Subscribe to our social media for the latest updates!
Wendy Jones Appointed as the New AUCD Multicultural Council Chair
The GUCEDD is thrilled to announce that Wendy A. Jones, MEd, MSW has been appointed as the new Chair of the Multicultural Council (MCC) of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). AUCD has a number of Councils and Special Interest Groups that provide leadership through specific activities that align with the goals of AUCD. The MCC works on issues around inclusion, diversity, and cultural and linguistic competence within the AUCD network.

Why did you want to be a part of the MCC?
“The Multicultural Council was of interest to me because of its: (1) focus on assisting AUCD to address requirements for cultural competence, diversity, and inclusion as identified in the
Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000; and (2) supporting AUCD to implement its Strategic Map with a focus on growing diverse and skilled leaders, and modeling diversity, equity, and inclusion with and on behalf of people with developmental disabilities and their families throughout the network. The MCC's goals and activities are all areas of interest and closely related to my work across the projects that I have been involved with at the GU National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC), Transition Implementation Partnership, and the Parenting Support Program.”––Wendy Jones

Why is the representation of culturally diverse groups important in disability work?
“Engaging and representing the voices of all people is important to the success of any change movement. The disability space has not always been inclusive of the voices of persons from diverse social, cultural, linguistic, LGBTQIA+, and other groups. Such exclusion of the voices of persons of color with disabilities led in 2005, to the birth of the disability justice framework and movement that highlights oppression in disability rights, and an expectation of difference in disability, identity and culture, and values of access, and self determination.”––Wendy Jones

Image description: This photo of Wendy Jones depicts a smiling red-brown complexioned black woman with brown eyes, dimples in both cheeks, and red-mauve colored lip gloss. She has brown shoulder length locs or rope-like strands of hair, and is wearing a navy-blue mock turtleneck sweater, and sits against a black background.
The NCCC Hires New Staff to Support A Systems Change Project Designed to Strengthen New York State’s Services for Persons with IDD

The New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) entered a three-year partnership with Georgetown University National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC) in October 2022. The goal of the project is to advance policies and practices of cultural and linguistic competence (CLC), diversity, equity, and inclusion in all components of the intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) system of New York State. Essential to achieving this goal are the principles and practices of CLC, which are proven evidence-based practices in efforts to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in systems and organizations, including those supporting persons with IDD, their families, and the communities in which they live. This partnership has four primary components that will focus on OPWDD, persons with lived experience of IDD and their families, New York State’s IDD provider network, and an OPWDD-administered grant program centered on CLC, diversity, equity, and inclusion.
The plans for this three-year statewide partnership were announced in May 2022 when Governor Kathy Hochul spoke of New York State’s investment into the OPWDD system of supports and services for people with IDD. The project is led by the Director of the NCCC, Professor Tawara Goode. Professor Goode, the project’s Principal Investigator, and the NCCC are recognized for years of experience and expertise in cultural competence. The growing team now includes a Project Director and several staff committed to this work and the collaboration with New York State. 
Tanisha Clarke, DBA, MPH
Project Director
Tanisha Clarke, DBA, MPH directs the project: Advancing Cultural and Linguistic Competence, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: New York Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) - Georgetown University National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC) Partnership for Systems Change. Dr. Clarke has over 20 years of progressive professional experience managing programs and capacity-building initiatives at the state and national levels. She is a first-generation college graduate who studied psychology, public health, and business administration/management. She enjoys traveling in her free time and is also a proud Christian, Jamaican, mom, and sibling of an adult man with disabilities.
Image description: Black woman with black shoulder-length hair smiling at the camera. She is wearing gold hoop earrings and a colorful African print V-neck top in front of a blurred mostly white background.
Andy Arias
Program Component Manager
Andy Arias (he/him) serves as a Program Component Manager for the OPWDD-NCCC
Partnership for Systems Change project. He leads and contributes to formulating and
implementing program approaches and strategies for the Persons with Lived Experience of IDD Family Program Component. His responsibilities include leading activities that support, collaborate, and partner with persons who experience IDD and their families across diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and other identity groups who reside in New York. Andy has worked in the disability/diversity space for over a decade. He previously worked with the NCCC as an Adjunct Faculty on various projects. Andy was a Policy Advisor at the US Department of Labor for 6.5 years. He focused on employment policy for individuals with disabilities, including IDD and underserved communities. He also focused on financial and economic advancement policies for individuals with disabilities. All his policy work has an intersectional diversity lens. He is a recognized national Subject Matter Expert (SME) on diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.

Image Description: Andy is pictured smiling in a headshot with a blurred background. He is a Latin X man with an olive complexion, short brown highlighted hair, and brown eyes, and he is wearing a purple argyle sweater. You can see the top of his wheelchair in the photo.
Chantel Campbell
Project Coordinator
Chantel Campbell, MS, serves as the Project Coordinator for the OPWDD-NCCC Partnership for Systems Change Project. She works collaboratively with team members to provide an array of administrative and technical support. Chantel previously worked in various supervisory roles, including a Training Coordinator, a Success Coach, and an Abuse Counselor. She graduated Magna Cum Laude from Florida A&M University with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a minor in Sociology. Chantel returned to FAMU to complete her master’s in criminal justice. She is a diligent, hardworking individual who takes pride in whatever she does.

Image description: A smiling Black woman with long, curled hair wearing a jean jacket, earrings, and a delicate necklace.
David J. Crawford
Program Component Associate, OPWDD
David Crawford, BA, is a Program Component Associate for the OPWDD-NCCC Partnership for Systems Change project. He provides administrative support and coordinates a variety of project tasks and activities to support the OPWDD component. David is a seasoned marketing communications executive with over 15 years of experience supporting C-Suite executives. Skilled in copywriting and editing, he’s known for being dynamic, adaptable, and dependable in working with leadership teams and executing traditional and digital projects. Originally from Jamaica, David graduated from St. John’s University in Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in communications and a minor in writing.
Image description: David is pictured with a pleasant facial expression and a cream background. He is a black man with brown skin, light-brown eyes, short brown and gray hair, and a full, neatly cropped brown and gray beard. He’s wearing a white button-up shirt with a tan colored blazer.
Luticha Andre Doucett
Program Component Manager
Luticha Andre Doucette (all pronouns) serves as a Program Component Manager for the OPWDD-NCCC Partnership for Systems Change project. She leads and contributes to formulating and implementing program approaches and strategies for the OPWDD Program Component. Her responsibilities include managing multiple CLC, diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts such as action planning; policy analysis and development; professional development and training; technical assistance and consultation; leadership development; and engagement of key constituencies such as persons who experience IDD and their families across diverse racial, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, and other identity groups and the communities in which they live. Luticha holds a Bachelor’s in Bioinformatics from the Rochester Institute of Technology.
Image Description: Luticha is a honey-skinned Black femme sitting in a wheelchair wearing pink pants, a black and white houndstooth top, and a multitude of sparkly jewelry. Behind Luticha is part of a quote from Frederick Douglass that reads “freedom” in black and white on a purple background
Syreeta Elie
Program Component Associate, Provider Network
Syreeta Elie (she/her) is a Program Component Associate for the OPWDD-NCCC Partnership for Systems Change project. She provides administrative support and coordinates a variety of project tasks and activities to support the Provider Network component. Syreeta has provided administrative support in higher education for over 20 years.
Image description: Syreeta is pictured smiling in her headshot with a slightly blurred background with hues of green, yellow, and cream. She is a black woman with a brown complexion, shoulder length dark brown, almost black hair, wearing burgundy lipstick that matches her burgundy and black sweater
Leslie Gaines
Information Technology Support Specialist
Leslie Gaines, MS, serves as the Information Technology Support Specialist. She provides information technology support to the project, including audio/visual and other technical support for meetings and webinars. Leslie has worked as a research assistant, teleconferencing and face-to-face meeting administrator, and database management/analyst. In her spare time, she enjoys taking in art of various forms – music, art galleries/museums, botanical gardens, movies, reading, sewing, and some crafting.
Kalie Kowalski
CLC-DEI Professional Development Associate
Kalie Kowalski, MS, CCC-SLP, is the Cultural and Linguistic Competence-Diversity Equity Inclusion (CLC-DEI) Professional Development Associate. She oversees and facilitates the formation, design, and implementation of professional development and related training activities focused on advancing CLC, diversity, equity, and inclusion. Kalie is also the Speech Pathology Discipline Coordinator for the Georgetown University Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (GULEND) program.
Image description: Kalie is pictured smiling in a headshot with a light-gray background. She is a biracial, Black-American woman with an olive complexion, shoulder-length, curly hair, brown eyes, and is wearing a green blouse with a navy blazer and gold hoop earrings.
New Early Childhood Intervention Personnel Development Equity Center

The Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development, and its University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) and National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC), are major partners in a new grant awarded to the University of ConnecticutThe grant is funded by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs to provide technical assistance that increases equity in the delivery of early childhood intervention services to young children (birth 0- 5 years) who are at-risk for or have developmental delays or disabilities. This new Early Childhood Intervention Personnel Development Equity Center is national in scope, and will work with state systems of early childhood intervention and institutions of higher education (IHE) that prepare the workforce to provide these services. The Center will create an equity-based curriculum for IHE and state in-service personnel preparation programs that prepare early childhood intervention teachers, therapists, and specialists. Another focus of the Center is to develop resources and tools and increase capacity within IHEs to recruit students into early childhood intervention personnel preparation programs who are representative of the racially, ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse populations that reside in states, territories, and tribal nations.  

Faculty and staff who are working on this project include:
Tawara Goode, Project Co-Director & Director GUCEDD and NCCC
Neal Horen, Director GUCCHD Early Childhood Division 
Chioma Oruh, NCCC-GUCEDD Senior Policy Associate 
Maria Eugenia, Senior Policy Associate in Early Childhood 
We enthusiastically welcome Chioma Oruh as a new member of the GUCCHD team and community. 
Interdisciplinary Training
LEND Trainee Spotlight: Leigh-Kirstin Sims

1. Why were you interested in joining LEND?
After becoming a mother, my 15 years as an early childhood educator in a school building became a different type of challenge. Beyond the challenge of working in a world that often felt like a silo, I found myself craving a different intellectual stimulus, which led me to EI (Early Intervention). The relationships I missed out on making while being in a classroom were quickly made up as I worked with parents. It was the relationships with fellow parents that catapulted me to deepen my knowledge and hone my craft––after all, parents were depending on me to understand their needs and deliver knowledge. It was at that juncture that I made an intentional effort to get to know the community around me, which led me to LEND. 

2. What do you hope to gain from LEND?
I hope to be challenged by my colleagues, and more reflective on my work as it relates to where I am going as a practitioner. My hope is that in 20, 30 years I am able to lean on the people I've met and the knowledge acquired in LEND. 

3. How has being in LEND impacted your understanding of disability?
My understanding of disability has widened and deepened. I am constantly reminded that there are many spokes on the wheel of learning to be added as time goes on. I also realize that everyone has an opinion about any given topic and that, depending on your station in life, your values or thoughts on a topic may not ever align with someone else's. It is within that space of difference that an incredible learning opportunity exists.

4. How do you hope to use what you learn in LEND in your future work?
While there are many formal opportunities to use what I have learned in LEND I am most appreciative of personal moments of discomfort followed by growth; it is my hope that I become really familiar with this cycle of discomfort and growth to become a better person, community member and practitioner. 
Image description: A person with a round face, angular jawline and large eyes slightly turns their head slightly to the left while still focusing their eyes straight on where a camera or viewer would be. They have brown skin with red undertones, side parted hair that feels whispy due to the curls that don't go past the chin. The person is almost smiling but the expression lands as a gentle and kind, perhaps mischievous smirk. The person is wearing a black mock neck shirt and is against a plain background, as it is a portrait.
Equity and Justice Practices in Early Intervention

As part of the Georgetown University Graduate Certificate in Early Intervention Program, Dr. Anni Reinking spoke in a webinar about Equity and Justice Practices in Early Intervention, hosted by the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (GUCCHD). The webinar took place on January 4th, and was attended by the Certificate program students as well as early intervention service providers from around the District of Columbia and other states. Dr. Reinking engaged the attendees in thoughtful self-examination, focusing on implicit and explicit influences on decisions early interventionists make. She encouraged thinking about equity through the lens of internal and external barriers, and included action items that promote more accessible and inclusive early childhood intervention systems.
Image Description: A sliding scale of colorful smiley faces, from unhappy to happy. Text reads, "Help us improve! We want your feedback about our website." The Georgetown University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Center for Child and Human Development logo, a silhouette of people walking forward and rolling forward in wheelchairs. A QR code to take the survey.
Alt Text Judy Heumann an older white woman with short brown hair and a bright blue shirt in a power wheelchair smiles and holds copies of her two books Being Heumann and Rolling Warrior.
GUCCHD Pays Tribute to Judy Heumann
In loving memory of disability rights pioneer Judy Heumann who passed away in March, GUCCHD published a tribute. “Judy Heumann was an inspiration, my colleague, and my friend. She gave light where there was darkness, she gave wisdom where there was indifference, and she gave hope to all of us who fight for equity and inclusion. Judy was a tireless advocate, a joyful presence, and one of the most elegant women I have known. The world is a lesser place without her,” said Phyllis Magrab, Director of the GUCCHD.
Image description: Judy Heumann, an older white woman with short brown hair and a bright blue shirt in a power wheelchair, smiles and holds copies of her two books: "Being Heumann" and "Rolling Warrior."
Inclusive Schools Week
During the week of December 5-9, 2022, the GUCEDD celebrated Inclusive Schools Week. Inclusive Schools Week celebrates the progress schools have made in providing a supportive and quality education to students with disabilities. GUCEDD became involved in this celebration through the encouragement of community partners, Disability Rights DC at University Legal Services (DRDC) and Advocates for Justice and Education (AJE).
The GUCEDD partnered with the Georgetown-Medstar Center for Well-being in Schools (WISE) on a pilot writer's workshop for high school students. GUCEDD faculty members Pamala Trivedi and Robin Shaffert, along with GUCEDD staff member Jalyn Marks, visited Mr. Zain Shariff’s 11th grade history class at DC International School (DCI). DCI is a trilingual public charter school in DC in which school leaders and teachers have been implementing a founding mission of providing a rigorous international baccalaureate (IB) curriculum to all of the middle and high school students served, including English language learners and students with disabilities. For the writing workshop, GUCEDD team members led a conversation about disability advocates who have fought for inclusion, including Lois Curtis, and asked the students to write about what gave them a sense of belonging at school. Many students talked about the community built by their teachers and fellow classmates. GUCEDD team members received excellent feedback from this session and a request to expand the workshop to other classrooms next year!
GUCEDD is also disseminating a brief video that centers the personal perspective of a leadership journey towards an inclusive school with DCI High School Principal, Christopher Nace, who identifies as a person with a disability himself. Principal Nace discussed how his own identity as a disabled educator and school leader influences his leadership trajectory and inclusion implementation efforts. Additionally, GUCEDD created an infographic asking its audience to consider, “How can DC public and charter schools refocus their talent, time, and energy to improve the quality of education for students with disabilities?”
Inclusion in schools is important because it helps to create an environment of acceptance and understanding. It allows students of all backgrounds and abilities to learn together and to develop a sense of community. Public schools are required to provide appropriate accommodations and support services to eligible students. This could include providing assistive technology, specialized instruction, and modifications to the curriculum. Additionally, schools should ensure that all students have access to the same activities and resources, regardless of their abilities. Inclusive Schools Week celebrates the many ways that schools can build environments and cultures in which all students have equal opportunities to participate in a learning process and receive individual supports needed for their success.
NCCC Director Tawara Goode Contributes to the Body of Knowledge about Disability Research

Tawara Goode, director of the Georgetown University National Center on Cultural Competence and the Georgetown University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, has undertaken a dual role in an edition of Impact, published by the Institute for Community Integration of Minnesota UCEDD. In addition to assuming the position of Lead Editor for the edition, which is entitled "Engaging Communities Underrepresented in Disability Research," she also authored an article titled "A Cultural Framework for IDD Research." The article examines how culture is often overlooked as an essential construct in all aspects of disability research.
All the articles featured in this edition of Impact are a product of the 2022 State of the Science Conference: Engaging persons with IDD from underserved racial, ethnic, linguistic, and cultural groups in research, hosted by the Research and Training Center on Community Living, Institute for Community Integration, at the University of Minnesota.

Promoting Diversity and Inclusion in Developmental Disabilities Through Leadership
The latest issue of Developmental Disabilities Network Journal includes an article entitled “Advancing Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Developmental Disabilities: The Essential Role of Leadership for Cultural and Linguistic Competence” by Tawara Goode, Oluwatosin Ajisope, Sharonlyn Harrison, Betelhem Eshetu Yimer, Deborah Perry and Wendy Jones.
The authors argue that CLC practices can reduce disparities and promote equity. Achieving cultural and linguistic competence (CLC) requires strong and informed leadership to spark the necessary changes within systems, organizations, and practice. The authors identify two distinct yet related challenges that continue to confront the IDD network:
(1) the lack of capacity across all aspects of the network to develop, nurture, and support people who are prepared to lead efforts that advance and sustain CLC; and
(2) there are few members of racial, ethnic, and cultural groups, including people with disabilities from these groups, presently occupying or being groomed to become leaders and assume leadership positions network-wide.
The article documents the outcomes of the Leadership Institute, five-year grant of national significance funded by the Administration on Disability, Administration for Community Living Department of Health and Human Services.  
Blue triangles appear next the words Developmental Disabilities Awareness month on top of an orange background
Each March, the GUCEDD joins the disability community in celebrating Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month (DDAM). We celebrate DDAM to promote the inclusion and acceptance of persons with developmental disabilities, to raise awareness of the barriers they face in their daily lives, and to celebrate the achievements of people with developmental disabilities.
The GUCEDD has a partnership with the Ethiopian Eritrean Special Needs Community (EESNC), and has shared the artwork of students from this community on our social media throughout the month. Follow us on Facebook and on Twitter!
On March 21, in partnership with the MedStar Georgetown Center for Well-being in School Environments (WISE), the GUCEDD hosted a webinar consisting of a panel of experts who discussed Meeting the mental health and wellness needs of students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Panelists included transition-aged youth with developmental disabilities, parents of children with developmental disabilities, and providers from DC Public Schools and a DC charter school. The webinar can be watched on YouTube.
The GUCEDD also created a video for DDAM in the form of a poem written by people with developmental disabilities about Living with a Developmental Disability.
GUCEDD Serves Up Nutrition Education with the National Children’s Center

The National Children's Center’s Early Learning Center (NCC), an inclusive early intervention and education setting, and the GUCEDD are partnering to conduct a nutrition education program for parents of young children including those at risk for and with developmental delay or disability. Dr. Kim Bullock, who serves in dual roles in the Department of Family Medicine at Georgetown University Medical Center and GUCEDD’s IDD Physician Educator, and Capri Fowler, Innovation Strategist with NCC, collaborated to create and conduct this innovative program. The sessions are offered to families of young children who reside in Wards 7 and 8, underresourced communities in southeast Washington, D.C. These communities have little access to high quality foods and major grocery stores. These communities also have high rates of health disparities. The project focuses on cooking as a form of health promotion and the therapeutic value of meal preparation. An average of 10 to 12 families have been involved monthly with many of the participating families having children with autism and ADHD. Information is presented in an accessible way with a goal of supporting healthy eating habits across the lifespan for young children with and without disabilities and their families.
Collaborative learning sessions provide an opportunity for information exchange and support families through nutritional knowledge, practical tools, collective discovery, and culturally appropriate dishes to navigate decision-making surrounding family health. The classes are science-based and taught using culturally and linguistically competent approaches. Classes are led by a professional chef, with deep knowledge of and ties to the communities, which is reflected in approach to food selection and cooking strategies. The chef and his assistant maintain NCC’s accessible urban garden. Children are encouraged to participate in the garden-to-table activities, which adds active engagement and interest in learning about healthy foods. Over time, family members showed more engagement and reflective questions regarding their nutritional awareness and utilization of healthy ingredients presented in the cooking classes. This resulted in parents feeling more confident in making nutritional decisions for themselves and their children.
On April 4, 2023, Dr. Bullock, Capri Fowler, and two Georgetown University rising medical students gave a poster presentation at the Harvard New England Science Symposium. They presented again on May 8, 2023 at the MedStar Health-Georgetown University Research and Education Symposium. Highlights of the program’s monthly nutrition and cooking classes were discussed plus cooking ideas presented by the participants.
Future directions include the implementation of a parent café model, the creation of a community recipe book, and securing grants to expand the program activities and community engagement.
Image description: Capri Fowler, Dr. Kim Bullock, and two medical students all smile and stand in front of a poster entitled “Building a Community of Healthy Families” at the Harvard New England Science Symposium.
New Self Direction Waiver – Individual and Family Support (IFS)

This spring, for the first time, some people receiving services from the Developmental Disability Administration (DDA) of DC’s Department on Disability Services (DDS) will be able to manage their own services. People enrolled in the Individual and Family Support (IFS) Waiver will be able to join “Services My Way” and self-direct their services. By self-directing their services, people are able to exercise more control over their lives. With help from a financial management service or support broker, the person receiving services hires, manages, and can fire the people who provide support. Financial management service provides advice and handles many of the administrative tasks.
“Services My Way” is currently available to DC residents receiving services under the Elderly and Persons with Physical Disabilities (EPD) waiver who live in natural homes, for people who live with their families or in their own home. GT Independence is the support broker in DC.
Self-direction is an outcome of the Independent Living Movement of the 1960s and 1970s. The movement seeks to empower people with disabilities to achieve greater independence and self-determination, and  the desire, ability, and practice of directing one’s own life. As of 2019, every state offers self-direction in at least one of its Medicaid programs. A detailed examination of the history and advantages of self-direction can be found in the academic article, The Case for Medicaid Self-Direction: A White Paper on Research, Practice, and Policy Opportunities Medicaid Self Direction Report.
DDS anticipates that “Services My Way” will roll out by the end of April 2023. Stay tuned for more information about self-direction under the IFS waiver!