2015 Leadership


Karen Edwards, MD, MPHKaren Edwards, MD, MPH (President)
Westchester Institute for Human Development, New York Medical College

Karen Edwards, MD, MPH is Professor in the School of Health Sciences and Practice at New York Medical College. She is Co-UCEDD Director and LEND Director (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities) at Westchester Institute for Human Development in Valhalla, NY. She serves on the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council and on its Children, Youth and Family Committee, and is a member of the New York State Council on Graduate Medical Education.

She received her university and medical school education at the University of Connecticut, completed her pediatric residency at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and completed a Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Post-Doctoral Fellowship at Yale University School of Medicine. She earned her Masters in Public Health at New York Medical College. Dr. Edwards’ past service at New York Medical College includes: pediatric residency program director, Associate Dean for Primary Care, Chair of the medical school Curriculum Sub-committee for the Clinical Years, and course director for the medical student introduction to clinical skills.

Dr. Edwards’ major areas of interest include: leadership training and continuing education for health professions graduate students and professionals, focusing on children with disabilities and their families; related faculty development; on-line and distance teaching and learning; and increasing opportunities for diverse professionals in training programs and careers related to children with special health care needs.

Executive Director

Andrew J. Imparato, JDAndrew J. Imparato, JD
Executive Director

Andrew Imparato has served as executive director of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) since September, 2013. As a disability rights lawyer and policy professional with more than two decades of experience in government and advocacy roles, Imparato has worked with bipartisan policymakers to advance disability policy at the national level in the areas of civil rights, workforce development, and disability benefits. Prior to coming to AUCD, he was senior counsel and disability policy director for Senator Tom Harkin on the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Before that, he spent 11 years as President and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities, a national membership organization working to grow the political and economic power of the disability community. Imparato’s perspective is informed by his personal experience with bipolar disorder.

Since joining AUCD, a national network of over 100 university-based programs that conduct research, training and advocacy to improve the quality of life of children and adults with disabilities, Imparato has helped the organization broaden the scope of its advocacy and expand its leadership capacity. Imparato is currently serving on two bipartisan panels developing recommendations for reform of the Social Security Disability Insurance program and has spearheaded a national “Six by ‘15” campaign designed to leverage next year’s milestone anniversaries of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to focus public attention on the areas where the disability community wants to see more progress. This campaign has been endorsed by over 140 disability organizations.

Imparato’s work has been recognized by the Secretaries of Health and Human Services and Transportation, the US Junior Chamber of Commerce, the National Council on Independent Living, the National Association of the Deaf, and the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation. He has testified nine times before Committees of the US Senate and House of Representatives and has been interviewed on a wide range of disability issues by national television, radio and print media. He cultivates grassroots activism on social media and is known for seeking out and mentoring emerging leaders with disabilities. He co-authored articles that have been published in the Stanford Law and Policy Review and the Milbank Quarterly, and wrote a chapter on the Supreme Court’s disability rulings in The Rehnquist Court: Judicial Activism on the Right (Hill & Wang 2003). Imparato graduated summa cum laude from Yale College and with distinction from Stanford Law School. He lives in Baltimore with his wife Betsy Nix and their 15 year-old son Nicholas.


Celia Feinstein, MACelia Feinstein, MA (President-Elect)
Institute on Disabilities, Temple University

Celia S. Feinstein is the Co-Executive Director of the Institute on Disabilities at Temple University. Ms. Feinstein has been with the Institute since 1979 as Coordinator of Evaluation and Research, Assistant Director of Evaluation and Research and Associate Director of Training and Technical Assistance. In January, 2012 Ms. Feinstein was appointed Co-Executive Director of the Institute and Associate Professor of Urban Education in the College of Education.

Ma. Feinstein completed her undergraduate studies in physiological psychology at Temple University and her Master’s Degree in Medical Sociology at Temple University. Ms. Feinstein has completed her coursework in partial fulfillment of the PhD in medical sociology.

Ms. Feinstein has extensive experience working with people with disabilities and families through her training, technical assistance and research activities, specifically in the areas of leadership development, community-based training and technical assistance, quality of life assessment and waiting list development and management. Ms. Feinstein has also done a significant amount of work in the area of deinstitutionalization and has published extensively. She has also been extremely involved in the development of the self-advocacy and family support movements in PA and provided consultation to many states in regarding deinstitutionalization policy and research, quality of life assessment and waiting list strategies. Ms. Feinstein has served on legislative committees regarding waiting list issues and has served on a number of community and professional boards and committees including the Developmental Disabilities Council, the Disability Rights Network of PA, The American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) and Vision for Equality.


Olivia Raynor, PhDOlivia Raynor, PhD (Past-President)
Tarjan Center, University of California Los Angeles
email oraynor@mednet.ucla.edu

Olivia Raynor, Ph.D. is Adjunct Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences and Director of the Tarjan Center, a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at the Semel Institute, University of California Los Angeles. For nearly 30 years Dr. Raynor has been engaged in projects addressing the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in employment, volunteerism and service, post secondary education, and the arts. Since 1994, she has also served as the founding Director of the National Arts and Disability Center, an internationally recognized information and training center dedicated to promoting the inclusion of artists and audiences with disabilities into the arts. Since 2001 she has administered the Statewide Forums on Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities Initiative, providing technical assistance and support to 26 state arts agencies conducting forums. She is also responsible for the overall leadership of the Consortium on Postsecondary Education Options for Students with Developmental Disabilities, a statewide group dedicated to improving access to college by students with developmental disabilities. Dr. Raynor holds degrees from Boston University and the University of Southern California in Occupational Therapy and a doctorate from the University of California Los Angeles in Educational Psychology. In 2006, Dr. Raynor was a recipient of a Visionary Award by Kern County Regional Center, California.


Leslie Cohen, JDLeslie Cohen, JD (Past-Past President)
Sonoran UCEDD, University of Arizona
email ljcohen@email.arizona.edu

Leslie Cohen graduated with a bachelors degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a juris doctor degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law.  She practiced law in the area of civil litigation for many years in both the private and public sectors.  She brings to the position extensive experience in developmental disabilities advocacy and policy as well as broad based community connections with stakeholders in government agencies, self-advocacy and family groups, provider agencies and ADD network partners.  Ms. Cohen’s experience includes over ten years as Executive Director of the Arizona Center for Disability Law, Arizona’s protection and advocacy system. She has been a long-time member of the Arizona’s Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, including as Chair of its Legislative and Policy Committee. She has served as a consultant to organizations in Arizona and nationally on a wide variety of strategic planning, management and substantive disability  issues and as a peer program reviewer for the Administration on Developmental Disabilities and the Center for Mental Health Services.  She is a member of the Advisory Council for the Institute for Human Development at Northern Arizona University; Board of Directors of the Primavera Foundation; and the  State Bar Committee on Persons with Disabilities in the Legal Profession.  Ms. Cohen is Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and adjunct faculty at the Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona.


Brent Askvig, PhDBrent Askvig, PhD (Secretary)
North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities, Minot State University
email brent.askvig@minotstateu.edu

Brent A. Askvig, Ph.D., is the Executive Director of the North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities at Minot State University in Minot, ND. Dr. Askvig holds the rank of Professor of Special Education in the Department of Special Education, College of Education and Health Sciences at Minot State and has been on the faculty for 25 years. He has served as chair of the Department of Special Education, as well as coordinator of the undergraduate program in intellectual disabilities and the graduate programs in severe disabilities and early childhood special education. In addition he served as Assistant to the Dean for the MSU Graduate School.

Dr. Askvig completed his undergraduate studies with a double major in Special Education and Elementary Education at Minot State University, and his completed his Master’s degree in Special Education/Severe Disabilities also at MSU. He completed his Doctorate in Special Education at the University of Idaho with a focus on higher education and research.

Dr. Askvig began his career as a direct service provider to individuals who moved from the state institution to community programs. He started the first public school classroom for students with significant support needs in Bismarck, ND. Dr. Askvig has also provided home based early intervention services to rural ND families, and was the program coordinator for a regional Part C early intervention program.

Personnel preparation, deinstitutionalization, and international disability issues are the most frequent research, writing and presentation topics for Dr. Askvig. He has directed several federal personnel preparation programs, written on ND’s institution for persons with intellectual disabilities, and co-hosted the Midwest’s only international Nordic conference on intellectual disabilities. Dr. Askvig serves on numerous state committees and task forces including the state council on developmental disabilities and state committees on transition and seclusion and restraint.

Treasurer / Finance and Audit Committee Chair

Bruce Keisling, PhDBruce Keisling, PhD (Treasurer)
Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities, University of Tennessee Health Science Center
email bkeislin@uthsc.edu

Dr. Keisling is a child clinical psychologist with a concentration in the assessment and treatment of children with developmental disabilities. He is an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and Associate Director of the UT Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities, including the center’s LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities) and UCEDD (University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities) programs. He is a researcher on the CANDLE (Conditions Affecting Neurocognitive Development and Early Learning in Childhood) study, an interdisciplinary, longitudinal study of mother-child dyads from the second trimester of pregnancy through the child’s fourth year of life.

Dr. Keisling graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville. He attended graduate school at Auburn University where he earned masters and doctorate degrees in clinical psychology. Dr. Keisling completed a pre-doctoral internship through the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center and a post-doctoral fellowship in developmental disabilities and behavioral pediatrics at the Emory University School of Medicine.

Dr. Keisling has 17 years of experience in the field of developmental disabilities. Previous positions include a clinical academic appointment through the Emory University School of Medicine as well as a four-year tenure as the regional director of a statewide, not-for-profit center that serves adults and children with developmental disabilities. He is in his second term as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Disability Coalition and is a member of the Developmental Disabilities Planning and Policy Council for the Tennessee Department of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.