Press Release: College of Direct Support Expands National Advisory Board Focus to Improve DirectCourse Educational Training and Funding Opportunities


Diverse board represents broad variety of provider agency, research and quality entities

Philadelphia, PA, June 2, 2016 – Elsevier, a world-leading provider of scientific, technical and medical information products and services, in collaboration with the Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC/CL) at the University of Minnesota, have announced an expanded national advisory board (NAB) for the College of Direct Support (CDS). The expanded NAB has more broad-reaching knowledge of the changing federal landscape to better inform and guide CDS leaders on funding opportunities for DirectCourse educational programs targeted to direct support professionals.

“New standards for direct support professionals established by the CMS focus on improving quality services for individuals with disabilities,” said Amy Hewitt, Director, University of Minnesota RTC/CL. “By selecting a national advisory board that understands the changing federal landscape in this area, our goal is to enhance the quality of support services and provide a valuable workforce development tool to DirectCourse staff.”

In addition to providing input and recommendations to the University of Minnesota and Elsevier DirectCourse staff on topics including current trends in the field that could influence content development, content delivery systems and ways to improve the CDS product for better educational and training impact, the CDS NAB will also advise on how CDS can understand and work with Managed Care Organizations (MCOs) in offering DirectCourse evidence-based curricula that is aligned with CMS competencies for fee-for-service value-based care. DirectCourse designs curricula to train direct support professionals who provide services to individuals with disabilities.

“The trend toward value-based care is reflective of regulations that are impacting the states in terms of how direct support staff work with individuals with disabilities,” said Barbara Cullen, Vice President of Strategy and Product Development, Elsevier. “Our expanded national advisory board has the qualifications to keep us informed and responsive to the changing federal landscape and how services are funded and regulated.”

CDS board members and organizations include:

  • Mary Lou Bourne, Director of National Core Indicators and Quality Assurance, National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services
  • Valerie J. Bradley, President, Human Services Research Institute, American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD)
  • Lisa Burck, The Arc of Mississippi
  • Ann Cameron Caldwell, PhD., Ao Strategies
  • Kristine E. Foss, Managing Director, Disability Solutions, Beyond Disability
  • David Hancox, COO, Accra Care
  • Dorothy Hiersteiner, Project Coordinator, National Core Indicators/Human Services Research Institute
  • Carol Britton Laws, PhD, MSW, President, National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals, Co-Chair, Education, Training and Workforce Development committee, National Association of Direct Support Professionals (NADSP)
  • Colleen McLaughlin, Training and Consultation Specialist, The New Jersey Direct Support Professional Workforce Development Coalition: The Elizabeth M. Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, at Rutgers University
  • Andrea Misenheimer, Director of Regulatory Affairs, Cardinal Innovations Healthcare Solutions
  • Tia Nelis, Self-advocacy Specialist at Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, Institute on Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • India Sue Ridout, Workforce Development Manager, Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services (DBHDS)
  • May Kay Rizzolo, President and CEO for CQL, The Council on Quality and Leadership
  • Michael Smull, Partner & Owner, Support Development Associates, LLC
  • Peggy Terhune, Monarch, Executive Director/CEO, The Arc of the United States (ARC)
  • Ben Woodworth, Director of Training, Iowa Association of Community Providers

North Carolina is an example of one state where working with MCOs is creating a more efficient and comprehensive system for both direct support professionals and the disabled. Through a collaborative effort between three Medicaid MCOs in the state, a one-of-a-kind workforce initiative involving DirectCourse is providing cutting-edge training resources to their network partners to enhance the quality of member support services and provide a valuable workforce development tool for provider communities. The DirectCourse training curricula offered through the new workforce development collaborative are aligned with the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare (CMS) competencies adopted in a state waiver that takes effect in July.

Visit here for more information about the College of Direct Support.

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About the Research and Training Center on Community Living at the University of Minnesota

The Research and Training Center on Community Living provides research, evaluation, training, technical assistance and dissemination to support the aspirations of persons with developmental disabilities to live full, productive and integrated lives in their communities.

About Elsevier

Elsevier is a world-leading provider of information solutions that enhance the performance of science, health, and technology professionals, empowering them to make better decisions, deliver better care, and sometimes make groundbreaking discoveries that advance the boundaries of knowledge and human progress. Elsevier provides web-based, digital solutions — among them ScienceDirect, Scopus, Elsevier Research Intelligence and ClinicalKey — and publishes more than 2,500 journals, including The Lancet and Cell, and more than 33,000 book titles, including a number of iconic reference works. Elsevier is part of RELX Group plc, a world-leading provider of information solutions for professional customers across industries.

Media contact
Christopher Capot
Director, Corporate Relations
+1 917 704 5174


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