The IEC logo with white text

Our Story

Better, Safer Healthcare

IEC (Institute for Exceptional Care) is a national nonprofit working to make healthcare better and safer for people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD). IEC partners with people with lived experience of IDD and healthcare leaders to change the way care is taught, delivered, and paid for by creating new programs that center patients.

The Challenge

Our healthcare system does some things really well, but it can also be complicated and frustrating. For 16 million people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), it can be ineffective and even unsafe. By tapping the power of innovation, we can transform our system.

Our Solution

We work together with the healthcare and IDD communities to strengthen how healthcare is taught, delivered, and paid for, driving sustainable change so that:

All clinicians feel confident and prepared to provide high-quality care and support for people with IDD;

The health priorities and needs of people with IDD are properly addressed; and

Insurance coverage supports whole-person, coordinated care and services that meet the needs of the IDD population.

By tackling these challenges, we are building an inclusive, accountable healthcare system that empowers people with IDD to thrive and reach their full potential.

Our Team

Meet the team behind our work.


IEC brings together healthcare insider knowledge with lived experience of intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD) to make healthcare better and safer for people with IDD.


A world where people with disabilities enjoy the best possible health so they can live life to the fullest.


We believe healthcare works best when it…

leading healthcare

Founding Story

A photo of two people beside each other and looking at the camera. On the left is a seated woman in a white sweater, and on the right is a young man in a striped shirt. IEC was born out of the frustrations and anxieties that too many families face in getting proper medical care for their loved ones with IDD. Founded by Dr. Mai Pham and other healthcare professionals, IEC was created to drive sustainable change after their own difficult experiences navigating the healthcare system.

As a physician herself, Mai witnessed firsthand the lack of education, poor care coordination, and haphazard treatment her own child received growing up autistic. Mathematically gifted, kind, and highly observant, her child faced increasing struggles over time due to unreliable school and clinical support. Mai relates, “We encountered a lot of problems coordinating services…no one told us what to expect at different stages of development, and we had clinicians who gave him the right drug for the wrong reasons at the wrong dose just because they weren’t educated enough.”

IEC’s founders have led national healthcare transformation efforts in both public and private sectors. They understand the lack of clinical education, fragmented coordination among services, and dismissive attitudes that families often endure. They witnessed the daily barriers caused by a system ill-equipped to care for the complex needs of those with IDD. But based on their industry experience, they also saw the promise and potential when empathetic clinicians, robust training programs, advocates, and inclusive policies all work together seamlessly.


IEC has gained rapid influence for a young organization. Our projects have engaged dozens of self-advocates and family caregivers/partners, disability experts, major academic health centers, national and regional health insurance companies, community clinics, state Medicaid and developmental disabilities agencies, federal Health and Human Services agencies, healthcare and disability entrepreneurs, clinical societies, clinical educational associations, and groups that accredit healthcare providers.

We are proud to have partnered with key thought leaders in producing important research, including Epic, the country’s largest electronic health record company, Augusta University, Brandeis University, and Milliman, a leading healthcare analytics firm.

Every day, IEC is delivering on its mission of building a movement that gives people with IDD the safe, informed, and high-quality care they deserve across every service and setting and centering their perspectives in the co-creation of solutions.

Our History






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