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Summer 2016

The Boggs Center Welcomes Yaa Keene, MPH

Yaa KeeneYaa Keene recently joined The Boggs Center as the Program and Data Coordinator for the New Jersey Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities program (NJLEND). She is responsible for providing overall program and data coordination and analysis to the NJLEND program. Yaa earned her Master of Public Health degree from the Rutgers School of Public Health with a focus on Health Systems and Policy. She earned her bachelor’s degree in Public Health with a minor in Africana Studies from the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, NJ. Before coming to work at The Boggs Center, Yaa worked as a Department Secretary with the Clinical Practices of the University of Pennsylvania Health System administrative department. Prior to that, Yaa worked with Kelsch Associates in Westville New Jersey, providing an individualized approach to day-to-day care for adults with developmental disabilities.


The Boggs Center Welcomes Bethany Chase, LSW

Bethany ChaseBethany Chase recently joined The Boggs Center as a Training and Consultation Specialist for the Employment and Transition projects.  Bethany provides training, consultation, and technical assistance regarding best practices in Supported Employment and Transition to Adulthood. Prior to her work at The Boggs Center, Bethany spent over a decade as Chair of the Transition Department at the Cooke Center for Learning and Development, based in New York City.  In this capacity, Bethany assisted hundreds of students with developmental disabilities and their families as they charted paths towards independent, meaningful, and purposeful lives of their choosing. Bethany received her master’s degree from Columbia School of Social Work with a focus on Health, Mental Health, and Disabilities. She earned her bachelor’s Degree in Music, with a major in Music Therapy, from Berklee College of Music.

Margaret Gilbride, JD, CT, Appointed to New Jersey Advisory Council
on End-of-Life Care

Margaret GilbrideMargaret Gilbride, JD, CT, Instructor of Pediatrics and Director of Transition, Employment, and Aging & Disability at The Boggs Center, was recently appointed by Governor Christie to the New Jersey Advisory Council on End-of-Life Care. She will represent the issues and concerns of particular impact for and interest to people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, their loved ones, and their caregivers. The purpose of The Council, convened by the New Jersey Department of Health, is to conduct a thorough and comprehensive study of issues relative to the quality and cost-effectiveness of, and access to, end-of-life care services for all persons in New Jersey, and to develop and present policy recommendations for the consideration of State agencies, policymakers, health care providers, and third party payers. 


Getting the Community Life You Want

A Guide to Home and Community Based Services Advocacy

Getting the Community Life You Want coverThe Home and Community Based Settings (HCBS) Final Rule, a federal policy change announced by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), provides new opportunities for people with disabilities to have the kinds of community services they want. The Rule requires that the places where people receive HCBS waiver services offer full access to the benefits of community life.
Last year, the New Jersey Department of Human Services (DHS) submitted a transition plan to CMS describing how they will make sure that Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) and the places where they are provided promote integration and access to the community, choice, individual rights, and independence. Using feedback provided by CMS, DHS has revised this plan, recorded a webinar to provide an overview of the Statewide Transition Plan, and released a draft Addendum to the Statewide Transition Plan (STP) that is open for public comment through August 31, 2016. Links to these resources can be found in Acting DHS Commissioner Connolly's announcement of the public comment period.
This is a great opportunity for people with developmental disabilities to share what community life means to them and what changes need to be made so the services they receive provide opportunities to be integrated in their communities, make choices, and realize individual rights and independence.


The Statewide Transition Plan Comment Period Edition of the guide is available for download on The Boggs Center website, and provides information about the HCBS Final Settings Rule along with resources to help you give input to Home and Community Based Services and New Jersey's Statewide Transition Plan.

New Jersey Partners in Policymaking Now Accepting Applications


NJ Partners in Policymaking graphicThe Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities was awarded funding from the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities to coordinate New Jersey Partners in Policymaking.

New Jersey Partners in Policymaking is an 8-month leadership development and advocacy education program for adults with developmental disabilities and family members. The goal of program is to prepare the next generation of disability advocates to work toward meaningful change in our state.
Participants selected for the program will learn about best practices and important areas for advocacy from nationally-known experts through a series of educational leadership development sessions held one weekend per month, beginning in November of this year and ending next June.

The Boggs Center is now accepting applications from people with developmental disabilities and family members interested in participating. Visit the New Jersey Partners in Policymaking page on The Boggs Center's website to learn more about the program and how to apply.


Applications must be received by September 9, 2016, and applicants will be notified of acceptance by September 30.


The Boggs Center Receives $2.2M Grant for Student Training in Autism and Related Disabilities  


The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Department of Pediatrics, has been awarded a Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) Training Program grant totaling $2.2 million over five years from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration.

Deborah M. Spitalnik, PhD, Professor of Pediatrics and Executive Director of The Boggs Center, said the NJLEND will “enable The Boggs Center to improve the lives of New Jersey’s children, young adults, and their families living with Autism, through interdisciplinary clinical leadership training to develop the next generation of health leaders and advocates.” The program will address other maternal and child health priorities, focusing on health disparities and cultural competence, and opportunities to collaborate with the New Jersey’s Division of Family Health Services.


NJLEND represents a unique set of university, state, local, and family partnerships. “Being at Rutgers gives us the opportunity to provide students with a truly interdisciplinary learning experience,” Principal Investigator Spitalnik described. “This will be an interprofessional collaboration of faculty and staff working across departments and schools.”

Participating faculty and graduate-level students represent 6 disciplines across Rutgers, including: the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School Department of Pediatrics, School of Health Professions Department of Nutritional Sciences, School of Dental Medicine, School of Nursing, and School of Social Work. Family members of children and young adults with disabilities will also participate as LEND trainees.


Children’s Specialized Hospital is the primary clinical training partner for the NJLEND program and Rutgers’ Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center is a clinical site. Through interdisciplinary clinical leadership training that includes didactic education, experiential learning, and mentoring from families living with disability, students will develop skills and understanding from “Bench to Bedside to Community.”


The Boggs Center’s designation as a LEND was supported by U.S. Representative Chris Smith, congressional Autism Caucus co-chair, and Congressman Frank Pallone Jr. With New Jersey having the highest reported prevalence of Autism in the nation, Smith commented, “This investment is long-overdue and sorely needed.” Pallone described, “The work being done at The Boggs Center is extraordinary and has the potential to help families in New Jersey and throughout the country.”

Exploring Transition in New Jersey: Research into the Experiences of Emerging Adults with IDD and Their Families Report on Key Findings

Transition research report cover

Exploring Transition in New Jersey: Research into the Experiences of Emerging Adults with IDD & Their Families was a study conducted by The Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities between 2014 and 2016 to learn more about the experiences of young adults with disabilities as they leave high school and enter adulthood.  With funding from the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities, the study gathered information from available literature, school district representatives, young adults with developmental disabilities and their families to better understand the state of transition in New Jersey.  This report provides a summary of what was learned from the study in the areas of: transition planning, career preparation and work experience, self-determination and self-advocacy, post-secondary education, independent living, and connection to services and supports.


View and order the Exploring Transition in New Jersey Report on Key Findings


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