Kara Ayers, PhD

Kara Ayers, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Cincinnati. As the Associate Director of the University of Cincinnati Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Ayers applies her professional knowledge, research experience, and personal perspective to make systemic changes to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Her areas of interest and research include disability policy, parenting with a disability, self-advocacy, psychosocial development with a disability, and disability in the media. Her dissertation focused on the psychosocial development of children and adolescents with osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as brittle bone disease. Ayers is the co-founder of the Disabled Parenting Project, a peer-to-peer support network for parents with disabilities. She has served for the past five years on the boards of the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation and The Association for Successful Parenting. Ayers received her PhD in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University.

Charita Buchanan

Charita is an educator for Cleveland Metropolitan School District. She is a National Math and Science Institute trained transformational teacher who sets high standards, removes barriers and ensures all students have access to resources and supports to excel in rigorous English education.

As a practitioner, advocate of urban education and exceptional needs advocate she uses her voice as an educator and executive board member of the Black Child Development to: create awareness of gender inequities, health disparities and the vital impact parent and community engagement can have on education and the family. She is motivated each day to make progress in improving the lives of black and brown children.

Charita has a Masters of Educational Leadership Degree from Cleveland State University and a Bachelors of Science in Elementary Education from the University of Akron. Her passion for urban education representation and leadership has allowed her to support and impact policy and programming as a trainer for school readiness, literacy, and the impact of data on instruction. She was the first minority and urban representative on the board of The Ohio Association for Elementary School Principals. She is currently a trustee of Early Childhood Options of Cleveland, Ohio. Charita serves as the Secretary and Membership Chairman for BCDI Ohio. She is a trained Family Support Advocate for the Ohio Parent 2 Parent Statewide support system for families with children with exceptional needs.

Alex Corwin

Alex Corwin, M.A., is the Program Director at OCALI's Lifespan Transitions Center. Alex has been a professional in the developmental disability field as a job coach, adult day services manager, service and support administrator (SSA), SSA supervisor, and previously oversaw the Ohio Transition Support Partnership for Ohio's Department of Education and Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, which promotes competitive, integrated employment outcomes for students with disabilities and supports transition planning for students as early as 14 years old. He continues to promote multi-agency planning to help youth with disabilities fulfill their potential and reach their adult life goals.

Dr. Allison Cowan, MD, DFAPA

Dr. Allison Cowan, MD, DFAPA. is a board-certified psychiatrist specializing in the treatment of mental illness in individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She graduated from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and completed her psychiatry residency at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Dr. Cowan completed the Advanced Psychotherapy Program at the Cincinnati Psychoanalytic Institute. She is the associate training director at the Department of Psychiatry at Wright State University and teaches medical students and psychiatry residents. Dr. Cowan has given many regional and national presentations on providing quality psychiatric care for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities and enjoys clinical practice through traditional face-to-face work as well as telepsychiatry.

Susan Havercamp, PhD

Dr. Havercamp is director of the Health Promotion and Healthcare Parity Program at the Ohio State University Nisonger Center. She is a consulting editor for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Inclusion and the book review editor for the Journal on Mental Health Research in Intellectual Disabilities. In addition, she is chair of the Research Committee for the National Association for Dual Diagnosis, on the Board of Directors of the Alliance for Disability in Health Care Education and the Human Services Research Institute.

Dr. Havercamp is a founding member of the AAIDD Student and Early Career Professional Committee and serves as a member of the NADD Professional Certification Committee. She was recently elected to a four-year presidential term of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, which is the largest and oldest interdisciplinary professional organization in intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Dr. Havercamp's research focuses on physical and mental health issues in people with disabilities. She provides disability training for health care providers and serves as the disability issue representative to the Group on Diversity and Inclusion at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Dr. Havercamp directs a program to increase the state’s capacity to promote health, prevent chronic disease and improve emergency preparedness and quality of life for Ohioans with disabilities.

Alicia Hopkins

Alicia M Hopkins is an artist author and disabled advocate. She has physical and developmental disabilities. She has painted 25 feet of art on the Ohio Direct Support Crisis. She uses art to engage people in conversations about disability rights issues. She is the Chair of the Ohio Nursing Crisis Committee. She is a member of Ohio Olmsted Taskforce and Breaking Silences Advocacy Group. She leads the Out of the Box Peer Support Group through Disability Rights Ohio. She is involved with a lot of advocacy around advocating for accessibility in the arts. She has four books and one book due out this summer. She has won numerous awards for her advocacy and dedication to the arts and community service in Ohio.

Tiffany Inglis, MD

Tiffany Inglis, MD is the Clinical Medical Director in Population Health focused on Maternal Child and Women’s Health. She is responsible for supporting analytics, program development, and partnerships around programs supporting women, children, and families. Before she was in her current role, Tiffany was the Director of Medical Operations at Elevance Health in the Commercial Ohio market. Prior to joining Elevance Health, she practiced medicine as an Obstetrician/Gynecologist in the Central Ohio area where she resides. She cared for people in urban, rural, and incarcerated settings. Tiffany earned her Medical Degree from Medical College of Ohio and her Bachelor in Science from The Ohio State University. Tiffany enjoys spending time with her family and as a former college athlete continues to remain active.

Ericka King-Betts, PhD

Dr. Ericka King-Betts is the Director of Health Equity Strategy for Humana Healthy Horizons (HHH) in Ohio. HHH in Ohio is 1 of 7 plans working through the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) to provide health care coverage to more than 3 million Ohioans through a network of more than 165,000 providers.

In her role, Ericka serves as a trusted thought partner with plan leadership, local communities, state agencies, and numerous internal and external partners to have an impact on health disparities at a population level; by

  • Overseeing the strategic design, implementation, and evaluation of health equity efforts in the context of the population health initiatives;
  • Informing decision-making around best payer practices related to disparity reductions;
  • Collaborating with internal partners to ensure the collection of data and meaningfully using race, ethnicity, sexual orientation / gender identity, language, and geographic data to identify disparities;
  • Ensuring that efforts addressed at improving health equity, reducing disparities, and improving cultural competence are designed collaboratively with other ODM-contracted managed care entities to have a collective impact for the population and that lessons learned are incorporated into future decision-making;
  • Overseeing Statewide community outreach and engagement efforts

Ericka holds dual Bachelor degrees in Psychology & Multicultural Studies from Purdue University, a Masters degree in Family Science with a minor concentration in Ethnic Studies from The Ohio State University, and a PhD in Consumer & Family Science with a specialization in Marriage and Family Therapy from Purdue University. She has received numerous awards from her alma maters, the Cincinnati Business Courier Forty Under 40, and Who’s Who in Black Cincinnati recognitions. She was previously appointed by Ohio’s Governor to serve on the Ohio Commission on Minority Heath and in other capacities for several local and national organizations. She genuinely believes in giving back to a community who has given her so much. She is a wife, mother of 4 boys, and dog mom to her diva dog Naina

Jennifer Kucera – Disability Rights Advocate

I was born with a Developmental Disability, specifically Spinal Muscular Atrophy. I have been a self-advocate for my entire life. For over two decades I was a College Mathematics instructor; but now, I’ve decided to focus my time and efforts on Systems Advocacy.

I have 53 years of lived disability experience. I am a member of United Healthcare’s National Advisory Board for people with Complex Care Needs. Through the work on United Healthcare’s National Advisory Board I have traveled the country presenting on issues in healthcare surrounding people with disabilities, specifically developmental disabilities. I’ve worked at a local Center for Independent Living where I assisted numerous individuals move out of Nursing Homes and back into the community using the Federal Money Follows the Person program. I am also a member of several statewide advocacy groups such as: Ohio Olmstead Task Force and Breaking Silences Advocacy group. I am the chair of the Ohio Olmstead Task Force’s Direct Care Workforce workgroup. I also serve on Ohio’s DD Council. Most recently I was appointed by Ohio’s Governor to the Nursing Home Quality and Accountability Task Force.

My areas of expertise include, but not limited to: independent living, Self-Direction, healthcare for people with disabilities, disability rights, nursing home living and surviving life when you have a mobility disability.

Latisha Buttercup Martin

Latisha is a 40-year-old Africa American woman who has mild to moderate Cerebral Palsy and mental health challenges. She is an advocate for herself and the disability community. Latisha started her advocacy journey as a junior in high school. She advocated to emancipate herself from her mother because of emotional, mental, and verbal abuse as well as the inaccessibility of her home.

Due to her advocacy, Latisha was able to receive the Individual Options (IO) Waiver. She moved into her first group home on March 18, 2002. She has lived in two other group homes but was able to move into her own apartment on March 1, 2019. With the advocacy skills she developed, she was able to get an automatic door opener and wall guard at her apartment.

Over the years, Latisha has continued to advocate for herself and others for systemic change so that everyone can have the accessibility and accommodations that are needed. The advocacy organizations Latisha works with include:

  • Ohio Olmstead Task Force (OOTF)
  • Ohio Olmstead Task Force Direct Care Workgroup
  • Montgomery County/Green County Voices
  • People First of Ohio
  • Breaking Silences Advocacy Committee
  • Breaking Silences Peer Support Advocacy Group
  • Breaking Silences MyCare/Self-Direction Advocacy Group
  • Breaking Silences Accommodations Advocacy Group
  • The Ohio Disability and Health Partnership Project through the Ohio State University Nisonger Center
  • Building Bridges Project through the Ohio State University Nisonger Center

Latisha has also been a plain language consultant for Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), and has participated in various advocacy events including the following:

  • Disability Pride Event
  • Legislative Advocacy meetings with Ohio state and federal legislators
  • Self-Advocacy Day at the Ohio Statehouse
  • Congressional Meet and Greet Event
  • Disability Policy Seminar 2022 in Washington, D.C.
  • Synergy Conference 2021

Latisha is also a graduate of the Leadership Education Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Program. For the LEND Program, Latisha helped put together an information sheet on Supplemental Social Security Income (SSI) Restoration Act of 2021 (H.R. 3763, S. 2065). She told her story about the current barriers of SSI for people with disabilities, and also participated in the AUCD Virtual Conference 2021.

Maria Matzik

Maria identifies as a proud, disabled woman. Maria’s pronouns are she/her. Her disability is Muscular Dystrophy, specifically Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type II. She uses the assistance of a ventilator to breath and a reclining motorized wheelchair for mobility. Maria has been a Disability Rights advocate (local, state & national) for over 30 years. She has been a self-advocate for as long as she can remember. Maria has participated in over 28 state and national committees advocating for home and community-based services. Maria is a graduate of Wright State University in Dayton with a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling. Currently, Maria is the Education and Advocacy Specialist at the Access Center for Independent Living in Dayton. Maria has been employed by the Access Center for more than 20 years. In Maria’s personal life she lives in her own home, owned by her and her partner of 27 years. They both share a passion for animals, cooking and the disability rights movement. Maria is a consumer of the Ohio Home Care Waiver program. She is currently enrolled on the MyCare Ohio Dual Eligible program through Molina.

Brenda Miller

Brenda Miller is the Behavior Support Coordination Manager at Miami County Board of Developmental Disabilities. Before working for the County Board, she was employed with ViaQuest as the Operations Director of the agency’s residential services in eight Southwestern Ohio counties. She has worked in developmental disabilities for over 14 years with her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Wright State University. Brenda’s passion lies in positively impacting the lives of those that experience with mental illness and developmental disability (MI/DD); recognizing the importance of behavior support extending to include families and providers. She comes to the panel representing Miami County and the work their organization has done in MI/DD.

Dr. Jacqueline Morse

Dr. Morse serves as an Assistant Medical Director at the Ohio Department of Medicaid. She is board certified in Family Medicine and Preventive Medicine. Dr. Morse has served as an assistant Medical Director for 2 years, focusing mostly on population health, quality improvement and case management. In addition to working at Medicaid, she continues to care for patients at a free clinic in Columbus, Ohio.

Joree Novotny

Joree Novotny has been part of the Ohio Association of Foodbanks team since 2010. She currently serves as chief of staff, providing support for overall organizational and program management in addition to overseeing communications and public relations, grants and contracts management, and public policy advocacy in service to Ohio’s foodbanks and Ohioans at risk of hunger. Prior to joining the association, she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member at the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank after graduating from Youngstown State University. In her free time, she serves as a board member for the National Accreta Foundation, volunteers at the Worthington United Methodist Church, and enjoys adventures with her husband, rescue dog, and four-year-old son.

Grace Schoessow, MS, OIMHP-III, ECMH-C

Grace is the Director of the Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health Program at the Greene County Educational Service Center. Grace has 20+ years of experience working with families of young children with complex needs and their multidisciplinary teams in home, school and community settings. She is an Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health and Development subject matter expert and holds the Ohio Credential for Infant Mental Health Professional- Level 3, the Ohio Early Childhood Mental Health Professional Credential and Ohio Trauma Informed Practitioner certification. She is a Triple P Positive Parenting, Positive Behavior Interventions & Support (PBIS) and IECMH Ohio Approved Master Trainer. Grace collaborates with local, state, and national partners to expand IECMH services to ensure safe and supportive learning environments where all children can thrive. She seeks to strengthen cross systems efforts to put policies and practices in place to promote childhood mental health by ensuring schools are safe; teachers are well; families are connected; and children are healthy and engaged. She works in conjunction with the Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services’ Whole Child Matters Initiative to expand access to Infant & Early Childhood Mental Health in Ohio; and collaborates to innovate and share what works.

Katie Shelley

Katie Shelley serves as the Manager of Access Initiatives at the Toledo Museum of Art, as well as a member of the Ohio Statewide Independent Living Council (OSILC), and serves as the co-chair of the OSILC Education and Outreach Committee. Originally from Michigan (please don’t hold that against her), Katie now lives and works in Toledo, Ohio and has a goal a more accessible and inclusive world for Ohioans with disabilities through her work.

Katie’s interest in access and is something that has shaped her life. As a person with a physical disability, Katie often found buildings, especially historic buildings, to be inaccessible to her. This interest in access led her to pursue a Master’s Degree in Liberal Studies with a focus on Disability Studies from the University of Toledo. Her thesis project focused on common myths surrounding accessibility and historic buildings, and how historic buildings can become accessible and comply with the ADA without losing the historic significance of the building. Katie also has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English from Western Michigan University, and a Master of Library Science Degree from Wayne State University.

Additionally, Katie is a member of The Ohio Olmstead Task Force, and served as an adjunct instructor for the Disability Studies Program at the University of Toledo in Fall 2022.

Kate Tullio, MPH, MS

Kate has dedicated her career to improving the health of populations in Ohio. She is currently the Director of Health Equity for the Ohio market at CareSource, Ohio’s largest Medicaid Managed Care company. In her role, Kate oversees the strategic design, implementation, and evaluation of health equity efforts into quality, clinical, and population health initiatives. She also partners to inform population health strategy and target quality improvement areas, including the design of clinical programs that improve health outcomes and reduce health disparities. She helps inform decision-making around best payer practices related to disparity reductions, including the provision of health equity and social determinant of health resources and research to leadership and programmatic areas. In her role she supports the CareSource mission by helping the most people possible.

Kate joined CareSource in June 2021. Prior to joining CareSource, She also has held positions at Cleveland Clinic, The James Cancer Center at Ohio State University and Ohio Department of Health investigating health disparities in cancer, diabetes, depression, and infectious disease. Kate also serves as the Co-Chair for the Ohio Partners for Cancer Control (OPCC), the statewide cancer coalition, where she also served as the lead and initiator of the Health Equity subgroup. An author on more than 50 scientific publications and frequent speaker at conferences and events, Kate earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from John Carroll University and master’s degrees in public health (epidemiology) and health information management from The Ohio State University.

Kate resides in Cleveland with her husband, daughter, and dog. In her free time, she enjoys running, teaching fitness classes, traveling, and cooking.

Andrea Witwer, PhD

Dr. Witwer is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health and Psychology at The Ohio State University and is the Director of Training for the Nisonger Center, University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. Dr. Witwer has published research related to co-occurring emotional, behavioral and psychiatric disorders in those with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities as well as assessment of autism spectrum disorders. She is currently the principal investigator for the OSU Building Bridges Project, a national training initiative related to the co-occurrence of mental health disabilities and intellectual and developmental disabilities. She is also an investigator on the Nisonger Center Rehabilitation and Research Training Center on Health and Function for People with Intellectual and Developmental disabilities. The goal of her project is to identify promising practices in the treatment of psychiatric disorders in individuals with intellectual disability and to provide a research framework for future training and research in this area.


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