HDI CAC Chair: Cathy Jo Edwards
HDI CAC Vice Chair: Jennifer Mynear
Dr. Kathy Sheppard-Jones received her Ph.D. in educational psychology from UK in 2002 and has worked with HDI since 1996. She previously served as training director for the institute. In that role, she built relationships with faculty and staff across colleges at UK and beyond. In addition to her director responsibilities, Sheppard-Jones is also principal investigator across a variety of grants and contracts around quality supports for people through the lifespan. She is currently an adjunct professor in the Department of Early Childhood, Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling.
Jennifer Crawford: My life completely changed after my son was born and diagnosed with a rare disorder. I was then exposed to a world I didn’t know existed. So, after learning about various programs available to families, the challenges of being the parent of a child with special needs, etc., I became involved with nonprofits and sit on the HDI council to hopefully make a positive change for the future.
Jennifer Mynear: Jennifer W. Mynear is a former LBD teacher who also is the parent of a young adult daughter, Claire, with Special Needs. She earned her undergraduate and masters degrees from the UK College of Education and is currently employed at Equipping Minds. She is also Chairman of her late son’s charity, Jarrett’s Joy Cart, serves as the Bluegrass representative of the KY Consumer Advisory Council, helped develop and continues as volunteer advisor to UK’s student-run DanceBlue, benefiting the KY Children’s Hospital Pediatric Oncology Program and serves as a founding member of the KY Children’s Hospital’s Development Council. She and her husband, Doug, also volunteer for the Fayette County Special Olympics program.
Camille Collins: I am Kentucky P&A’s agency representative on the advisory council. I have worked for P&A for 11 years and I am the current Federal Program Coordinator for three of our federal grants, including the Protection & Advocacy for Persons with Developmental Disabilities grant. Prior to working at P&A, I held different positions in waiver programs, including case management. I hold a B.A. in Psychology and M.P.H from the University of Kentucky. I live in Frankfort with my husband and two-year old daughter.
Claudia Johnson: With 34 years of experience in the field of intellectual disabilities, Claudia has worked for the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities for 14 years. Prior to that her experience was with the Texas Department of Health. Claudia has a variety of experience in both institutional and community settings. She serves as a state agency representative for the Commonwealth Council on Developmental Disabilities as well as the HDI Consumer Advisory Council.
Cathy Jo Edwards: Hello my name is Cathy Jo Edwards. I have been a self-advocate for 14 years. I have worn many hats throughout the disability field. I served with the Kentucky Self-Advocates for Freedom in different officer positions and I am a current member. I currently serve with Protection and Advocacy as their Chairperson. I am the Vice-Chair of HDI’s Consumer Advisory Council and I have served on the House Bill 144 Commission for 9 years. I have a home and I have a job. I advocate because I want to help people assist change about disability.
Lee Gordon: Lee Gordon lives in Louisville, KY. He has a bachelor’s of health science degree in health administration from the University of Kentucky and a master’s of public administration degree from Eastern Kentucky University. He has served as the Commission for Children with Special Health Care Needs Transition Administrator since 2001. Lee works with children, adolescents, families, and service providers to help Kentucky children with disabilities prepare to successfully transition from pediatric to adult health care, from school to work and from home to independent living. Lee is a quadriplegic as a result of a car accident that occurred when he was 18 years old. He is married and the father of a thirteen year old daughter.
Prema Rapuri: I am a biochemist with a Ph.D. in biochemistry. I moved to us in 1998 to pursue my postdoctoral fellowship in the area of osteoporosis. I have extensive research experience in this area and did some research in the area of breast cancer also. I resigned from my job to take care of my daughter with the goal of making her an independent member of our society.
MaryLee Underwood: MaryLee Underwood is the Executive Director of the Commonwealth Council on Developmental Disabilities. As the mother of a child with disabilities, MaryLee knows the challenges and blessings that families encounter. She joined CCDD’s staff in 2013 as the Public Policy Advisor, and helped facilitate the collaboration that created Kentucky’s first Caregiver Misconduct Registry. From 2001 to 2013, she served as Staff Attorney for the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs, and helped shape Kentucky’s anti-human trafficking laws and victim services systems. She also helped to create Project SAFE, a multi-disciplinary collaboration of disability-related advocates, victim service providers and criminal justice professionals dedicated to ensuring Safety and Accessibility for Everyone (SAFE). She is a graduate of the University of Kentucky, School of Social Work and the University of North Carolina, School of Law.
Alice Rhodes: Alice L. Rhodes (Allie) is a Doctoral Candidate in Special Education at the University of Kentucky. Areas of focus include assistive technology, moderate and severe disabilities, developmental disabilities and communication disorders. She is currently working as a research assistant at the Human Development Institute. She has earned a graduate certificate in developmental disabilities and won the 2014 Paul Kevin Burberry award at HDI. She is also an experienced special education teacher with thirteen years in the field.
Jessica Wolfe: Jessica Wolfe is a parent representative from Eastern Kentucky. She is the mother of 4 children with the oldest being born with Down Syndrome. Jessica has served on the CAC since December 2012. She attempts to be an advocate for all individuals with disabilities and assist with gathering information and resources to take back to the families and school districts in the rural areas of the Eastern part of the state. She works as a School-Based Physical Therapist in several Eastern Kentucky school districts and has attempted to bring awareness of HDI projects into those areas.
Elaine Brown: I am the parent representative from Paducah, Kentucky. I am the mother of 2 young adults, LaDashia and Rashad Brown. I have served on the Consumer Advisory Council for 3 years. I am a parent support provider for Family to Family with the Committee for Children with Special Health Care Needs. I also serve as a Board Member at Kentucky Spin.
Walt Bower: Walt Bower is the University of Kentucky’s Human Development Institute’s Pre-Service Training Coordinator. He coordinates practicum placements and Mentor Family matches for HDI’s Graduate Certificate students and facilitates Mentor Family panels and presentations on developmental disability topics and resources for the UK College of Medicine, UK Division of Physical Therapy, and other community-wide groups. He teaches HDI 603 – Interdisciplinary Supports Practicum in the Graduate Certificate in Developmental Disabilities. He also develops remote, live long-distance learning sites at other colleges, clinical settings, and rehab institutions across Kentucky for HDI’s Fall and Spring Seminar Series. In addition, he is responsible for providing resource linkage for UK employees on disability issues and receiving requests for resources for lifespan disability issues from individuals throughout the state of Kentucky.