (cum laude) and received his M.D. from the University of California, Irvine, College of Medicine. He completed his residency training while on active duty in the U.S. Navy at the Naval Regional Medical Center, Camp Pendleton, California. Dr. Smith is board certified and currently recertified by the American Board of Family Medicine and is a fellow in the American Academy of Family Physicians. He is a member of the Christian Medical Dental Association and a life member of the American College of Physician Executives. In addition, Dr. Smith completed a graduate extension certificate in executive medical management through the extension program at the Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Irvine. He also holds an M.B.A. from the Keller Graduate School of Management of DeVry University (with distinction), where he won the coveted national George P. Doherty Award for excellence. Dr. Smith served until recently on the National Advisory Board of DeVry University. He recently served on the board of directors for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, St. Louis, and the Institute for Family Medicine, St. Louis, and was an active member of the Honor Guard of American Legion Post 388 in O’Fallon, Missouri. Dr. Smith’s teaching, practice, and management experience includes rural and urban settings in California, Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Pennsylvania, the Republic of the Philippines, the Republic of Panama, and while deployed at sea and in Europe aboard the former U.S.S. Guam (LPH-9) as an amphibious task force (ATF) medical director (commander ATF surgeon). He has extensive experience in the public and private sector and in both for profit and not-for-profit entities.
Kathy J. Spangler, CAE, CPRP, Ph.D. (Hon.), serves as vice president, U.S. Programs for Save the Children, where she manages the domestic commitment to creating immediate and lasting change for children in need. Save the Children, U.S. Programs, is focused on improving educational outcomes for children living in poverty through
early childhood development, literacy, physical activity, and nutrition. In addition, Save the Children is the preeminent organization dedicated to protecting children during emergencies and disasters and focuses on preparedness and response efforts. Previously, at America’s Promise Alliance, Dr. Spangler served in a variety of executive-level positions, including chief development officer, chief operating officer, and executive vice president of partnerships and programs from 2007 to 2010. Dr. Spangler served as the founding director of national partnerships for the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). Dr. Spangler’s 20 years of dedicated service at the NRPA created a lasting impact the field of parks and recreation in the areas of healthy lifestyles, youth development, environmental stewardship, and high-quality sports. Dr. Spangler is a recognized leader in health promotion and was responsible for writing and directing two Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cooperative agreements, two National Institutes of Health programs, and multiple grants from corporations and foundations. She served as a national spokesperson for physical activity and nutrition, working with federal agencies and Congress on environmental policy changes promoting healthy lifestyles and livable communities. Dr. Spangler received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine at Presque Isle in 1979, was recognized as alumnus of the year in 1998, and received an honorary doctorate in 2003. She is a past president of the National Coalition for Promoting Physical Activity and has served on the executive committee for the U.S. Tennis Association.
Ginny Sprang, Ph.D., is a professor in the College of Medicine, department of psychiatry, at the University of Kentucky, and the executive director of the UK Center on Trauma and Children, a center whose mission is dedicated to the enhancement of the health and the well-being of children and their families through research, service, and dissemination of information about traumatic stress in pediatric populations. Dr. Sprang is the principal investigator of several projects funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Health Resources and Services Administration that examine treatment effectiveness and best practices protocols for disaster-, violence-, and trauma-exposed children and families. Dr. Sprang received her Ph.D. from the University of Texas in 1991 and served as a visiting associate professor in the department of psychiatry at the University of Colorado
Health Science Center, Irving Harris Program in Child Development and Infant Mental Health, during her sabbatical. Dr. Sprang serves as the chair of the Bioterrorism and Terrorism Disaster Special Interest Group of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies, has served on the steering committee for the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, and is the national co-chair of the Secondary Traumatic Stress Committee for that organization. Dr. Sprang has published extensively in the area of child traumatic stress, victimization, and post-disaster recovery of adult and pediatric populations.
Kari Tatro is the executive vice president of emergency management operations for BCFS Health and Human Services, an international system of nonprofit corporations. Ms. Tatro operates a comprehensive emergency management program for all-hazards planning, preparedness, response, and recovery operations, with specific emphasis on medical needs operations; functional needs support services; and all other health and medical emergencies. She has functioned as command staff for multiple incidents, including as incident commander of medical needs operations for Hurricanes Dolly, Gustav, and Ike. Ms. Tatro is a foremost expert on emergency planning for people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs and served as the executive manager and subject-matter expert responsible for developing the Federal Emergency Management Agency document and curriculum on integrating Functional Need Support Services (FNSS) into general population sheltering, published in 2010. Ms. Tatro provides training and consultation across the nation at conferences, symposiums, and one-on-one training for jurisdictions requesting specific assistance with interpretation of the FNSS guidelines and/or implementation. Ms. Tatro started her career as a wildland fire fighter for the U.S. Forest Service, moving to a position where she coordinated planning, mitigation, response, and recovery for local, state, and federal governments in Texas. Prior to her career with BCFS, Ms. Tatro served as a regional liaison officer with the Texas Division of Emergency Management. In this time, she assisted local and tribal governments in developing and implementing local emergency operation plans, developing and coordinating disaster exercises and securing, and coordinating state and federal response assets to support jurisdictional disasters. Ms. Tatro had an integral role in coordinating the regional state response to Hurricane Rita for 16 counties in eastern Texas, including evacuation operations for
eight counties and shelter operations in eight hosting counties, sheltering a population of more than 40,000 persons.
Joyce A. Thomas, M.A., is the regional administrator for the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) in ACF Region II. The region comprises New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. In this capacity, Ms. Thomas partners with state, local, and community-based organizations and tribes within the region to promote economic independence and healthy development of children and families. Ms. Thomas provides executive leadership and direction to ensure coordination and integration of activities among Head Start, child care, foster care and adoption, child support enforcement, youth services, and Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) programs. Ms. Thomas serves as national lead regional administrator for the Office of Community Services and the Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnership Initiatives within ACF. She is one of the founders and co-chairs of ACF’s African American Healthy Marriage Initiative. Previously, Ms. Thomas served as the regional administrator for ACF’s Region V, which includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin, and 35 tribal nations. While Region V administrator, Ms. Thomas also led the federal regional Interagency Council on Homelessness. Under Emergency Preparedness and Response, ACF Region II partners with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, state government, grantees, and tribes to ensure coordination of essential human services programs during disasters. Ms. Thomas has played pivotal roles in coordinating on-the-ground responses to Hurricane Irene (2011) and Superstorm Sandy (2012 and continuing), the largest storm in history in the Atlantic Ocean in terms of size and the second-costliest hurricane ever to make landfall in the United States. Ms. Thomas was the recipient of the Assistant Secretary for Children and Families’ 2012 Exemplary Leadership Award for her work concerning Hurricane Irene. Prior to her employment with ACF, Ms. Thomas served as the commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Social Services. As Commissioner, she implemented major changes in the child support enforcement, TANF, and Medicaid programs and played a major role in the creation of Connecticut’s innovative School Readiness legislation. A graduate of the University of Northern Iowa, Ms. Thomas received a B.A. in social work and an M.A. in counseling, with a minor in Spanish.
Jeff Upperman, M.D., is an associate professor of surgery in the department of surgery at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California. He is an attending faculty surgeon, director of the trauma program, Pediatric Disaster Resource and Training Center, and program director for the Pediatric Surgery Fellowship Program at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Dr. Upperman graduated from Stanford University in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in human biology and a master’s degree in sociology. He earned his medical degree and completed his surgical residency at New Jersey Medical School. Dr. Upperman’s research interests include trauma, injury prevention, sepsis, inflammation, and disaster preparedness. Dr. Upperman practices at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and in the San Fernando Valley.
Lieutenant Commander Jonathan White, Ph.D., LCSW-C, is the deputy director of the Office of Human Services Emergency Preparedness and Response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families. He is a commissioned officer in the U.S. Public Health Service and a licensed clinical social worker. He holds an M.S.W. in clinical and macro social work from the Catholic University of America, a Ph.D. in American literature from George Washington University, a licensed certified social worker–clinical license, and social work supervisor certification from the State of Maryland, and is a board-certified diplomate in clinical social work. He has worked previously as a hospital social worker specializing in work with advanced oncology patients, disaster mental health responder, college English professor, and labor union campaign staffer.
John Wible, J.D., is general counsel (retired), Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH), and currently adjunct professor of public health law at the University of Alabama School of Law. At ADPH, he served as assistant attorney general; as chief legal officer to the department; and as advisor to the state health officer, State Board of Health, and state-level and county-level public health agencies. He managed ADPH’s grants and contracts and supervised all litigation, legislation, and rule-making procedures. He served as bioterrorism counsel and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy officer and chaired ADPH’s institutional review board and compliance committee. He taught Continuing Legal Education courses on public health–related subjects and taught seminars for the South Central Center for Public Health, University of South Alabama, Tulane University School of Public Health
and Tropical Medicine, and University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health. He also serves as a visiting lecturer, University of South Alabama, School of Medicine, and as the State Mortuary Response Team’s Family Assistance Center executive director. At Gateway Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama, he serves as volunteer worship coordinator; Sunday School teacher; principal, Gateway Academy and tutoring program; liaison to Korean Church congregation; teacher, English as a second language; and teacher, American history. He has taken missions trips to Brazil, Canada, India, and various U.S. cities.
Patricia Wright, Ph.D., M.P.H., has a passion for education and advocacy and has dedicated her career to ensuring that individuals with autism are fully included in society. Her personal mission is to offer support that makes it possible for people with autism lead meaningful, happy, and productive lives. As Easter Seals’ national director of autism services, Dr. Wright leads autism programs for Easter Seals, one of the nation’s largest providers of services for individuals with autism across the life span. Dr. Wright’s expertise as an educator and board-certified behavior analyst inform her individualized approach to creating effective treatment plans. She knows that early diagnosis and intervention offer the best outcomes but also is a proponent of appropriate treatment for anyone with autism at any age. Everyone has the ability to learn and develop skills. She is a member of the Organization for Autism Research’s scientific council and has served on the executive committee for the Friends of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. Dr. Wright earned her Ph.D. in education from the University of Hawaii in 2006. She also has an M.P.H. from the University of Hawaii and a master’s degree in special education from San Francisco State University.