February 2013 

Welcome to the premiere issue of the CLD Update.

In this issue:

The Third Annual Georgia Winter Institute
Georgia Autism Plan Presented
Lecture by Dr. David Satcher 
GA Inclusive Post Secondary Education Consortium
CAC Member and Team Attend IDEA Partnership
Bethany Stevens JD, MA Presents in Grand Rounds


Georgia Winter Institute logo. An orange person holding a star.
        The Third Annual Georgia Winter Institute a Success

The Georgia Winter Institute welcomed 150 attendees to the Columbus Convention Center and Iron Works on January 6th through the 9th. Participants gained knowledge, insight, and inspiration from speakers John O'Brien, DeAmon Harges, Bruce Anderson and Tom Kohler. The gathering, which celebrated it's third year, brings together person-centered planning and community building experts to share best practices and new ideas. This year's theme focused on questioning, listening and story telling as methods to build capacity in communities.  

Stacey Ramirez, Director of Individual and Family Supports for CLD observed, "It was powerful to be amongst so many like-minded people, both with and without disabilities, who are building strong communities through the questions they ask, listening intentionally and sharing with others the stories they gather."

Attendees were highly engaged in GWI activities and gained knowledge and strategies about best practices that they will be taking back with them to their communities. GWI attendee and professional storyteller Jeanette Vaughan Waddell added, "The conference confirmed much of what we are already doing in Sparta and opened the door for forward movement. Over the past five years we have made tremendous progress towards "the beloved community". I will be sharing my experience with our core group members next week. Thanks so very much for the opportunity to share my love of stories and storytelling."

Visit for photos, haikus and quotes from conference attendees.

Save the date for GWI 2014, January 26-29! 

A Haiku from GWI 2013:

        The uniqueness of you
        Your gifts are best for sharing,  
        Moving others to grow too.


Georgia Autism Plan logo

Georgia Autism Plan Presented to Key Stakeholders

On January 16th the initial draft of the Georgia Autism Plan was unveiled to a group of 40 stakeholders. The completed plan will outline concrete steps to achieving a high-quality, family-centered, comprehensive, and coordinated system of services and supports that will be available to all with autism and related disorders in the state of Georgia. 

The Center for Leadership in Disability was the recipient of the Georgia Autism Planning Grant in September, 2011. Since that time CLD staff have worked with an Advisory Panel comprised of local and national governments, parents, self-advocates, providers, professionals and advocacy organizations, to handle the task. The team has worked tirelessly to design the structure of the plan, organize input from stakeholders, and generate a set of preliminary recommendations to best address services and programs for those in our state on the Autism spectrum. 

Erin Vinoski, CLD Research Assistance and contributor to the plan added, “The Autism Planning Grant process has really opened my eyes to the possibility for systems-level change in Georgia. All of the key stakeholders and organizations are invested in the plan and are eager to work together to improve quality of life for individuals with autism and their families. I’m excited to see where our priorities lie as we prepare to submit for the implementation grant!”

For a complete look at information contained in the Georgia Autism Plan visit

Former Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher 
Lectures to GaLEND Fellows 

                             Dr. David Satcher, Dr. Daniel Crimmins, and CLD Director of Interdisciplinary Training Mark Crenshaw, join GaLEND Fellows for a photo.
Dr. David Satcher (rear row, 6th from left), Dr. Daniel Crimmins (rear row 5th from left), and CLD Director of Interdisciplinary Training Mark Crenshaw (seated far right), join GaLEND fellows for a photo.

On December 7, David Satcher, MD,PhD, lectured on leadership in reducing health disparities to the 2012-13 GaLEND fellows.  His talk stressed the need to develop health care leaders with a strong focus on reducing health inequalities, including increasing access to health care services, creating social and physical environments that promote good health, and providing up-to-date information to minorities living in poverty.

Members of the GaLEND Program who attended the lecture left with vital tools that will further inspire their work with the populations they serve.  Reflecting on the event, Mark Crenshaw said, "I believe this LEND cohort gained a new appreciation for the role they can each play as we work to eliminate health disparities." 

Dr. Satcher is the 16th U.S. Surgeon General and current director of the Satcher Health Leadership Institute (SHLI) at Morehouse School of Medicine which is a GaLEND program partner. 

Applications for 2013-2014 GaLEND Program are available by visiting
The logo of the Georgia Inclusive Post Secondary Education Consortium

The GaIPSEC seeks to create opportunities for students who have historically not had access to post secondary educational opportunities. The group is committed to providing training and resources to achieve the goal of inclusive PSE opportunities for all. 

The Georgia Inclusive Post Secondary Education Consortium (GaIPSEC) held its 2013 Strategic planning meeting January 22nd at the CLD offices. The group set programmatic long term goals which included gaining the involvement of technical colleges, creating middle years PSE advisement, and adding 10 programs in the state of Georgia by the end of 2018.  The steering committee includes representatives from:

Center for Leadership in Disability
Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities(GCDD)
Cobb County Transition Academy 
Georgia Advocacy Office (GAO)
Kennesaw State University Academy for Inclusive Learning (KSU)
Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (GVRA)
Institute on Human Development and Disability (IHDD)

On the January 24th the GaIPSEC Statewide Consortium met to at the Lumpkin Center at Columbus State University discuss “What About Employment?”.  Tangye Teague from GVRA presented an overview of the organization's programs and services. Kari Cain, Employment Counselor for KSU, spoke about the career preparation component of the Academy as well as their collaboration with GVRA. Doug Crandell of IHDD spoke about outcomes for those who utilize supported employment services.

On the subject of the future of PSE programming in Georgia, Susanna Miller, CLD Community Support Specialist said, "Together with our partners, we have developed a comprehensive strategic plan for spreading the word about inclusive PSE and a plan for working with colleges and universities in Georgia to create pathways for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities to attend college. The support for this initiative is growing each and every day, and I’m excited to watch it unfold in Georgia."

The group of more than 40 people included teachers, transition specialists, college/university professors and staff, students with IDD, family members, and other stakeholders in PSE. 

GaIPSEC can be found on the web by clicking here or by visiting . 

Community Advisory Committee Member Spotlight

Debbie Gay and Georgia Team Attend IDEA Partnership

                                              Photo of Debbie Gay (in checkered coat), CAC member, with Patti Solomon, OSEP Director Melody Musgrove, Assistant Secretary of Education Michael Yuhdin, and Philip Mellor of GCASE.

  Patti Solomon, Melody Musgrove, Michael Yudin, Debbie Gay, and Philip Mellor (Pictured from left to right). Photograph by Daniel Crimmins

This January 14th-16th, CAC member Debbie Gay assembled a Georgia delegation to attend IDEA Partnerships meeting in Alexandria, Virginia. Team members included Dr. Daniel Crimmins, Director of CLD, Phillip Mellor, Director of Henry County School System and Patti Solomon, Family Engagement Specialist for the Georgia Department of Education.  Gay is the Director of Special Education Supports for the Georgia Department of Education. Meeting participants heard remarks from Melody Musgrove, Director of Office of Special Education Programs and Michael Yudin, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; both from the US Department of Education. " I was honored to be invited to attend as a Georgia representative," said Crimmins. Gay added, "I believe the networking and continued connections support our collective work."  

The IDEA Partnership is dedicated to improving outcomes for students and youth with disabilities by joining state agencies and stakeholders through shared work and learning.

For more information on the CAC including a list of members click here or visit 

Bethany Stevens Presents in the Institute of Public Health Grand Rounds 

                                          Bethany Stevens talk to audience.
                                          Bethany Stevens speaks to audience on health issues. 

Bethany Stevens, faculty member and policy analyst for CLD, presented Exploring the Contours of Sexual Health: Beyond Disease, Disaster, Dysfunction Model in the Institute of Public Health Grand Rounds. The talk, which took place on January 22nd, linked together the importance of communication about sexuality, social cognition theory, and innovative modalities for prevention of sexual health problems. Stevens' presentation discussed myths related to disability and what others can learn about sexuality from disability. She also explored the role of media representation in perpetuating misunderstandings about sexuality.

Public Health Grand Rounds is an interdisciplinary seminar series held on the first Thursday of each month of the semester. Speakers topics focus on key issues and challenges related to Public Health, For more information on this series visit

The Center for Leadership in Disability serves as a bridge between the University and community in support of evidence-based practices that improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families. The CLD is a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service (UCEDD), and operates within the Center for Healthy Development and the Institute of Public Health at Georgia State University. 
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