Experts List

The following is a list of sources with expertise in a range of disability issues. They have agreed to respond to reporters’ questions and make themselves available for interviews.

Stephanie Alves


Tekla Babyak

  • Title: Musicologist and Disability Activist with Multiple Sclerosis
  • Credentials: PhD, Musicology, Cornell University, 2014
  • Expertise: Disability activism in academia; disability-centered pedagogy; representations of disability in 19th-century music. Author of many academic articles and book chapters, including “My Intersecting Quests as a Disabled Independent Scholar“. Guest lecturer in university courses about music, philosophy, and disability
  • Location: Davis, CA
  • Phone: (530) 757-1468
  • Email:
  • Website:


Steve Doig

  • Title: Knight Chair in Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication Arizona State University
  • Expertise: Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other disability civil rights issues; the legalization of assisted suicide (opposed by DREDF)
  • Location: Phoenix, AZ
  • Email:
  • Website:  Arizona State University Faculty Bio


Deni Elliott

  • Title: Eleanor Poynter Jamison Chair in Media Ethics and Press Policy, Department of Journalism and Digital Communication, University of South Florida
  • Expertise: Media ethics; service dog law and ethics; ethics education
  • Location: St. Petersburg, FL
  • Website: Deni Elliott
  • Email:


Betsy Furler, MS, CCC-SLP

  • Title: Founder, For All Abilities; navigating the intersection of business and disabilities; expert in technology solutions for people with disabilities
  • Organization: For All Abilities
  • Expertise: Expertise: Tech solutions for people with disabilities, speech pathology, augmentative communication, works with app developers and tech companies that want to improve the accessibility of their products, consultant for films with characters with disabilities.
  • Location: Houston, TX
  • Email:
  • Website:


Regine Gilbert

  • Title: Senior User Experience Designer; Adjunct Professor, NYU Tandon School of Engineering
  • Expertise: User Experience Design; Web Accessibility; Digital Storytelling; Accessibility and Mixed Realities; Human Computer Interaction (HCI).
  • Location: New York, NY
  • Phone: (646) 512-2650
  • Email:
  • Website:
  • Twitter:


Charles Hooker

  • Title: President and CEO, Keystone Human Services
  • Organization: Keystone Human Services, a multi-national corporation operating in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, India, and Moldova
  • Area of Expertise: Deinstitutionalization, developing and implementing community-based services, disability inclusive disaster relief, legal frameworks for services, adult autism services, intellectual disability services, mental health services, assistance dogs (Susquehanna Service Dogs), early childhood education (Capital Area Head Start), inclusive education, inclusive employment, technology to promote independence.
  • Location: Harrisburg, PA
  • Phone Number: 717-232-7509
  • Email:
  • Website:
  • Facebook:
  • Twitter:
  • LinkedIn:
  • Shannon McCracken

    • Title: Vice President of Government Relations
    • Organization: ANCOR, a nonprofit trade association representing 1,400+ providers of services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD)
    • Expertise: Advocate and federal lobbyist with expertise in Medicaid, managed care, federal agency regulations, and a range of other policy issues facing I/DD service providers. Previously served as a provider, owned her own case management company and worked in advocacy at the state level in Kentucky.
    • Location: Washington, D.C.
    • Phone: (703) 535.7850
    • Email:
    • Website:


    Erin Hoppe

    • Title: Executive Director
    • Organization: VSA Ohio
    • Expertise: Disability and the arts
    • Phone: 614-241-5325
    • Email:
    • Website:

    Jill Houghton

    • Title: CEO and President
    • Organization: Organization: Disability:IN, the leading non-profit resource for corporate disability inclusion worldwide. More than 200 corporate partners look to Disability:IN for guidance on disability inclusion, including recruitment and outreach, supplier diversity and accessibility.
    • Expertise: Expertise: How Fortune 500-1000 companies have advanced their disabilities inclusive policies and programs, with guidance from their industry peers within the Disability:IN network as well as Disability:IN resources.
      Disability:IN co-leads the Disability Equality Index with the American Association of People with Disabilities, used by over 200 corporate partners for performance benchmarking to determine “The Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion”. For workforce development, Disability:IN’s NextGen Program helps build the talent pipeline for young leaders with disabilities. Finally, Disability:IN is the leading certifier of disability-owned business enterprises and is widely accepted by the public and private sectors..
    • Location: Remote.
    • To request an interview please contact Elaine Kubik, Director of Marketing and Communications. (
    • Website:
    • LinkedIn:
    • Twitter:

    Heidi Johnson-Wright

    • Title: Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator
    • Organization: Miami-Dade County; University of Miami
    • Expertise: Title II ADA Compliance (both programmatic and facilities); issues involving people with physical disabilities, especially wheelchair users; disability issues involving local governments; issues involving architecture and disabilities.
    • Location: Miami Beach, FL
    • Phone: 786-564-5160
    • E-mail:


    Valerie Karr

    • Title: Director for Research Programs
    • Organization: Victor Pineda Foundation
    • Expertise: Child education and public awareness strategies and campaigning, with a strong clinical background in special education and a track record of effective advocacy both nationally and internationally in the area of disability rights.
    • Location: Garden City, NY
    • Phone: (516) 877-4091
    • Email:


    Colleen Kelly Starkloff

    • Title: International leader in the disability rights movement for over 40 years focused on the emancipation of people with disabilities
    • Organization: Co-Founder, Starkloff Disability Institute, a nonprofit that prepares people with disabilities for competitive employment and consults with companies to help them become more disability-welcoming
    • Expertise: Subject matter expert on disability rights; the Disability Rights Movement; Universal Design; disability inclusion
    • Location: St. Louis, MO
    • Phone: 314-588-7090
    • Email:
    • Website:
    • LinkedIn:

    Jay Klein

    • Title: Associate Clinical Professor in the Arizona State University School of Social Work in the College for Public Programs
    • Expertise: Leader and educator in efforts to include people with disabilities in community life and help translate professional practices into everyday realities for all people.
    • Email:


    Simi Linton, Ph.D.

    • Title: Writer, filmmaker and disability/arts consultant
    • Expertise: disability and the arts, disability studies as a field of inquiry, conventions of language, disability activism and disability rights.  The author of Claiming Disability: Knowledge and Identity, and the memoirMy Body Politic, and a producer and director of the forthcoming documentary film Invitation to Dance
    • Location: New York, NY
    • Phone: (646) 281-1504
    • Email:
    • Website:


    Tony Lombardo

    • Title: Multiple Sclerosis survivor
    • Organization: Let’s Hear Your Story (LHYS), a community blog about conquering life’s obstacles
    • Expertise: Author of On Both Sides of The Fence: How to Successfully Lead a Fulfilling Life Despite the Presence of Any Physical Challenge with Craig Schwab. Enjoys public speaking. Counts his mom, a breast cancer survivor, and Robert R. Ingram, a Medal of Honor recipient, as mentors.
    • Location: New Jersey
    • Phone: (609) 660-1529
    • Email:
    • Website:


    Kat Maudru

    • Title: Public Relations Manager for PRIDE Industries
    • Website:
    • Expertise: Can provide subject matter experts for all aspects of employment for people with disabilities, including training, placement, on-the-job coaching, career counseling, paid internships, accommodations, and other types of support. Can also provide experts to speak on the economic benefits of an inclusive workforce and the importance of workplace inclusivity training. Could arrange interviews with Fortune 500 companies who have successfully implemented and benefitted from these programs. Can also arrange interviews with PRIDE Industries employees with disabilities.
    • Location: Roseville, CA
    • Phone: 916-753-4339
    • Email:
    • Twitter: @KatMaudru


    Tim McGuire

    • Title: Frank Russell Chair for the Business of Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University
    • Expertise: Parenting of a child with disabilities, disability and spirituality, disability and ethics.
    • Email:


    Barbara Merrill

    • Title: Chief Executive Officer
    • Organization: ANCOR, a nonprofit trade association representing 1,400+ providers of services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD)
    • Expertise: Former attorney and elected official with expertise in disability policy and long-term supports and services for people with I/DD.
    • Location: Alexandria, VA
    • Phone: (703) 535-7850
    • Email:
    • Website:


    John Morris

    • Title: Travel Accessibility Expert
    • Organization:
    • Expertise: John is a triple amputee and travel writer who uses a power wheelchair to explore destinations around the world. His website provides guides for navigating accessibility challenges while traveling with a disability.
    • Location: Orlando, FL
    • Phone: 360-521-8150
    • Email:
    • Website:


    Brett Oppegaard

    • Title: Project Director
    • Academic Research: The UniDescription Project
    • Expertise: Conducting academic research on Audio Description services for people who are blind or visually impaired, especially in public places, such as national parks..
    • Location: University of Hawaii
    • Phone: (850) 273-1212
    • Email:
    • Website:


    Susan Parish

    • Title: Nancy Lurie Marks Professor of Disability and Director, Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University
    • Also the Director of the Doctoral Progam in Social Policy at The Heller School for Social Policy and Management
    • Expertise: Children with autism, disability policy, poverty policy, health of children and adults with disabilities, racial disparities in health care access, poverty and disability.
    • Location: Waltham, MA
    • Phone: (781) 736-3928
    • Email:


    Victor Pineda

    • Title: President
    • Organization: Victor Pineda Foundation
    • Expertise: Nationally recognized expert on disability policy. Founded California’s first Disability Media Center. Has worked for the U.S. Department of the Treasury in evaluating development policy and foreign aid.
    • Location: Los Angeles, CA
    • Phone: 310-467-4556
    • E-Mail:


    Edie Perkins

    • Title: Executive Director, Kelly Brush Foundation and activist for adaptive sports
    • Credentials: B.A., International Studies, Antioch College
    • Website:
    • Expertise: Expert in adaptive sports and sports accessibility. Working to help people with spinal cord injuries be more active more often to live healthy, fulfilled lives, and to relate the ways that people with spinal cord injuries are active to those with able bodies. Also working to develop sports facilities for people with disabilities and helping people in the SCI community to find and access those facilities. Fostering connections amongst people with spinal cord injuries for the mutual benefit of community members. Expert in marketing.
    • Location: Burlington, Vermont
    • E-Mail:


    David M. Perry


    Irene Richard

    • Title: Movement disorder neurologist and researcher, and an investigating senior medical adviser to the Michael J. Fox Foundation
    • Organization: University of Rochester
    • Expertise: Parkinson’s Disease, and its mental and emotional aspects
    • Location: Rochester, NY
    • Phone: 585-275-7937
    • E-Mail:


    Shelly Rosenfeld

    • Title: Co-director, Cancer Legal Resource Center, a program of the Disability Rights Legal Center
    • Website:
    • Expertise: Rosenfeld is an attorney and co-director of the Disability Rights Legal Center’s Cancer Legal Resource Center (CLRC), a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. She provides legal resources to people with cancer-related legal issues, health care professionals, and caregivers nationwide, and leads presentations on a variety of topics related to legal rights for people with cancer. Ms. Rosenfeld previously worked as a TV anchor and reporter.
    • Location: Los Angeles, CA
    • Phone: 562.452.3182
    • E-Mail:


    Darrell Shandrow

    • Expertise: Blindness, accessibility, technology, IT, software.
    • Organization: Blind Access Journal
    • Website:
    • Email:
    • Location: Tempe, Arizona


    Eleanor Smith

    • Title: Director
    • Organization: Concrete Change
    • Expertise: Basic access in all new houses, i.e. Forming and implementing policy to change the new house construction norm from the current lack of any access features to routine inclusion of basic access in all new houses.  This movement is variously known as ‘Inclusive  Home Design’ ‘Visibility’ or ‘Basic Home Access’ It emphasizes the access features most important for people with mobility impairments to visit or reside in a house – at least one zero-step entrance, ample interior doors widths and access to a bathroom.
    • Location: 600 Dancing Fox Road, Decatur, GA 300320
    • Phone: 404-378-7455
    • E-mail:
    • Website:


    Paul Thompson

    • Title: Professor of Neurology
    • Organization: University of California-Los Angeles
    • Expertise: Schizophrenia research
    • Location: Los Angeles, CA
    • Phone: 310-206-2101
    • E-Mail:


    Nadine Vogel

    • Title: CEO, Springboard Consulting, a global company working with corporations, governments and agencies around the world to mainstream disability in global workforces, workplaces and marketplaces.
    • Expertise: Workforce and workplace issues, including talent Acquisition, employment, learning and development, compliance, accommodations, disclosure, business resource groups, and physical and web accessibility.  Also marketplace issues such as branding, creative, communications, media, outreach, events and accessibility in relation to the acquisition and retention of customers with disabilities and their families.
    • Location: Mendham, N.J.
    • Phone: 973-813-7260
    • Email:
    • Website:
    • LinkedIn: Nadine Vogel, MBA, CSP, CSPGlobal
    • Twitter: @NadineVogel


    Christina Vorndran

    • Title: Senior Clinical Director, Developmental Disabilities Programs
    • Bancroft (non-profit organization focusing on children with disabilities)
    • Expertise: Vorndran is a board-certified behavior analyst and a New Jersey certified school psychologist, with particular expertise in children with autism and other developmental disabilities.
    • Location: Haddonfield, NJ
    • Phone: 856-524-7032
    • E-Mail:


    Katherine Yoder

    • Title: Executive Director
    • Organization: The Adult Advocacy Centers
    • Expertise: Victimization, criminal justice and accessible forensic interviewing for people with disabilities. The AACs provide fully accessible forensic interviews for adult crime victims with disabilities, as well as training for professionals. Katherine is also a person with disabilities herself.
    • Location: Columbus, OH
    • Contact:
    • Website: