- Research Associates
- About Us
Erik Carter, Ph.D., is Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. His research and teaching focuses on supporting inclusion and valued roles in school, work, community, and congregational settings for children and youth with disabilities. Carter received the Distinguished Early Career Research Award from the Council of Exceptional Children and the Early Career Award from the American Association for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Before pursuing his doctorate, Dr. Carter was a high school teacher and transition specialist.
Community Conversation Keynote: A Future of Flourishing for Individuals with Disabilities: What We Know Matters Most
Kami L. Gallus, Ph.D., LMFT is an Associate Professor in Human Development and Family Science at Oklahoma State University. Dr. Gallus’ scholarship focuses on enhancing individual functioning, belonging, and relationship outcomes among vulnerable, often marginalized, and traditionally under-served populations, including female trauma survivors, at-risk youth, and individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In contrast to a deficit model, which views vulnerability as a fixed internal trait, Kami’s scholarship conceptualizes vulnerability from a social ecological model, thus resulting from the person-environment fit. Ultimately, her systemic approach to applied research and clinical work focuses not on fixing or curing the individual, but rather on changing the understanding of the individual across contexts to provide supports that enhance the quality of life for all.
Presentation: Engaging Communities to Foster Belonging (with Jennifer Jones, Ph.D.)
Bill Gaventa, M.Div., is a speaker, trainer, and consultant primarily in the arena of faith and disability. He is the founder and Director Emeritus of the Summer Institute of Theology and Disability and the director of the National Collaborative on Faith and Disability. Previously, Gaventa was the Director of Community and Congregational Supports at the Elizabeth M. Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities in New Jersey for 13 years. He is the author of Spirituality and Disability: Recovering Wholeness and was the Editor of the Journal of Religion, Disability and Health.
Karyn Harvey, Ph.D., has worked as a clinician in the field of intellectual disabilities for over 30 years. She is currently a consultant with the developmental disabilities departments of Connecticut and Maryland and is the director of program development and training for the Park Avenue Group practice. Harvey has written two books, Positive Identity Development and Trauma-Informed Behavioral Interventions, and published workbooks about therapeutic interventions for intellectual and developmental disabilities. In 2016, she received the Earl Loschen Award from NAAD for Excellence in Clinical Practice.
Presentation: Identity and Belonging
Jennifer Jones, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Science at Oklahoma State University. All of Dr. Jones’ endeavors are built on the core belief that disability is a natural part of human diversity and everyone benefits from inclusion. Her work in communities and in academia over the past 20 years have focused on improving the quality of life for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Like many, Jennifer’s passion and beliefs are deeply personal as a mother of a son with intellectual disability. Jennifer is grateful for the places of welcome and belonging she and her family have experienced and strives to create environments where people with and without disabilities can flourish together.
Presentation: Engaging Communities to Foster Belonging (with Kami Gallus, Ph.D.)
Katherine McDonald, Ph.D., is a professor and Chair of Public Health in the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics at Syracuse University. Dr. McDonald learned first-hand about belonging when living in intentional community with disability as a member of I'Arche. McDonald uses participatory action research to promote respectful, inclusive research with adults with developmental disabilities, and she works to address disparities in community living, community participation, economic well-being, and healthcare experienced by individuals with disabilities.
Loui Lord Nelson, Ph.D., is an internationally recognized leader in Universal Design for Learning (UDL) implementation. A former special education teacher, she held the first known UDL Coordinator position, completed her UDL post-doctoral fellowship at CAST (the creators of UDL), is a member of the CAST Cadre', and is part of the UDL-Implementation and Research Network (IRN) leadership council. Nelson has worked with educators across the U.S., Canada, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, and her podcast, UDL in 15 minutes, has been listened to in more than 56 countries.
Lynne Tomasa, Ph.D., is an assistant professor with the University of Arizona Department of Family and Community Medicine. She is the former president of the AAIDD Social Work Division and joined the Sonoran Center for Excellence in Disabilities (UCEDD) when it was established in 2006. Tomasa has authored three workbooks facilitating conversations about future planning and community inclusion, and her current areas of interest include family caregiving, social relationships and aging, end of life and future planning.
Presentation: Belonging and Inclusion: Supporting Individuals and Families throughout the Future Planning Process (with Heather Williamson, Ph.D.)
Ann Turnbull, Ph.D., is the Marianna and Ross Beach Distinguished Professor Emerita in Special Education at the University of Kansas. Ann and her husband Rud were selected by the National Historic Preservation Trust on Developmental Disabilities as two of 36 individuals who "changed the course of history for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the 20th Century." Ann is quick to say her "best professor" was her son, Jay (1967-2009), who experienced multiple disabilities and had what she describes as an "enviable life."
Heather Williamson, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor at Northern Arizona University in the Center for Health Equity Research and the Department of Occupational Therapy. She earned her Bachelor of Health Sciences degree in occupational therapy from the University of Florida and her Master of Business and Doctor of Public Health degrees from the University of South Florida. Her research focuses on health equity of adults with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities.
Presentations: Belonging and Inclusion: Supporting Individuals and Families throughout the Future Planning Process (with Lynne Tomasa, Ph.D.)
Micah Fialka-Feldman is a self-advocate, teaching assistant, outreach coordinator, national speaker, and pioneer who fights for disability-pride, justice, and inclusion. Micah’s disability advocacy has a foundation in the creation of the “Beloved Community” and the notion that “A community that excludes even one of its members is not a community at all.” At Syracuse University, Micah co-teaches classes in inclusive education and disability studies and is an outreach coordinator at the Lawrence B. Taishoff Center for Inclusive Higher Education. In 2009, Micah won a landmark federal lawsuit, Fialka-Feldman v. Oakland University Board of Trustees, to live in the dorms at Oakland University. In May of 2014, Micah was appointed by President Obama to the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities for a 3-year term. He is featured in the documentary by Dan Habib, Intelligent Lives.
Presentations: Through the Same Door
Historically, a Chautauqua was an educational gathering held on the prairies of the U.S. heartland during the turn of the century. The annual all-day OSU Chautauqua retains this spirit by gathering researchers, service providers, and policy makers around a series of research presentations centered on a common theme. The ultimate goal of the Chautauqua conference is to foster a translational approach within the study of resilience, such that practical applications for family health and well-being can be developed from basic resilience research.