University of Minnesota
Ms. Hewitt has an extensive background and work history in the field of developmental disabilities and has worked in various positions over the past 23 years including as a residential Program Director and Director of Training. She is currently a Research Associate at the University of Minnesota, Institute on Community Integration where she directs several federal and state research, evaluation and demonstration projects in the area of direct support staff workforce development and community services for people with disabilities. Ms. Hewitt is a national leader in the area of workforce development and community supports to individuals with developmental disabilities.
Current projects include the College of Direct Support a national training curriculum development project that currently offers training to 100,000+ direct support professionals throughout the United States; Mobilizing for Change - an Administration on Developmental Disabilities field initiated project to develop on-line training curriculum for frontline supervisors (College of Frontline Supervision); Removing the Revolving Door: A Research Based Technique to Resolve the Staffing Crisis in Community Supports to People with Disabilities a national project to develop and implement a train the train technical assistance model in five states to teach others how to effectively work with organizations to reduce turnover and vacancy rates of their direct support employees; and, Kansans Mobilizing for Workforce Change a systems change project in the state of Kansas designed to improve retention and recruitment of DSPs in community human service organizations.
Ms. Hewitt has authored and co-authored many curriculum, journal articles and manuscripts. A book she co-authored entitled, Staff Recruitment, Retention and Training, will be published by Brookes publishing in the Fall 2004. She is a managing editor of Frontline Initiative a national newsletter for DSPs; a contributing editor for LINKS a newsletter of ANCOR and guest editor of Mental Retardation a journal of the AAMR. She is currently a Board member for the Arc Hennepin-Carver and Friendship Ventures. She is a founding member and past Co-Chair of the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals and a past Board member of the National AAMR.
Phone: (612) 625-1098
Web site: http://rtc.umn.edu/wddsp
Sheryl A. Larson, Ph.D. is a Research Associate in the Research and Training Center on Community Living/Institute on Community Integration. Ms. Larson earned her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota. She has more than 20 years of experience in services to persons with DD as a residential counselor, behavior analyst, social worker, and program evaluator and has worked for the RTC for the last 17 years. Dr. Larson directs projects involving survey and intervention research, secondary analysis of large data sets and research synthesis on topics such as residential services, personnel issues, disability statistics (including analyses of the Minimum Data Set and the National Health Interview Survey on Disability) and community integration for persons with developmental disabilities. She has co-authored several book chapters, journal articles and technical reports on these topics. Dr. Larson is currently a consulting editor of Mental Retardation, a guest editor for several other professional journals and has participated in NIDRR grant review panels. She has provided extensive technical assistance and leadership on the local governmental level, and has provided information and other technical assistance at the state and national levels as well. She has made numerous presentations on recruitment and retention strategies to audiences around the United States and Canada.
Phone: (612) 624-6024
Web site: http://rtc.umn.edu/wddsp
John is a Project Coordinator at the Institute on Community Integration (ICI) and is intensely involved, as a guardian and advocate, in the life of his sister who has mental retardation. His experience in supporting his sister to move from an institution where she had lived for most of her life to a community supported living program and his efforts to ensure that she receives person-centered supports has given him critical insight into the need for a competent and stable Direct Support Professional (DSP) workforce. He has 35 years of experience working in human services as a social worker, policy/program developer, administrator, educator, human resource development manager, trainer, and organizational change consultant.
Mr. Sauer has been employed at ICI for the past 10 years. He has organized and coordinated a statewide taskforce in Minnesota to address direct support workforce issues. In addition, he has developed and supported a pre-service training program for DSPs in Minnesota's community and technical colleges and helped create a Frontline Supervisor specialization track for this educational program. He has co-developed a national online, competency-based, interactive, multimedia curriculum for direct support professionals and frontline supervisors. Mr. Sauer has authored and co-authored several curricula, articles and book chapters. He is a consultant, speaker, and workshop facilitator on many topics related to workforce development and community supports to people with Developmental Disabilities.
Phone: (612) 626-0535
Web site: http://rtc.umn.edu/wddsp
University of Illinois at Chicago
Dr. Tamar Heller is Professor and Head of the Department of Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago, as well as the Director of IDHD, the University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities for Illinois. She also serves as Director of the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Aging with Development Disabilities at DHD, and the Director of Advanced Training for Disability and Rehabilitation Scholars program. Dr. Heller has authored over 100 publications, including 2 books and 4 edited journal issues, and has presented over 150 papers at conferences on aging and I/DD. She served on the boards of the American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR) and the European Course on Mental Retardation and is past president of AAMR's Gerontology Division.
Phone: (312) 413-1647
Katie Keiling works in the Institute on Disability and Human Development (IDHD) at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The IDHD is the University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities for the State of Illinois and serves as the bridge between academia and the community throughout Illinois. Her various projects focus on employment and systems change. She currently serves as liaison for the Partners for Inclusive Employment (P.I.E.), as well as The Mayor's Taskforce on Employment of People with Disabilities within the Supply Side Workgroup and has been collaborating with various agencies to create the Chicago Provider Leadership Network. After graduated from the University of Chicago in 2001 with honors in Sociology, she served as House Manager for L'Arche Chicago. L'Arche is a community for adults with developmental disabilities where Ms. Keiling gained valuable direct support experience. She is currently pursuing her Masters of Science in Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Ms. Keiling has been influenced by her experience growing up with a younger sister with a developmental disability.
Phone: (312) 996-1002
Mary C. Rizzolo
Mary C. Rizzolo (Mary Kay) is the Associate Director of the Institute on Disability and Human Development (IDHD), the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities for the State of Illinois. Ms. Rizzolo received her BA and MA in psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University, respectively. She is currently completing her doctoral degree in Public Health at the University of Illinois at Chicago where she is researching the determinants of state utilization of nursing homes and state-operated institutions for persons with developmental disabilities.
Ms. Rizzolo has published numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and monographs on financial and programmatic trends in the states and the nation; state commitments for family support, supported living, and supported employment; and assistive technology for persons with cognitive disabilities. Over the past decade Ms. Rizzolo has served as a professional research assistant at The Coleman Institute for Cognitive Disabilities, as a policy analyst for The State of the States in Developmental Disabilities Project, as a research assistant in the Kiley Evaluation Project in Illinois, and as a Mental Retardation Habilitation Coordinator at a large ICF/MR in North Carolina, where she managed a residential unit for individuals with dual diagnosis.
Phone: (312) 413-8833
Tia Nelis is a Self-Advocacy Specialist at Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, Institute on Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois at Chicago. She also is the past chairperson of the national organization Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered. She has founded People First of Illinois and has successfully promoted People First. Ms. Nelis has served as president of People First of Illinois and Naperville. And has been honored with the Burton Blatt Award by the Illinois Tash, and the Elizabeth Boggs award from AAMR. Ms. Nelis has drawn on experiences relating to her own disability in promoting and demonstrating the benefits of empowerment for people with disabilities. She has wide experience in conducting training and advocating for progressive polices with legislators and public officials.
Human Services Research Institute
Marianne Taylor is a Senior Project Director with the Human Services Research Institute of Cambridge, MA. At HSRI, Ms Taylor has directed and worked in projects in the areas of workforce development, education and training, family support, quality enhancement, community inclusion of older people with disabilities, and the evaluation of supported living programs and other Medicaid waiver services.
Ms. Taylor facilitated major collaborations at the national and state level to develop tools and strategies to enhance the skills and knowledge of the human service workforce including the Community Support Skill Standards Project, funded by the U.S. Department of Education; and the Building an Integrated Workforce Development System Project funded by the National Skill Standards Board.
Ms. Taylor is directing projects in several states and is currently the technical leader for the development and evaluation of a professional skills certificate for direct support as part of the Ohio PATHS Project. This project was honored with the national 2004 Moving Mountains award for distinguished contributions in the area of direct support workforce development.
Ms. Taylor is the author of several publications and is a former national Co-Chair of the National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals, an advocacy group for frontline human service workers. She is a founding Board Member of the Massachusetts Families Organizing for Change, an advocacy and educational network of families who have children with disabilities. She serves on the editorial board of Frontline Initiative, a national newsletter for direct support professionals.
Illinois Council on Developmental Disabilities