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Social Policy and Disability Symposium

Bios for Presenters and Moderators

Michelle Ballan
Michelle Ballan is Associate Dean for Research, Professor of Social Welfare and Professor of Family, Population and Preventive Medicine at Stony Brook University Health Sciences Center where her research, teaching, and service focus on intimate partner violence, bioethics, medical education, and sexual health for adults with disabilities.

Morgon Banks 
Morgon Banks is an Assistant Professor at the International Centre for Evidence in Disability at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. She is a mixed-methods researcher with a primary focus on disability, poverty, and social protection in low- and middle-income countries.

Vandana Chaudhry 
Vandana Chaudhry is an Associate Professor in the Department of Social Work at the City University of New York – College of Staten Island. She completed her doctoral studies in Social Work and Disability Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research focuses on disability in the Global South, neoliberal governance, culturally and structurally competent practices, and disability justice. Her multi-year ethnographic work explores disability at the nexus of development, globalization, and the politics of subject-formation in rural South India, through the examination of microfinance, community-based approaches, and disability pensions.

Wei Chen 
Wei Chen is a Ph.D. candidate in Economics at Fordham University and a visiting researcher at Max Planck Institute in Germany. Her research is at the intersection of computational health and labor economics, with an emphasis on disability and aging. She has consulted for an array of international organizations such as the World Bank and the United Nations.

Alexandre Cote 
Alexandre Cote is co-founder of the Centre for Inclusive Policy, Alexandre has worked internationally in the field of inclusive development for 25 years. Involved in the negotiation, monitoring, and implementation of the UNCRPD, he has promoted social protection as a critical conduit for inclusion and collaborates with ILO and UNICEF to develop related technical guidance.

Vidya Diwakar
Vidya Diwakar is a Research Fellow of the Chronic Poverty Advisory Network at the  Overseas Development Institute. Vidya is a mixed-methods researcher whose work focuses on drivers of sustained poverty escapes in South and Southeast Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East and North Africa region.

Itaf Elkhatbeeb
Itaf Elkhateeb is a Visiting Professor at the School for Global Inclusion and Social Development at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Dr. Elkhateeb previously worked as an Assistant Professor at IUG University, Gaza in the Midwifery Department. Her research focus is on health and women with disabilities.

Brooke Ellison
Brooke Ellison is an Associate Professor at Stony Brook University. Dr. Ellison received her undergraduate degree in neuroscience from Harvard University in 2000, and a Master's Degree in Public Policy from Harvard Kennedy School in 2004. Dr. Ellison completed her Ph.D. at Stony Brook University in 2012. Brooke’s research focuses on the ethics and policy of science and health care.

G. Lawrence Farmer
G. Lawrence Farmer is an Associate Professor and Doctoral program director at the Graduate School of Social Service at Fordham University. Dr. Farmer works on the personal, family, and institutional/environmental factors that allow youths to succeed in primary and secondary educational settings.

Karen Fisher
Karen Fisher is a Professor at the Social Policy Research Centre, UNSW Sydney. She researches the organization of social services in Australia and China, including disability and mental health community services; and inclusive research methodology.

Christine Fountain
Christine Fountain is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Fordham University at Lincoln Center. Her research interests include inequality, social network analysis, and health disparities. With collaborators at Columbia University and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, she is currently studying the social patterning of autism diagnoses.

Marian Frattarola-Saulino
Marian Frattarola-Saulino is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Values Into Action in Media, PA. She is also the Board Chair of the Alliance for Citizen Directed Supports.

Sandra Gendera
Sandra Gendera is a Senior Researcher at UNSW, Sydney. Her research focuses on the lived experience of people and the support they receive, including disability services, drug and alcohol, and housing support. Her work encompasses qualitative in-depth methodologies; participatory research methods; and mixed-method program evaluation. 

Shaffa Hameed
Shaffa Hameed is a qualitative researcher at the International Centre for Evidence in Disability (ICED). She has worked on capturing in-depth experiences of people with disabilities in low- middle-income countries including Maldives and Turkey. Her interests also include sexual and reproductive health and the rights of people with disabilities in LMICs.

Justine Herve 
Justine Herve is a doctoral candidate in Economics at Fordham University.  Her research interests are at the intersection of Labor Economics, Development/Health Economics, and Macroeconomics. She was previously the graduate assistant of the Faculty Working Group on Disability at Fordham University.

Janna Heyman
Janna C. Heyman is Professor and Endowed Chair of the Henry C. Ravazzin Center on Aging and Intergenerational Studies at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service. Dr. Heyman has been involved in federal, state, and grant projects in health care, palliative care, intergenerational work, and community evaluations.

Jody Heymann
Jody Heymann is founding director of the WORLD Policy Analysis Center, and Distinguished Professor at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, Luskin School of Public Affairs, and Geffen School of Medicine. She served as dean of the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health from 2013-2018. Heymann has worked with government leaders in countries around the world as well as a wide range of intergovernmental organizations including WHO, ILO, UNICEF, UNDESA, and UNESCO. Heymann has authored over 430 publications, including 18 books. Selected titles include Advancing Equality, Disability and Equity at Work, and  Lessons in Educational Equality.

Amy Horowitz 
Amy Horowitz is the Thea Bowman Endowed Chair in Social Research at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service. Her research, funded by multiple grants from NIH, has addressed adaptation to disability in later life; interrelationship of late-life disability and mental health; and family caregiving to disabled older adults.

Margaret Kelly
Peggy Kelly is the Research Director in the Ravazzin Center on Aging and Intergenerational Studies at Fordham University, where she works on an array of research projects across the lifespan. Dr. Kelly holds both her masters and doctorate in social work from Fordham University.

Hoolda Kim
Hoolda Kim is an Assistant Professor of Economics at Black Hills State University. She is interested in the economic lives of the poor, children, people with disabilities, and people who encounter various shocks. Her research agenda seeks to improve the economic well-being of vulnerable populations and alleviate economic inequality.

Douglas Kruse
Douglas Kruse is Distinguished Professor in the School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University, and part of the National Bureau of Economic Research and IZA Institute for the Study of Labor.  His work focuses on the employment of people with disabilities, and employee ownership and profit-sharing within firms.

Jing Li
Jing Li is a Ph.D. student in the Centre of Disability Studies, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, The University of Sydney.

Xuehui Li
Xuehui Li earned his doctorate in sociology degree from Fudan University. His research has focused on education, employment, social support, and policies for people with disabilities, focusing on the people with visual and intellectual (mainly autism) disability and their families.

Yang Lixiong
Yang Lixiong is professor at the School of Labor and Human Resources at Renmin University of China, Associate Dean of Disability Institute at
Renmin University of China. He is also serving as the expert consultant of State Council Working Committee on Disability, China Disabled Persons’ Federation.

Maria Martinho
Maria Martinho works on disability-inclusive development at the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations.  She was the Editorial Team Leader of the United Nations Disability and Development Report 2018. Throughout her career, she also assisted the United Nations' work on Sustainable Development Goals and gender statistics.

Susan Matloff-Nieves
Susan Matloff-Nieves is Deputy Executive Director for Youth and Aging at Goddard Riverside Community Center in NYC, committed to developing programs that are responsive to community voice. She has published on social justice, youth work, gender bias, and staff development. She is a graduate of Silberman School of Social Work (CUNY).

Stephen McGarity 
Stephen McGarity is an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. He received his master’s and Ph.D. in social work from the University of Georgia. His research focuses on poverty and disability, particularly around how increasing financial supports and financial access for people with disabilities improves financial well-being.

Sophie Mitra
Sophie Mitra is Professor in the Department of Economics, co-director of the Disability Studies Program, and founding director of the Research Consortium on Disability at Fordham University. Her research interests relate to disability, health, and wellbeing, in the Global South in particular. She has studied the impact of social protection programs and the economic impact of disability, including the extra costs of living with a disability. 

Daniel Mont
Daniel Mont is Co-President of the Center for Inclusive Policy specializing primarily in disability data and education and social protection policies. He was a Senior Economist for the World Bank, the Director of the Worker's Compensation Project at the National Academy of Social Insurance, a Principal Analyst at the Congressional Budget Office and an assistant professor at Cornell University.

Izel Obermeyer 
Izel Obermeyer is Chief Clinical Officer and Carnegie-Wits Diaspora Fellow at the Westchester Institute for Human Development in Valhalla, NY.

Meira L. Orentlicher 
Meira L. Orentlicher is the Director of Research and Faculty Scholarship at the School of Health Sciences and Professor and Associate Chairperson of Research and Scholarship at at the Occupational Therapy Department of Touro College in Bay Shore and Manhattan, NY.

Michael Palmer
Michael Palmer is an economist specialising in the area of health. Broadly, his research explores how health (disability) impacts on economic and social well-being. Currently, he is a senior lecturer in economics at the University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia. He is also a research affiliate with the Australian Centre of Research Excellence in Disability and Health. 

Kathleen Perry 
Kathleen Perry is the Associate Director of IHCS Services, Family Mentor, ACRE Certified, and Certified Supports Broker at Values into Action in Media, PA.

Dimity Peter
Dr. Peter is an Associate Professor in the School for Global Inclusion and Social Development at the University of Massachusetts Boston.  Her research focus is on women with disabilities. 

Monica Pinilla-Roncancio
Monica Pinilla-Roncancio is an Assistant Professor at Universidad de los Andes . She is the Co-director of Metrics and Policy at OPHI and has been working in OPHI since 2014. She coordinates the work in Latin America, East Asia, and some countries in Africa and the Middle East. Her main research interests are disability, multidimensional poverty, inequality and health economics.

Anne Revillard
Anne Revillard is an associate professor of sociology at Sciences Po (Paris), director of the Laboratoire Interdisciplinaire d’Evaluation des Politiques Publiques (LIEPP), and member of the Observatoire sociologique du changement. Her research explores the interplay between law, policy/politics, and the contemporary transformations of systems of inequality linked to gender and disability, based on qualitative methods.

Matthew S. Rutledge
Matthew S. Rutledge is an associate professor of the practice in economics at Boston College, and a research fellow at the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College. His research is on older workers, retirement, disability, and health insurance. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Michigan.

Mario Spiezio
Mario Spiezio is an Associate Social Affairs Officer at the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs. Before joining UNDESA, he carried out research on employment and discrimination at the European University Institute and worked on Poverty Reduction at the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

Michael A. Stein
Michael A. Stein is the co-founder and Executive Director of the Harvard Law School Project on Disability, and a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School. Considered one of the world’s leading experts on disability law and policy, Dr. Stein participated in the drafting of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Jean-Francois Trani
Jean-Francois Trani is an associate professor at the Brown School, Washington University in St Louis. He investigates the intersection of mental health, disability, vulnerability, and poverty with a focus on conducting field research that informs policy and service design for individuals living in conflict-affected fragile states, and other low-income countries.

Willetta Waisath
Willetta Waisath is a Senior Research Analyst and Research Manager at the WORLD Policy Analysis Center (WORLD) at the Jonathan and Karin Fielding School of Public Health, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Much of her recent analytical work has focused on disability-inclusive policymaking and the extension of labor rights and social protections to marginalized workers.
Xiaoran Wang
Xiaoran Wang is a social work doctoral candidate at the Graduate School of Social Services, Fordham University, New York. Her dissertation investigates Chinese parents’ early intervention experiences for children with autism in Beijing and New York City.

Zhu Wenxuan
Zhu Wenxuan has a Master of social work at Wuhan University of Technology, does research focusing on the rights and social policies of persons with disabilities, and participated in the Fourth Conference on Building Global Social Work Networks and Systems.

Jaclyn Yap
Jackie is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in Economics at Fordham University and a Research Fellow on the Global Disability Rights project, led by Sophie Mitra. Jackie is also currently working on a research project with the World Bank on inequalities between persons with and without disabilities. Her research interests are in labor, gender, and migration in the global south.