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About Us

Our Team

IEC is led by a passionate team of healthcare and IDD experts who know how to drive change. IEC includes self-advocates, family caregivers/partners, researchers, healthcare and disability leaders, policy makers, payers, and philanthropic partners.

IEC Staff

Our staff includes healthcare leaders with uncommon expertise in healthcare innovation, deep understanding of how large health systems work, the standing to influence decisionmakers, and a commitment born of personal experience of IDD.

Headshot of Mai Pham. Mai wears a blue shirt and white sweater.

Hoangmai (Mai) H. Pham

President and CEO

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Headshot of Mai Pham. Mai wears a blue shirt and white sweater.

Hoangmai (Mai) H. Pham

President and CEO

Mai Pham, MD MPH, (she/her) is President and CEO of IEC. Mai co-founded the organization in 2020 with the goal of advancing equitable healthcare outcomes for people with IDD.

Mai is a nationally-recognized healthcare policy leader who was Vice President, Provider Alignment Solutions at Anthem, Inc., where she was responsible for value-based care initiatives. She previously served as Chief Innovation Officer at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, where she was a founding official and the architect of Medicare’s foundational programs on accountable care organizations and primary care. Mai has published extensively in medical literature on healthcare payment policy and its intersection with health disparities, care coordination, quality performance, provider behavior, and market trends. She serves as a Director on Boards of Atlantic Health Systems and the Coalition to Transform Advanced Care, and the Board of Advisors for StationMD. She also serves on the faculty at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

Mai holds an AB from Harvard University, an MD from Temple University, and an MPH from Johns Hopkins University, where she was also a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar. She is mother to two beautiful young adults, one of whom is autistic.

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May-Lynn Andresen

Director of Community Partnerships

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Headshot of May-Lynn Andresen. May-Lynn wears a black shirt and a pink blazer.

May-Lynn Andresen

Director of Community Partnerships

May-Lynn Andresen, DNP, RN, (she/her) serves as IEC’s Director of Community Partnerships, where she works to develop, strengthen, and maintain the relationships among IEC’s diverse group of stakeholders.

May-Lynn is a doctorally-prepared nurse with extensive experience, and she is passionate about person and care team activation and engagement through partnership-based leadership and human-centered design. She is the co-founder and former director of The Fay J. Lindner Center for Autism and Development Disabilities, a comprehensive transdisciplinary program providing diagnostics, treatment, school consultation, social skills training, and clinical research. She is also the co-founder and former director of the Westbrook Preparatory School, a school designed to prevent out-of-state placements and to help students with ASD/DD being educated out of state reintegrate into their communities. May-Lynn is a community council member of the PCORI-funded Autistic Adults and Other Stakeholders Engage Together (AASET) project and remains an active professional advisory board member of the Asperger High Functioning Autism Association.

May-Lynn earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) with a minor in Integrative Health and Healing at the University of Minnesota, where she also earned a Certificate in Healthcare Design and Innovation. She holds a BSN from Syracuse University. She is a graduate of New York State’s Partners in Policymaking program, whose aim is to promote self-determination and community integration.

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Lauren Erickson

Director of Policy and Programs

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Headshot of Lauren Erickson. Lauren wears a blue shirt and black sweater.

Lauren Erickson

Director of Policy and Programs

Lauren Erickson (she/her) serves as the Director of Policy and Programs at IEC, where she oversees the development and implementation of programs and policies that support IEC’s organizational goals and mission.

Lauren brings more than 12 years of industry experience in the healthcare field, most recently at Berkeley Research Group where she advised clients on healthcare mergers and acquisitions. She also worked at Anthem, Inc., where she developed and implemented a partnership strategy to support independent physicians in providing high-value care. Lauren also led the implementation of the Quality Payment Program at the CMS Innovation Center, based on the most significant legislative changes to Medicare physician payment policy in more than 30 years. She previously worked for Senator Tom Harkin in the United States Senate and for the Iowa Department of Human Services, Division of Mental Health and Disability Services.

Lauren received her MPH from the University of Iowa and her BA from the University of Northern Iowa. She has the lived experience of supporting a sibling with IDD.

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Anna Christ

Director of Development

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Headshot of Anna Christ. Anna wears a plaid shirt and a black blazer.

Anna Christ

Director of Development

Anna Christ (she/her) is the Director of Development at IEC, where she develops and implements the organization’s fundraising strategies and initiatives.

A life-long advocate for social and economic justice, Anna’s 20-year career has included fundraising, consulting, social welfare policy research and analysis, state-level advocacy, community building, and program management within national and local advocacy and direct-service organizations. Prior to joining IEC, Anna served as the Director of Corporate & Foundation Relations at So Others Might Eat (SOME), where she led a team raising more than $2 million annually from foundations, corporations, and individuals in support of capital projects and programming. Anna has also provided fundraising consulting support, strategies, and content creation for nonprofit organizations in the Mid-Atlantic area, where she has created donor stewardship plans, annual fund development plans, grant proposals, and strategies to deepen board engagement in fundraising.

Anna holds an MSW from Washington University in St. Louis and a BS from Presbyterian College in South Carolina. She also earned a graduate certificate in organization development from the NTL Institute in which she expanded her skills in organization design, strategic goals, and facilitation.

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John Stowe

Chief Operating Officer

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Headshot of John Stowe. John wears a blue sweater and a bow tie.

John Stowe

Chief Operating Officer

John Stowe (he/him) is the Chief Operating Officer at IEC, where he oversees operations, finances, and IT.

John has a background in neurolinguistics research alongside experience in IT and operations and previously served as webmaster and IT consultant at St. Paul’s Parish, K Street. He also served as a Lab Manager and IT Manager in the Neuroscience Department at Georgetown University, focusing on language acquisition and memory in second language learners and neuro-atypical populations. John is also an advocate for bicycle and pedestrian safety in the Washington, DC, area. He has completed graduate coursework in urban planning, focusing on land use and non-motorized transportation, at Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs, where he co-authored a book chapter on bicycling in the Washington, DC, area. He has volunteered with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and advised in the planning and launch of Vélocity Bicycle Cooperative in Alexandria, VA.

John holds a BS in cognitive science from Johns Hopkins University.

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Madelyn Bahr

Senior Program Specialist

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Headshot of Madelyn Bahr. Madelyn wears a tan dress.

Madelyn Bahr

Senior Program Specialist

Madelyn Bahr (she/her) is a Senior Program Specialist at IEC. She uses her experience and academic training to include the perspectives of people living with IDD to all aspects of her work to broaden IEC’s impact.

Madelyn is a macro social worker with background experience in research, evaluation, data analysis, program development, direct services, and grant support. She advocates for healthcare equity using a social work lens to address and tackle policies or programs impacting marginalized groups and service delivery. Prior to IEC, Madelyn worked and collaborated with Southeastern Michigan Health Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Guidance Center (The Center for Excellence), Community Technical Assistance Collaborative, Ann Arbor Center for Independent Living, The Prison Creative Arts Project, and Tuscaloosa County District Attorney Office.

Madelyn received her MSW with a concentration in social policy & program evaluation from the University of Michigan.

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Ray Fifer

Program and Development Specialist

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Headshot of Ray Fifer. Ray wears a green shirt and a blue blazer.

Ray Fifer

Program and Development Specialist

Ray Fifer (she/her) is a Program Specialist at IEC, where she supports advocates with disabilities’ authentic engagement in project work, manages projects in IEC’s programmatic portfolio, and contributes to IEC’s development work.

Ray is an equity-forward, sustainability-focused, and advocacy-driven team-player who has spent her career building systems that promote equity and power redistribution. Previously, Ray worked with The Food Trust and MANNA Food Bank where she addressed food deserts and collaborated on city-wide nutrition policy, and with Tufas Boulder Lounge where she created partnerships and innovative payment policies to redistribute resources and decision-making power to marginalized communities. She also worked with Girls Rock Philly, supporting grassroots programming focused on empowering girls, women, and trans and gender-expansive people.

Ray earned a dual BA in Latin American Studies & Environmental Studies from Wesleyan University.

Board of Directors

Our Board contributes diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and expertise to help guide and strengthen our mission and work.

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Rick Gilfillan

IEC Board Chair, Independent Consultant

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Headshot of Rick Gilfillan. Rick wears a suit and red tie.

Rick Gilfillan

IEC Board Chair, Independent Consultant

Richard (Rick) Gilfillan, MD, MBA, (he/him) is the Board Chair of IEC. For more than 30 years, Rick has developed and worked with teams in for-profit and not-for-profit sectors to build successful and high-quality care delivery systems.  

Rick was the founding director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) within the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), where he worked quickly with payers and providers to develop innovative models for improving patient care and reducing costs. Prior to his appointment at CMMI, Rick was president and CEO of Geisinger Health Plan and executive vice president of Insurance Operations for Geisinger Health System. He also founded the Health Care Transformation Task Force. In June 2019, he stepped down as president and CEO of Trinity Health, a $19 billion Catholic integrated health system that serves communities in 22 states. The system includes 93 hospitals, 7,500 employed clinicians, hundreds of outpatient care sites, 120 continuing care locations and provides more than 2.5 million home health and hospice visits annually. 

Rick began his career as a board-certified family medicine physician. He earned his undergraduate and medical degrees from Georgetown University and holds an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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Robert Galvin

IEC Board Vice Chair, Chief Medical Officer and Operating Partner, Blackstone

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Headshot of Robert Galvin. Robert wears a blue suit with a white shirt.

Robert Galvin

IEC Board Vice Chair, Chief Medical Officer and Operating Partner, Blackstone

Robert S. Galvin, MD, (he/him) is the Chief Executive Officer of Equity Healthcare (EH), a healthcare management company serving firms owned by private equity. He is a nationally recognized leader in the areas of employer-sponsored insurance, quality measurement and payment reform. He was one of the founders of the value-based purchasing movement and has started three non-profits in this space, the Leapfrog Group, Bridges to Excellence, and CPR.

Robert began his career as a general internist in the Boston area. He was also a senior executive and chief medical officer at GE, where he was responsible for health costs, policy, and global medical issues. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and professor adjunct of Medicine and Health Policy at Yale. He is chairman of the Board of CPR and is also on the boards of the Special Olympics of Connecticut and the New York-based United Hospital Fund, which focuses on the needs of underserved New Yorkers. 

Robert was a recipient of the John D. Thompson Award from the Yale School of Public Health and has received recognition for his work from the National Business Group on Health, Healthcare Financial Management Association, and National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship.

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Staci Alexander

Vice President, Thought Leadership, AARP

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Headshot of Staci Alexander. Staci wears a pink shirt and a plaid blazer.

Staci Alexander

Vice President, Thought Leadership, AARP

Staci Alexander (she/her) is the vice president of AARP’s Thought Leadership division, where she leads a dynamic team of issue experts in working across sectors to cultivate and elevate new ideas, solutions, and relationships, with the goal of making health longevity accessible to all.

Staci has a rich history of cultivating partnerships and alliances in support of mission-driven goals across the fields of policy development, philanthropy and communication. Prior to joining AARP, she worked in public media as an assistant director with MacNeil/Lehrer Productions and senior associate of the Community Strategies Group for the Aspen Institute. Staci also has worked as a staffer in the United States Senate, a lobbyist for urban and rural affordable housing development, and as a grantmaker. She serves as a volunteer commissioner for the Fairfax County Redevelopment and Housing Authority in Fairfax County, Virginia.

Staci has an MPA from City University of New York, Baruch School of Public Affairs, and a BA in political science from Vassar College. Staci is also a graduate of the Leadership Fairfax (Virginia) Class of 2020.

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Julia Bascom

Former Executive Director, Autistic Self Advocacy Network

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Headshot of Julia Bascom. Julia wears a black and white shirt with a black blazer.

Julia Bascom

Former Executive Director, Autistic Self Advocacy Network

Julia Bascom (she/her) is the former executive director at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, where she was a leading voice on disability rights. 

Previously, Julia did state-level work in her home state of New Hampshire, where she served on the Developmental Disability Council and co-led an inter-agency team to revitalize self-advocacy within the state. Julia edited Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking, an anthology of writings by autistic people, and currently serves on the advisory board of Felicity House, the board of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, and the board of Allies For Independence. 



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Donald M. Berwick

IEC Founding Board Member Emeritus Founder, Institute for Healthcare Improvement; Former Administrator of Medicare & Medicaid

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Headshot of Donald Berwick. Donald wears a suit and tie.

Donald M. Berwick

IEC Founding Board Member Emeritus Founder, Institute for Healthcare Improvement; Former Administrator of Medicare & Medicaid

Donald M. Berwick, MD, MPP, FRCP, KBE, (he/him) is president emeritus and a senior fellow at the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), an organization he co-founded and led as president and CEO for 18 years. Donald is an internationally recognized thought leader in health policy and is one of the nation’s leading authorities on healthcare quality and improvement. In 2010, President Obama appointed Donald as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). 

A pediatrician by background, Donald has served as clinical professor of pediatrics and healthcare policy at the Harvard Medical School, professor of health policy and management at the Harvard School of Public Health, and as a member of the staff of Boston’s Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He is an elected member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the National Academy of Medicine. Donald also served on President Clinton’s Advisory Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Healthcare Industry. 

Donald is a recipient of numerous awards, and author or co-author of over 160 scientific articles, six books, and numerous commentaries. He now serves as lecturer in the department of healthcare policy at Harvard Medical School.

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Rima Cohen

Founder and Principal, Rima Cohen Strategies, LLC

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Headshot of Rima Cohen. Rima wears a black shirt.

Rima Cohen

Founder and Principal, Rima Cohen Strategies, LLC

Rima Cohen (she/her) is the founder and principal of Rima Cohen Strategies LLC, where she helps a wide range of organizations—from venture capital firms to the federal government and international nonprofit organizations—address complex healthcare problems. Rima is currently a special advisor to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), where she supports CMS leaders in developing and advancing the administration’s Medicare priorities in areas such as health equity and value-based care. 

Rima was previously the founding executive director of the Aspen Institute’s Health Innovators Fellowship, and she also served in the Obama Administration as counselor for health policy to the HHS Secretary. Prior to that, Rima was the director of health for New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, where she oversaw the city’s healthcare programs and agencies, including Medicaid, the City’s public hospital and healthcare system, and the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene. Rima also spent a decade as former Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle’s senior health policy advisor, and she founded and directed Insurance Options for the Uninsured (IOU), a Greater New York Hospital Foundation initiative that developed and implemented strategies for expanding health insurance coverage in New York. 

Rima has an MA in public affairs, with a concentration in economics, from Princeton University and a BA in economics from the University of Michigan, where she was a student in the honors college. After graduate school, Rima was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to study program evaluation methods employed by US NGOs operating in Indonesia.

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Cuong Do

President and CEO, BioVie, Inc

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Headshot of Cuong Do. Cuong wears a black suit and tie.

Cuong Do

President and CEO, BioVie, Inc

Cuong Do (he/him) is president & CEO of BioVie, where he leads the integration of the recently acquired neurology assets and the newly combined portfolio.

Previously, Cuong was president of the Samsung Global Strategy Group, where he helped set the strategic direction of Samsung Group’s diverse business portfolio. He was also a senior partner at McKinsey & Company, where he spent 17 years and helped build the healthcare, high-tech, and corporate finance practices. Cuong is an active entrepreneur and has founded several healthcare companies, including CareVisor, Callidus Biopharma, Lysodel Therapeutics, and M6P Therapeutics. He also founded Identifor, Inc. and Identifor Foundation to help autistic teenagers identify abilities and strengths to make the transition to adulthood, and Profectum Foundation to help train clinicians and parents on how to work with autistic children. He helped build Celebrate the Children, a school for children with special needs in New Jersey. 

Cuong holds a BA from Dartmouth College and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.

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Cathy Farmer

Co-Founder, Autism Angels Group

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Headshot of Cathy Farmer. Cathy wears black glasses and a navy blue shirt.

Cathy Farmer

Co-Founder, Autism Angels Group

Cathy Schwallie Farmer (she/her) is the co-founder of the Autism Angels Group, an investment group focusing on neurodiverse solutions and founders. She has been an angel investor for over 12 years, focusing on systems that will help people and the environment.

Cathy has worked in healthcare and science technology for over 30 years. She is an active venture advisor at University of California, Berkeley: SkyDeck, and is an ongoing mentor at the National Science Foundation’s Innovation Corps. She is an advisory board member of several organizations, including the Autism Center of Northern California. Cathy also serves as a judge for the UCSF Digital Health Awards, Cal’s BIG IDEAS, SkyDeck’s Bio-Selection Committee, and the HIMSS Northern California Innovation Awards.

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Chester Finn

Individual and Family Advocate, New York State Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD)

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Headshot of Chester Finn. Chester wears glasses and a brown suit.

Chester Finn

Individual and Family Advocate, New York State Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD)

Chester Finn (he/him) is an individual and family advocate at the New York State Office for Persons with Developmental Disabilities, where he has advocated for people with developmental disabilities for more than 20 years. Chester also serves on numerous state and national boards, advising on disability policy.

Chester is the co-founder of the Community Empowerment Programs Inc., which provides community service and educational programming for people with disabilities. He served three terms as president of the National Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) and is former president and current advisor to the Self Advocacy Association of New York State (SANYS). He was appointed by President Obama to serve on the board of the National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent federal agency that advises the president, Congress, and other federal agencies regarding disability policy. 

Chester was recently named to the Commission on Quality and Leadership (CQL) Board of Directors, a national leader in working with human service organizations and systems to continuously define, measure, and improve quality of life and services for persons with IDD and psychiatric disorders. 



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Dena Gassner

Adjunct Professor, Towson University

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Headshot of Dena Gassner. Dena wears glasses and a black shirt.

Dena Gassner

Adjunct Professor, Towson University

Dena Gassner, MSW, (she/her) is a Ph.D. candidate in Social Work at Adelphi and is in her 6th year as an adjunct at Towson University in Health Sciences. She is an appointed member of the Review Board for the Autism Intervention Research Network in Physical Health (AIR-P) and is a member of the AIR-P Gender, Sexuality, and Healthcare Node with UCLA. Her GS&H team is presenting at the May INSAR international conference in Stockholm, addressing maternity and autism. She is completing her second year as an appointed member of the federal Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC) advising the White House on autism funding priorities for research. With AASET, she has published three PCORI publications. She will return to this work with UNC as the Study Staff Training Coordinator and as the Implementation Outcome Assessor examining cognitive behavioral therapy versus mindfulness to address autistic suicide.

Dena has published multiple book chapters and journal articles, and her presentations include NYU London, The United Nations (Geneva and US), Cambridge, University of Birmingham, Russia, Fonden Samrådet-Denmark, and Scotland, among other places. In 1999, she was awarded the Cathy Pratt Professional of the Year Award from the Autism Society of America.



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Matthew Holder

CEO, Kramer Davis Health

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Headshot of Matthew Holder. Matthew wears a brown suit and yellow tie.

Matthew Holder

CEO, Kramer Davis Health

Matthew Holder, MD, MBA, (he/him) is recognized as an international leader in the emerging field of developmental medicine and advocates on behalf of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for better-quality health services.  

Matthew serves as the global medical advisor and chair of the Medical Advisory Committee for Special Olympics International and has created multi-disciplinary health programs serving over five million athletes with IDD worldwide. He is also CEO of Chyron, LLC and Advantage Medical Corp., where he co-designed and now operates Kentucky’s first and largest interdisciplinary clinic focused exclusively on the care of adults with IDD.  Matthew was also co-founder, executive director, and later, president emeritus of the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry.

As a physician, educator, and healthcare advocate, Matthew has worked to impact the state of healthcare policy, research, and medical education around the world. 



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Margaret Nygren

Executive Director & CEO, American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD)

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Headshot of Margaret Nygren. Margaret wears glasses and a black shirt.

Margaret Nygren

Executive Director & CEO, American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD)

Margaret A. Nygren, EdD, FAAIDD, (she/her) has been the executive director & CEO of AAIDD since 2010. Margaret also serves on a number of federal and national advisory and scientific committees that address research, policies, and supports concerning people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Prior to her work at AAIDD, Margaret worked at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) as the associate executive director for program development. She also held a fellowship in the Disabled and Elderly Health Programs group at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in Baltimore and was the director of the Center on Aging and Disabilities at the Lieutenant Joseph P. Kennedy Institute in Washington, DC. Margaret has led nine international delegations to facilitate information exchange among researchers, clinicians, providers, and policymakers in the field.

Margaret holds an EdD from Nova Southeastern University, an MA in clinical psychology from West Virginia University, and a BA in Psychology from Beloit College. In 2021, she completed a certificate program in diversity and inclusion at Cornell University.



Morénike Giwa Onaiwu

Educator, Autism & HIV advocate

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Morénike Giwa Onaiwu

Educator, Autism & HIV advocate

Morénike Giwa Onaiwu, PhD (she/they) is an educator, writer, public speaker, parent, and global disability justice advocate.

Morénike is involved in various social justice activism endeavors and is a contributing author and editor of several publications, abstracts, and books focusing on participatory research, meaningful community involvement, intersectionality, and accessibility. She serves as founder and principal operator of Advocacy Without Borders, a nonprofit initiative
offering lectures, advocacy, and research, as well as diversity, equity,
and inclusion training. Morénike is also a Research Fellow within the Life Course
Outcomes division at the AJ Drexel Autism Institute, the first public health-focused
autism research center in the United States, at Drexel University.

Morénike maintains membership within several global and national executive boards and is a consultant, keynote lecturer, and public speaker who has presented at the White House, the United Nations, and numerous peer-reviewed international conferences. Morénike also serves as a Public Member of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, the Federal advisory committee that advises the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services on issues related to autism and coordinates all federal autism efforts in the US. Notable
publications include over a dozen monograph chapter contributions, digital scholarship, peer-reviewed articles and editorial work. Morénike draws from personal background as a person of color in a neurodiverse and serodifferent family and an adult on the autism spectrum as well as extensive educational and professional experience.

Headshot of Bernard Rosof. Bernard wears glasses and a blue suit and tie.

Bernard M. Rosof

Emeritus Chair, Professor of Medicine, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell; Board of Directors, Huntington Hospital, Northwell Health System

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Headshot of Bernard Rosof. Bernard wears glasses and a blue suit and tie.

Bernard M. Rosof

Emeritus Chair, Professor of Medicine, Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell; Board of Directors, Huntington Hospital, Northwell Health System

Bernard M. Rosof, MD MACP, (he/him) is professor of medicine at the Zucker School of Medicine at  Hofstra/Northwell and has been at the forefront of national initiatives in the areas of quality and performance improvement for decades.  

Bernard completed a gastroenterology fellowship at Yale University School of Medicine, and he practiced internal medicine and gastroenterology in Huntington, New York, for 29 years. He has served as chairman of medicine at Huntington Hospital, is past chair of the Board of Directors of Huntington Hospital (Northwell Health), and is a current member of the Board of Overseers of the Northwell Health System. Bernard was a co-founder of the Faye J. Lindner Center for Autism and Related Developmental Disorders and remains on the Board of several Philanthropic organizations, including Project Sunshine and Partners Health Plan, the only health plan in New York solely focused on people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Bernard currently serves as CEO of Quality in Healthcare Advisory Group. He is a master of the American College of Physicians and chair emeritus of the Board of Regents of the American College of Physicians. He received the 2011 Founders Award presented by the American College of Medical Quality in recognition of his long-standing national leadership and exceptional ability to foster and support healthcare quality improvement.  Bernard is also the recipient of the 2012 Stengel Award from the ACP for outstanding service and for his influence in maintaining and advancing the best standards of medical education, medical practice, and clinical research. 



Board of Advisors

Our Board contributes diverse perspectives, backgrounds, and expertise to help guide and strengthen our mission and work.

Headshot of Howard Gold. Howard wears a suit and a yellow tie.

Howard Gold

Executive Vice President, Chief Managed Care and Business Development Officer

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Headshot of Howard Gold. Howard wears a suit and a yellow tie.

Howard Gold

Executive Vice President, Chief Managed Care and Business Development Officer

Howard Gold (he/him) is President and Principal of Gold Strategic Advisors. He was previously the Executive Vice President, Chief Managed Care and Business Development Officer at Northwell Health, where he oversaw all business matters related to managed care and business development, including contractual relationships with third-party payers.

Before joining the health system in 1995, Howard was Vice President-Vice Provost for Strategic Planning at The New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center. He was also Executive Director of Governor Cuomo’s Health Care Advisory Board, and he held several positions with the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, culminating in his serving as Deputy Commissioner, Office of Policy and Planning.

Howard received his BA from the State University of New York at Buffalo and his master’s degree from the New School for Social Research.

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Merrill Friedman

RVP, Inclusive Policy & Advocacy

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Headshot of Merrill Friedman. Merrill wears glasses and a black shirt.

Merrill Friedman

RVP, Inclusive Policy & Advocacy

Merrill Friedman (she/her) is the RVP of Inclusive Policy & Advocacy for Elevance Health. She works collaboratively with advocates, community leaders, and stakeholders to ensure the interests and preferences of diverse communities inform Elevance Health’s health benefits approaches and healthcare programs. Merrill also leads strategic partnerships with national and local organizations to advance access, health equity, and inclusive public policy.

Previously, Merrill was Interim Director at a nonprofit foster care agency serving children and adolescents who experienced severe neglect and abuse. She also served as President and Chief Executive Officer of a private organization that owned and operated residential treatment facilities, group homes, and home and community-based services in several states for adolescents with mental health conditions, substance use disorders, and intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Merrill was appointed by President Barack Obama to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, and by Governor Jennifer Granholm to the MI Statewide Independent Living Council, where she served as Board Chair. Currently, Merrill serves on the board of directors for the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI), Mental Health America, EveryLife Foundation, and is an Advisory Board member for IEC, Uplift and Advancing States’ MLTSS Institute.

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Cheryl Powell

Vice President, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Business Unit

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Headshot of Cheryl Powell. Cheryl wears glasses and a black shirt.

Cheryl Powell

Vice President, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Business Unit

Cheryl Powell (she/her) is an executive healthcare leader with over two decades of experience in creating actionable solutions in Medicaid, Medicare, and private insurance innovation, financing, IT solutions, and value-based care. She is currently the Vice President of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Business Unit at Ad Hoc.

Previously, Cheryl served in a variety of leadership positions at CMS throughout her 16-year tenure. She led the CMS IT budget and investment portfolio, ensuring that the Agency’s IT solutions optimally supported the Agency’s mission and priorities; served as the Deputy Director of the Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office (Duals Office), leading national person-centered care and integration of social services for the 12 million individuals dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid; and provided senior national leadership and expertise in Medicaid financial management and Medicaid waivers, eligibility, coverage, and managed care.

Cheryl earned a Master of Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She also graduated as an Echols Scholar and summa cum laude with a BA in psychology from the University of Virginia.

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Joel Perlman

Independent Consultant

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Headshot of Joel Perlman. Joel wears a suit and a purple tie.

Joel Perlman

Independent Consultant

Joel Perlman, CPA, (he/him) served as the EVP-CFO of Montefiore Health System for 28 years until his retirement in 2016. During his time there, Joel participated in planning and leading the growth of the Montefiore Health System, including its emergence as the largest regional integrated delivery system with hospitals and hundreds of ambulatory care locations across the Bronx and Lower Hudson Valley, NY.

Prior to joining Montefiore, Joel served as CFO of St. Francis Medical Center, CFO of Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center in New Jersey, and as an auditor with Ernst & Young. Joel is currently serving as a Board member or Advisor to a number of healthcare organizations, including Concord Health Partners, COPE Health Solutions, and the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare.

Joel received his undergraduate degree from Pace University and his Master’s degree from Columbia University.

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James Perrin

Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

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Headshot of James Perrin. James wears a suit and tie.

James Perrin

Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

James M. Perrin, MD, (he/him) is Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and Associate Chair of Pediatrics at the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children.  He holds the John C. Robinson Distinguished Chair in Pediatrics at the MGH.

James is the former director of the MGH Division of General Pediatrics, and he also founded the Center for Child and Adolescent Health Policy. He is a former president of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), former chair of its Committee on Children with Disabilities, and past president of the Ambulatory (Academic) Pediatric Association. For 10 years, he headed the Clinical Coordinating Center for the National Autism Treatment Network and directed the federally-funded Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health, a multisite collaborative aiming to improve evidence-based health care for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders.

James is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, a member of the Board on Children, Youth, and Families, and has served on many Institute of Medicine committees on maternal and child health, health care reform, health care quality, long-term care, disability, and children’s mental health. A graduate of Harvard College and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, James had his residency and fellowship training at the University of Rochester. After his fellowship at the University of Rochester, he developed and ran a rural community health center in farming communities between Rochester and Buffalo.

Unity Council

Our Unity Council includes individuals who advise and guide our work. This members ensure our work is inclusive, centers the perspectives of people with IDD, and builds trusted connections among the healthcare and disability communities.

Teal Benevides

Associate Professor

Department of Community and Behavioral Health Sciences and Institute of Public and Preventive Health, Augusta University

Val Bradley

President Emerita

Human Services Research Institute

Geri Dawson

William Cleland Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Professor of Pediatrics, Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience, and Founding Director

Duke University and Duke Center for Autism and Brain Development

David Fray

President

The Academy of Dentistry for Persons with Disabilities

Arethusa Kirk

Vice President, Population Health & Clinical Strategy

UnitedHealthcare Community & State

Joseph Macbeth

Chief Executive Officer and President

The National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals

Margaret McManus

President

The National Alliance to Advance Adolescent Health

Kayla Rodriguez

Executive Advisory Committee Co-Chair and Social Media Coordinator

Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network and Foundation for Divergent Minds

Stephen Shore

Professor

Adelphi University

Brian Skotko

Campbell Endowed Chair on Down Syndrome

Massachusetts General Hospital

Ivanova Smith

Faculty

LEND at University of Washington

BJ Stasio

Self-Advocacy Coordinator

New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities

Maura Sullivan

Deputy Executive Director

The Arc of Massachusetts

Yolanda Vargas

Council Chair

Self-Advocates’ Advisory Council, the Working for Inclusive, Transformative Healthcare (WITH) Foundation and Event Coordinator and Student Assistant Liaison, Disability Cultural Center, California State University, Sacramento

Barbie Vartanian

Director

Oral Health Advocacy & Policy Initiatives, NYU College of Dentistry

IEC Volunteers

We are grateful to several dedicated volunteers who offer their time and talents to support our mission and work.

Heather Forbes

M.Ed, Medical Student

Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

Heather Gomez-Bendaña

MPH, Assistant Policy Researcher and Doctoral candidate

Pardee RAND Graduate School

Elyse Pegler

MPH

CVS/Aetna

Venus Wong

PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Clinical Excellence Research Center at Stanford University

Monica Kowalczyk

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