Board of Directors
Rick Rader, MD,FAAIDD, DHL (hon)
President of AAHD
Editor-in-chief, Exceptional Parent
Director, Habilitation Center,
Orange Grove Center, Chattanooga, TN
VP Public Policy, American Academy of
Developmental Medicine and Dentistry
Ronald G. Blankenbaker, MD
Past AAHD President
Associate Dean Emeritus
University of Tennessee College of
Vince Campbell, Ph.D.
Disability Researcher and Consultant
Gulf Shores, AL
Michael Hoenig, MA
University of Iowa
Health Care Center for Disabilities and
AAHD Scholarship Committee Co-Chair
Iowa City, IA
Matt Holder, MD, MBA
Chief Executive Officer
Lee Specialty Clinic
Amy Houtrow, MD, MPH, Ph.D
Professor of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
and Pediatrics Endowed Chair for Pediatric
University of Pittsburgh
Matthew P. Janicki, Ph.D
Associate Research Professor
Department of Disability and Human Development
University of Illinois at Chicago
Gary Liguori, Ph.D, FACSM
Dean, College of Health Sciences
University of Rhode Island
Julie McLean, CPA
Susan L. Parish, Ph.D., MSW
Susan L. Parish
College of Health Professions
Virginia Commonwealth University
Roberta Carlin, MS, JD
Ms. Roberta Carlin has been the Executive Director of AAHD since 2002, when AAHD received funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, NCBDDD, to provide technical assistance to 16 state funded grantees. Since that time, under Ms. Carlin’s direction, AAHD has significantly grown and has developed a reputation as a leader in integrating disability into the national public health agenda. Ms. Carlin has been involved in the disability and health field for over 35 years working in the areas of health promotion and wellness, health equity, policy analysis, disability research, emergency preparedness, women’s health, expanding partnerships, stakeholder engagement, accessible communications and messaging, aging and disability, strategic information dissemination, knowledge translation and expanding collaborative initiatives. Ms. Carlin has a long standing commitment to eliminate health disparities in people with disabilities, ensure health equity, reduce the incidence of secondary conditions, and advocate for full community inclusion. Under Ms. Carlin’s direction, the Medline indexed, peer reviewed Disability and Health Journal was created. Before coming to AAHD, Ms. Carlin was the Associate Executive Director and Government Affairs Director at the Spina Bifida Association of America. Ms. Carlin was a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor earlier in her career and worked as Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for adolescents with developmental disabilities. Ms. Carlin holds a Juris Doctorate (JD) degree, a MS in Rehabilitation Administration and a MA in Counseling and Guidance.
Karl Cooper, Esq.
Director of Public Health Programs
Karl D. Cooper, Esq. is an attorney and disability advocate. As a person with his own disabilities, he has spent most of his professional career addressing the needs of individuals with disabilities. Currently, he serves as the Director of Public Health Programs at the American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD) where he oversees a number of projects which conduct outreach in the disability community to engage them in public health initiatives. He started at AAHD in October 2013, working as the Project Manager for the National Disability Navigator Resource Collaborative (NDNRC). Prior to moving to DC in 2012, he practiced law for 14 years in the greater Philadelphia area where he was able to devote time to pro-bono advocacy for those affected by physical and developmental disabilities. In addition to his work with AAHD, Karl is the current Chair of the Disability Section of the American Public Health Association (APHA). Karl received his law degree from Villanova University School of Law in 1997 and a BA in Communications/Political Science from Cedarville University in 1994.
Jacob Ditsch, OTD
Post-Doctoral Disability and Research Fellow
Jacob Ditsch, OTD, is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at AAHD, providing his knowledge and skills from a clinical perspective with training in project management and knowledge translation. He serves as Project Coordinator on the VTE KTTU Project and co-facilitates knowledge translation, Coordinator. In addition to the VTE KTTU Project, Jacob Ditsch assists other AAHD staff on knowledge translation, transfer, and utilization for people with disabilities.
Charles E. Drum, MPA, JD, PhD
Director, National Center on Research, Knowledge Translation, & Dissemination
Charles E. Drum, MPA, JD, PhD, is the founding Director of the National Center on Research, Knowledge Translation & Dissemination at the American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD). Previously, he was Director of the Institute on Disability and Professor of Public Health at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) and Assistant to Associate Professor of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at Oregon Health & Science University. Dr. Drum is an established leader in disability and health issues, focusing on health promotion, health care access, and health disparities. He has produced over 250 peer-review and knowledge translation publications and obtained grant support more than $32 million.
Anthony Oberg, MPA
Anthony is project associate with AAHD. He has been with AAHD since March 2020. Anthony is a person with a disability that uses a manual wheelchair, so is personally invested in disability issues. Professionally, he has experience in document accessibility, which informs the work he does with AAHD. Anthony lives in the DC metro area and serves as the Vice-Chair of the Bus and Rail Subcommittee for the Public Transit’s Accessibility Advisory Committee as well.
Nuria Piracha, MPH
Nuria is a graduate from George Mason University’s Master of Public Health program, with a concentration in health policy, focusing on health payment systems/economics, program evaluations, and healthcare disparities where she also obtained her undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree in Community Health. Professionally, she has worked within women’s health, specifically in providing healthcare access to women with disabilities, at organizations such as Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia and the National Partnership for Women and Families. Nuria currently serves as the Project Coordinator for the Health Insurance Literacy Academy Project, as well as the Community Catalyst project and assists AAHD with their social media.
E. Clarke Ross, DPA
Public Policy Director
Dr. E. Clarke Ross has worked 50 years with six national mental health and disability organizations. Since December 2010, Clarke has worked as the public policy director for the American Association on Health and Disability. He has served on a variety of National Quality Forum (NQF) committees. His work history includes Chief Executive Officer of CHADD – Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder; Deputy Executive Director for Public Policy, NAMI – National Alliance on Mental Illness; Executive Director, American Managed Behavioral Healthcare Association (AMBHA); Assistant Executive Director for Federal Relations and then Deputy Executive Director, National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD); and Director of Governmental Activities, UCPA – United Cerebral Palsy Associations (UCPA). Clarke previously served as the Chair of the “Friends of NCBDDD” (National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities) at CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and then its Advocacy Coalition. Dr. Ross was a co-founder of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities (CCD) in 1973. From 1984-1986, Clarke worked as an Assistant Professor of Public Administration for Troy State University – European Region, headquartered in Weisbaden, Germany. Since 1983, Dr. Ross has served as an adjunct instructor of graduate public administration for Central Michigan University.
Samantha Steven is a writer and editor who has written for apps, games, websites, literary journals, trade magazines, newspapers, and e-commerce brands. Her most notable achievements are authoring a guidebook for College Prowler for prospective college students, interviewing Leonardo Dicaprio for The Hollywood Reporter, reviewing books for Publishers Weekly, covering the World Series of Poker, and teaching creative writing at Harvard-Westlake. She loves to read, hike, and make homemade divinity candy.
Joseline Raja Vora, MS, MPH
Joseline is a doctoral candidate at Oregon State University pursuing a degree in Kinesiology with an option in Adapted Physical Activity. At OSU she leads two projects that focus on promoting physical activity for emerging adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD), and supporting adults with ID/DD who are interested in pursuing leadership roles in fitness-based careers.
Michele Sky Lee, MA
Michele Lee is a second year Interdisciplinary Health doctoral student at Northern Arizona University. Michele is also a Research Coordinator at The Institute for Human Development at Northern Arizona University. Her primary research interests include understanding Pap testing in women with disabilities.
Uncork-it Inc., Blacksburg, VA