News from Around the Network.
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 July 2023 I Volume 8  I  Edition 7 

 AUCD Office News

Image of 6 people smiling in front
of the AUCD banner, 2 hold awards.

AUCD 2023: Scholarship Opportunities

The AUCD Conference brings together more than 1,200 researchers, policymakers, practitioners, professionals, advocates, community leaders, and students. The AUCD Conference continues to provide a reduced registration fee for students, individuals with disabilities, and family members of individuals with disabilities. Learn about the opportunities available this year and see if you are eligible to apply. 

Image of 6 people smiling in front of the AUCD
banner, 2 hold awards.

AUCD Welcomes Rodney Samaco, PhD as Chief Strategy and Business Development Officer

John Tschida, the Executive Director of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, announced today that Rodney Samaco, PhD has been hired as AUCD’s Chief Strategy and Business Development Officer (CSBDO). Dr. Samaco will serve in this key leadership role to develop new business models, procure resources, spearhead research initiatives and uncover new opportunities as part of AUCD’s Strategic Plan.

2023 AUCD Board Elections: Nominations Requested

AUCD is currently seeking nominations for the following positions to the AUCD Board of Directors, for a three-year term beginning in November 2023: Two (2) At-Large members. All nomination forms are due by COB on Friday,

September 1 to Liz Schneider at

 Network Recognitions

Dr. Dan (Dalun) Zhang

Oregon Health & Science University UCEDD co-Director Receives Honor

Dr. Melanie Fried-Oken was named a fellow of the International Society for Augmentative and Alternative Communication (ISAAC) at their biennial conference this July 2023 in Cancun, Mexico. Dr. Fried-Oken is a speech-language pathologist, clinical researcher and professor of neurology, pediatrics, biomedical engineering and otolaryngology at OHSU. 

Dr. Dan (Dalun) Zhang

UIC IDHD Faculty appointed to U.S. Dept of Transportation Advisory Committee

Yochai Eisenberg appointed by USDOT Secretary Buttigieg to Advisory Committee on Transportation Equity (ACTE). Appointees to the Advisory Committee are drawn from academia, the private sector, and the transportation industry. They include experts in community engagement, transportation planning, design, research, policy, advocacy, and diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA).

Dr. Dan (Dalun) Zhang

ICI Laura Bozeman Receives Award

Laura Bozeman, professor and graduate program director for Vision Studies, was presented with the Suterko-Cory Award in recognition of her international leadership, dedication to the profession of orientation and mobility, and distinguished efforts to improve services to individuals with a visual impairment.

Dr. Dan (Dalun) Zhang

ICI Staffer Appointed to MassCUE Board of Directors

Congrats to ICI's Lori Cooney who was recently appointed to a 2-year term on the MassCUE Board of Directors! Lori has been a long-standing member and contributor with MassCUE, having served as a Champion and 2012 MassCUE Pathfinder award recipient.

 Network News

Matt Miller Neurologist Beau
Ances, MD, PhD, talks with his patient, Adam Kloppenberg, who has Down syndrome, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Cognitive Function in Down Syndrome-associated Alzheimer's Focus of Grant

NIH-supported study lays groundwork for Alzheimer's clinical trials involving people with intellectual disabilities

Nearly every person with Down syndrome eventually develops Alzheimer's disease. Yet, people with the syndrome routinely are excluded from Alzheimer's clinical trials, with the help of an $11 million grant from the National Institute on Aging, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Associate Professor of Neurology Jason Hassenstab, Ph.D., from Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis IDDRC, is looking to address this. 

Screenshot image
of the homepage of the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health’s (AIR-P) Cureus website platform. The screenshot shows how to submit your research article. To show how to submit, a blue arrow is pointing to a button

A Resource Guide for Inclusive Postsecondary Education for Students with Intellectual Disability

This guide is designed to introduce you to inclusive postsecondary education (IPSE), or college options for students with intellectual disability (ID). In this guide, you’ll find everything you need to know about IPSE in an easy-to-read format, with helpful tips, information, and resources from the Think College website.

A colored pencil cartoon drawing a of a
doctor in a white coat in front of a yellow house. The title of the picture says, "What I would like to see in health care."

Healing Narratives: Sharing Art and Stories to Advocate for Change

The Art and storytelling can be powerful ways to advocate for change. The Healing Narratives project used participatory research as a way for people with IDD to educate their communities about how they should be treated by health care providers. 

Six staff in emergcy vests engaging in an
simulation activity during an event

Nisonger Center and DD Council Nursing Workforce Study Podcast

The Nisonger Center, in partnership with the Ohio DD Council, released a podcast on Spotify discussing our study of the DD Nursing Workforce Crisis.  The developmental disabilities nursing crisis affects individuals with DD and their families across Ohio. This episode features Mackenzie Burness and Stephanie Hosley of Ohio State University Medical Center, who will discuss the public health workforce crisis, their research, and what we can do. 

Center for Disability Resources School of Medicine Univerity of California

USM Initiative Expands Education, Career Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities

Mary Ann Taylor completed the USM Institute for Disability Studies’ (IDS) Higher Education for All pilot program at USM, which is now the RISE To The Top! Certificate, a four-year, eight-semester inclusive college program incorporating academics and employment preparation, leading to a certificate upon completion, for persons with intellectual disabilities. 

Twenty students in summer attire standing outsite of a summer camp.

IDS Holds Summer Academy for Youth and Young Adults with Disabilities

Since 2018, the Institute for Disability Studies (IDS) at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) has provided youth and young adults with a summer multi-week training and internship experience through its Transition of Teens to Adult Life (ToTAL) Program. The 2023 Summer Academy was the sixth year for this annual training event and the fourth year that a virtual option was included.

Twenty students in summer attire standing outsite of a summer camp.

UK Human Development Institute Photo Library

Stock photography lacks disability representation. The photos are often staged and use models without disabilities resulting in misrepresentation and unnatural scenes.  The UK Human Development Institute (HDI) created a library of 1000+ photos that you can download, share, and use to create and enhance visual and digital products, social media posts, and project websites.

Spectrum Scholars Melissa Gatti and Andrew Martin, and Spectrum Scholars Program Manager Wes Garton, smile for the camera.

Making an impact: the Delaware UCEDD’s Spectrum Scholars

Spectrum Scholars, a college-to-career program for autistic students that’s administered by the University of Delaware’s Center for Disabilities Studies, has turned out its first graduates.

A teach working with students in a classroom setting.

All of Us Research Program

Disability is a part of life for people in every community, but people with disabilities have not always been included in health research.
The All of Us Research Program is trying to change that. By joining All of Us, you can help researchers learn more about what may improve health for all of us.

 Emerging Leaders Voices

Eight silloutes

National Trainee Network Exchange: A virtual Leadership Opportunity

Want to learn more about fetal alcohol spectrum disorders? This is an opportunity for you! As an Exchange Trainee, you will get to participate in FASD diagnostic clinics, lectures, research, advocacy activities, and more! Does your state have clinics, lectures, meetings, or similar activities that you would like to offer exchange trainees? Become a Host State. See Flyer


A teach working with students in a classroom setting.

Project ENGAGE - Survey is Out: Looking for Participants!

Research participants wanted! Share your ideas about being included in a new type of health research! Project ENGAGE at the Syracuse University and Columbia University want to learn what adults with intellectual disability think about being included in a new type of health research. They will use what we learn to create new resources to help researchers include adults with intellectual disability in health research. They will ask adults with intellectual disability to: share ideas and experiences in a survey. / Flyer / Survey

A teach working with students in a classroom setting.

Request for Participation: S.H.A.P.E. (Supporting Helpful Accessible Person-Centered Environments) in Healthcare Study

S.H.A.P.E. (Supporting Helpful Accessible Person-Centered Environments) in Healthcare is a study from the Texas Center for Disability Studies at the University of Texas, Austin. They are looking for more participants to take part in the anonymous survey. Future participants can email questions to Larissa Minner at


Eight hands that have different
skin tones shaped around a globe.

Web Accessibility in Mind Conference

August 29-30, 2023, Virtual Conference

This virtual conference will provide participants with content to help enhance their practices in digital accessibility. Conference goals include: Hear from a diverse group of speakers. Share solutions to accessibility challenges. Give advice and guidance for contribution to more accessible digital spaces. Connect public and private sector technology professionals from large and small organizations.

Eight hands that have different skin tones shaped
around a globe.

Room to Grow: Journey to Cultural & Linguistic Competency Conference Theme: All of Us

Tuesday, September 19, 2023, Virtual

The conference brings national speakers to present on the latest research and practice related to addressing and reducing socially determined health disparities. The Room to Grow conference provides continuing education credits, and features interactive seminars for trainees, residents, students, faculty, administrators and community members.

Eight hands that have different skin tones
shaped around a globe.

People On the Go Conference

Friday, September 22, 2023, Baltimore, MD

People on the Go (POG) of Maryland, the statewide self-advocacy organization for those with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, is pleased to announce that on Friday, September 22, 2023, they will be holding their first in-person conference since 2019. 

Eight hands that have different
skin tones shaped around a globe.

2023 Del Monte Institute for Neuroscience & UR-IDDRC Symposium Uncovering the Mysteries of Intellectual & Developmental Disabilities: A Scientific Exploration

September 27-29, 2023, Rochester, NY

This symposium aims to bring together experts from diverse fields to discuss and debate the latest discoveries in neurodevelopmental processes across species, shedding light on the brain's systems-level function and dysfunction.

SOAR Conference 2023 To the stars through difficulty

24th Annual Chronic Illness and Disability Conference: Transition from Pediatric to Adult-Based Care

October 26-27, 2023, Houston, TX

In partnership with Baylor College of Medicine, AUCD is happy to offer all network members with discounts on registration for the October 27-28 virtual conference. Please contact the ITAC Team at for questions about the conference. 

SOAR Conference 2023 To the stars through difficulty

SOAR Conference 2023

October 27-29, 2023, Overland KS

The purpose of the SOAR Conference is to bring together self-advocates with intellectual and developmental disabilities from around the Midwest to exchange ideas and learn from each other about advocacy. 

Emerging Leaders Shaping hte Future

AUCD Conference 2023

November 5-8, 2023, Washington, DC

The AUCD 2023 Conference will be held November 5-8 in Washington, DC. This year’s theme of Emerging Leaders: Shaping the Future recognizes and focuses on the thousands of Emerging Leaders that we welcome to the AUCD Network each year and how they continue to propel our Network forward, positively shaping the future. Save the date and stay tuned for more updates via the Conference site. 


News items may be submitted for consideration via the AUCD 360 Submission page. Submissions are due by the second Friday of the Month.

AUCD | 1100 Wayne Avenue, Suite 1000 | Silver Spring, MD 20910

This newsletter is in part supported by the Administration on Community Living (ACL) through a technical assistance contract for the URC, Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) through a technical assistance contract for the ITAC, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for a National Professional Organization for Persons with Developmental Disabilities. The content of this material does not necessarily reflect the views and policies of any federal agency. No official support or endorsement by federal agencies is intended nor should be inferred.

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