Corban is the project coordinator and lead trainer for the Basic ACRE certification. He has a Masters in Educational Psychology. He has been conducting a variety of trainings for local community rehabilitation providers for over five years.
Discovery and Customized Employment
Tricia has over 20-years of experience working with people with disabilities. In 2011, Tricia collaborated to craft the Employment First Language for Utah and has focused on capacity building and systems change efforts to increase the number of people employed and included in their local communities. Tricia is the Training Coordinator for the Customized Employment Training and is also the project director for Utah's School to Work Inter-agency Transition Initiative funded by the Administration for the Employment Systems Change grant. She is the co-state lead for Utah's partnership with the Office of Disability Policy's Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Program. Tricia was the recipient of the National Association of Persons Supporting Employment First (APSE) Dave Hammis Award.
Kelie Hess has been working with people with disabilities for 15 years. For the past 6 years she has managed the Utah School to Work Project, a statewide system change initiative. This initiative focuses on cross-system collaboration for improving competitive, integrated employment outcomes for transition age youth with significant support needs. This initiative uses Customized Employment as method for exploring employment for individuals who benefit from an alternative approach to employment. She has been with the Institute for Disability Research, Policy, and Practice for 3 years and was at the Division of Services for People with Disabilities prior. Kelie also has a background in Independent Living services.
Improving Access to Mental Health Care Services for Autistic People in Utah
Dr. Michelle McKnight
Dr. Michelle McKnight (PI) is currently an assistant professor in the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling at Utah State University. She is also the Executive Director of Aggies Elevated, an Inclusive Post-secondary Education program that serves individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID). Michelle has a professional background as a special educator, a rehabilitation counselor, and mental health professional. She has provided training across the nation to various types of mental health professionals (and law enforcement) regarding how to provide services to individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and/or ID. Dr. McKnight is passionate about educating providers about ASD/ID so that individuals can find competent mental health care when they are in need.
Dr. Trenton (Trent) Landon
Dr. Trenton (Trent) Landon (Co-PI) is presently the area chair for the rehabilitation counseling program in the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation Counseling at Utah State University. Dr. Landon worked for seven years as a vocational rehabilitation counselor in a state agency, where he worked with individuals with all types of disabilities. The mental health needs of individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities are one of his current areas of interest, particularly lack of access and a lack of mental health providers with specific training on how to work with people with autism and/or intellectual disabilities. Dr. Landon currently serves on the board of the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC).
Lindsay Thunell, MRC, CRC, ACMHC (Utah), is a mental health counselor with the Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling clinic at Utah State University. She serves a variety of clients, focusing on persons with chronic illness/health conditions and developmental disabilities such as autism, intellectual disability, and ADHD. Prior to her clinical work, Lindsay spent four years with Aggies Elevated, Utah State University’s inclusive postsecondary education program for students with intellectual disabilities. Her research interests include the intersection of mental health and intellectual/developmental disability, inclusive postsecondary education for individuals with intellectual disabilities, and self-determination and self-efficacy in young adults with disabilities.
Multicultural Disability Network and Training: Strengthening Community Integration and Practices
Eduardo Ortiz Ph.D. is a Senior Research Associate at the Research and Training Division (R&T) of the Institute for Disability Research, Policy, and Practice (IDRPP) at the College of Education of Utah State University (USU) having 15+ years of research and training working on multiple projects at the local, state, regional, and international levels with families, organizations, and individuals with and without disabilities. He has had the opportunity to work with many different communities and minority cultures such as Latinos, Native American, persons with disabilities, refugees, veterans, migrants, and others as part of his work at the CPD-USU. Some of his learnings included the importance of a) building trusting relationships with stakeholders in Participatory Action Research (PAR) activities, b) recognizing the complexity of race/ethnicity and diverse cultural factors, c) emphasizing family strengths approaches and listening carefully to diverse voices. In addition, community service has been another important area in which Eduardo has invested much of his time and efforts working/volunteering with schools, multicultural organizations, national disability agencies, local government, among others.
Mindy Dokos completed her Masters degree from Utah State University in Human Development & Family Studies with an emphasis in Adulthood & Aging in 2019. She has enjoyed working with social media, multimedia creation, and ensuring online accessibility through her work at the IDRPP since then. Mindy is passionate about meeting the needs of individuals with disabilities of any kind. She has experience working in a variety of human services positions and enjoys getting to know and connecting with others.
Sarah Baker received her Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies in 2021. She also studied Marketing and Linguistics while attending Utah State University. She enjoys her work as a Staff Assistant at the Institute for Disabilities Research, Policy and Practice and appreciates the opportunities she has to participate in projects like this. She loves to help others succeed and loves that her job lets her do just that. Please reach out to her with any questions you may have.
Social Emotional Learning Tools for Parents and School Professionals
Elizabeth Gerke currently manages adolescent prevention and positive youth development projects at the Utah Department of Health, including the Personal Responsibility Education Program, Sexual Risk Avoidance Education program, and Social-Emotional Learning Interagency Outreach Training Initiative. This work includes services to many diverse populations, such as youth and families involved in systems of care, youth with special needs, and rural and tribal communities.
Elizabeth received her bachelor’s degree in Speech Pathology and Communication Disorders from Brigham Young University, and a Master’s of Public Health degree from the University of Utah. She has worked with early intervention programs in inner-city Washington, DC; special services in Utah public K-6 schools; and women’s health, sexual health, family health, and adolescent health programs at the Utah Department of Health. Elizabeth has expertise in teaching, training, and conducting research and quality improvement projects in a variety of settings, including international projects in Chandigarh, India.
In her spare time, Elizabeth enjoys traveling, hiking, boating, camping, cooking, and spending time with her spouse and their two dachshunds, Gidget and Penny. She is the favorite aunt to seven nieces and five nephews, ages 20 to 1 year.
Sarah Schafer, MPH, works for the Youth & Family Outreach Program at the Utah Department of Health and Human Services. Sarah currently works on the Personal Responsibility Education Program, the Sexual Risk Avoidance Education program, and the Social-Emotional Learning Interagency Outreach Training Initiative. Through this work, Sarah is able to promote improved adolescent health and well-being across the state.
Sarah received her graduate degree in public health from Boston University, with a certificate in maternal and child health. Sarah has loved working with adolescents from diverse backgrounds over the past ten years, in both community and school settings. Sarah has expertise in positive youth development, working with youth in afterschool settings, convening community partners, and continuous quality improvement.
In her spare time, you can find Sarah reading, playing roller derby, playing softball, or hanging out with her two dogs.
Utah Pyramid Model Statewide Implementation
Sue Olsen, MEd., is the director of the Division of Services at the Institute for Disabilities Research, Policy & Practice. She has over 35 years of experience in state and local programs providing services under the Individuals with Education Act, Part C as a service provider, Baby Watch state compliance officer, and a Part C contractor for two rural/frontier early intervention programs.
Janel Preston, BS is the project coordinator for two ECHO projects, Utah’s Project SCOPE and the IDRPP Early ECHO. Additionally, Preston has been the Utah’s Act Early Ambassador for 6 years, and the PI for the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Act Early Response to COVID-19 state initiative. Ms. Preston and has been an ASD specialist for the Up to 3 early intervention program at the IDRPP for the past 20 years.
Curt Phillips, PT, PhD has over 20 years of experience in serving infants and toddlers in the early intervention program (Up to 3) at the IDRPP, Utah State University. He is a licensed physical therapist with expertise in interdisciplinary team identification and treatment of children with various childhood disabilities and delays. He has worked on numerous grants and projects in his 20+ years at the Institute and is currently the evaluator for two ECHO projects supported through the IDRPP at Utah State University. Dr. Phillips is currently adjunct faculty in the USU Special Education and Rehabilitation Department.
Janeal Dugmore, BS is the IDRPP Division of Services business manager and has 10+ years providing budget oversite and invoicing for project payments. She received her Bachelor's Degree in Business from Utah State University in 2006 and began working for South East Early Intervention in December 2016. Janeal recently completed a 2nd Bachelor’s Degree in Communicative Disorders and Deaf Education.