National Center for START Services National Team
Joan B. Beasley, PhD
Director, Center for START Services
Director, National Research Consortium on Mental Health in IDD
Research Associate Professor, University of New Hampshire
Ph.D., the Florence Heller School for Advanced Graduate Studies in Social Policy, Brandeis University
M.Ed., Northeastern University
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
Dr. Joan Beasley, is a Research Associate professor, Director of the Center for START Services, and PI of the National Research Consortium on MH-IDD. She holds a Ph.D. in Social Policy from the Heller School at Brandeis University, and a Master’s degree in Community Mental Health Counseling from Northeastern University. Dr. Beasley is author of the START program, first implemented in 1988, and has worked to promote inclusion for all in the development of effective services for people with disabilities and their families for more than 35 years. START was cited as a model in the 2002 US Surgeon General’s Report on mental health disparities for persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities and in 2016 START was identified as best practice at the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine. START is researched and peer reviewed as an evidence based practice.
Top Signature Strengths: Creativity, Hope, and Fairness
Karen Weigle, PhD
Ph.D., Child Clinical Psychology, West Virginia University
Licensed Psychologist in the state of Tennessee
Co-Founder of the Chattanooga Autism Center
Dr. Karen Weigle is a clinical psychologist with over 25 years of experience working with people with Autism and other Developmental Disabilities and their families. As the Associate Director of the Center for START Services, she facilitates program implementation, provides expert training and consultation services, and conducts research. Dr. Weigle is also a founder of and clinician at the Chattanooga Autism Center in Chattanooga, Tennessee. She has extensive experience working as part of an interdisciplinary team and in several medical specialty clinics and wards, and has provided assessment and intervention services in a variety of contexts including in-home, school-based, clinic-based, agency-based, hospital-based, and community crisis response. She has previously directed or co-directed programs that provide services spanning East Tennessee and oversight of a large number of service providers. Dr. Weigle has experience in training family practice and medical specialty residents, special educators, community-based services providers, families, Early Intervention Specialists, and laypersons. Her teaching experience varies from undergraduate psychology courses to special education graduate-level seminars.
Top Signature Strengths: Love and Leadership
Jill Hinton, PhD
Ph.D., Psychology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Licensed Psychologist in the states of North Carolina & Virginia
Jill Hinton, Ph.D. is a Clinical Psychologist with over 30 years of experience working with people with intellectual disabilities, autism spectrum disorders, and mental illness. Her experience with The Arc of NC, Autism Society of NC, EastersealsUCP and the NC Council on Developmental Disabilities includes direct clinical work, organizational leadership, clinical consultation, and policy work.
As the Clinical Director of The Center for START Services, Dr. Hinton provides consultation and training to START teams across the country and facilitates a monthly practice group for START Clinical Directors. She currently serves as Project Manager for New York START and California START where she supports development and implementation. Through the Clinical Director Practice Group, she leads discussion on emerging and best practices and how they relate to the START model. She is co-chair of the AUCD MHIDD SIG which seeks to enhance understanding of mental health in IDD and promote best practice. Areas of particular interest include Autism Spectrum Disorder and trauma in IDD.
Top Signature Strengths: Perspective, Fairness
Andrea Caoili, LCSW
Director of Quality Assurance & Research, Center for START Services
Director of Operations, National Research Consortium on Mental Health in IDD
Adjunct Professor, University of New Hampshire
M.S.W., University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of North Carolina
Andrea Caoili is a licensed clinical social worker with more than 15 years of experience in field of mental health. She is the Director of Research and Quality Assurance at the Center for START Services and is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Social Work at UNH. In her work with CSS, Andrea oversees and supports START programs with meeting model fidelity and program certification, and in collaboration with Dr. Beasley, oversees the research and evaluation activities of the Center. Andrea has experience in practicing and training other clinicians in wellness-based, positive interventions for persons with IDD. She is also interested in applied and participatory research in IDD/MH and measurement development.
Top Signature Strengths: Love, Judgement, and Perspective
Bob Scholz, MS
Director of Resource Center Services
M.S., Mental Health Counseling, Salem State College
Licensed Mental Heath Counselor in the State of Massachusetts
Bob joined the Institute on Disability in 2011 after working as the Director of Residential Services for a large human services company in Massachusetts. Bob has worked to develop cutting-edge residential services to individuals with significant medical and mental health disabilities as well as developing unique services focused on end of life care for individuals with Downs Syndrome and dementia. Working closely with Dr. Joan Beasley in Massachusetts, Bob was instrumental in the development and operation of the first START Services model in Massachusetts, and would later help to operate the Sovner Center a community mental health clinic specializing in progressive treatment for individuals with intellectual disabilities and mental health issues. Bob brings over 25 years of human services, clinical, and supervisory experience to the Institute on Disability.
Top Signature Strengths: Kindness and Leadership
Anne LaForce, MA
Director of Therapeutic Coaching
M.A., Clinical Psychology, North Carolina Central University
B.A., Psychology, Kent State University
Anne La Force is a clinical psychologist with over 20 years of experience working with adults, adolescents and children with developmental disabilities and co-occurring mental health disorders. As a Project Manager and Director of Therapeutic Coaching, Anne provides consultation and training to START teams across the country and facilitates monthly practice groups for Therapeutic Team Leaders and Clinical Directors. Anne has experience in practicing and training other clinicians in crisis prevention and intervention, implementation of positive psychology approaches, assessment of biopsychosocial factors and trauma informed care practices.
Top Character Strengths: Love, Fairness, Leadership
Ann Klein, MA
Director of Evaluation and Outcomes
M.A., Human Services Administration, Rider University
B.A., Political Science and German, University of Michigan
Ann joined the Center for START Services in 2013 after working as the Director of Outcomes and Evaluations for a System of Care network in Cincinnati, OH. Ann has over 12 years of experience in the mental health and developmental disabilities service systems in both Ohio and New Jersey, including work on a government advisory council on disability issues and work on a New Jersey Governor’s Initiative program to help prevent the institutionalization of children with multiple disabilities. Her experience is mainly in the area of program outcomes and evaluation, but also includes work in program development, licensure compliance and quality assurance activities.
Top Signature Strengths: Love and Judgement
Beth Grosso, MSW
Director of Training & Professional Development
M.S.W., University of New Hampshire
B.A., University of New Hampshire
Beth joined the Institute on Disability in 2015 as the Training Coordinator for the Center for START Services having previously served as a NH START Clinical Team Leader at a local developmental services Area Agency. Beth has experience in service coordination, outpatient mental health therapy, training development and delivery, program evaluation, and leadership. In her current role as the Director of Training & Professional Development, Beth oversees the CSS training and professional development department, ensuring the quality and rigor of training and professional development offerings by the Center for START Services.
Top Signature Strengths: Humor and Kindness
Jenee' Lewis-Walker, PsyD, LCP
Director of Child Mental Health Services
PsyD, Child and Adolexcent Clinical Psychology, Regent University
MA, Clinical Psychology, Regent University
MA, Community and Clinical Psychology, Norfolk State University
BA, Special Education and Psychology, Elizabeth City State University
Dr. Walker’s clinical experience includes working with children, adolescents, and adults from a variety of ethnic, genders, ages, and socioeconomic backgrounds, providing services such as psychological assessment, psychotherapy, and research design. She has worked in a variety of clinical settings such as mental health clinics, residential treatment facilities, detention centers, and outpatient private practice. Dr. Walker has also worked closely and consulted with local and other state agencies on improving the quality of care of mental health services as well as providing trainings on a variety of subject matters such as behavioral management, trauma-informed care in the juvenile justice system, and systemic consultation with children and adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities. With a cognitive-behavioral therapeutic approach, Dr. Walker has practiced in the private setting for the past 8 years as a clinical psychologist in Hanover, VA.
Program Development Lead
Master's Degree, University at Buffalo, Humanities - Interdisciplinary with concentration of Disability Studies, 2014
Bachelor's Degree, University at Buffalo, Psychology and Sociology, 2009
Maya joined the Center for START Services in 2021. Prior to joining the National team, Maya directed the Region I START Program in New York State and was inspired by the innovative supports and network surrounding people with disabilities through the START model. Her experience in Developmental Disabilities, Mental Health, direct care, case management, community education/outreach and leadership has contributed towards her continued dedication in the field.
Top Signature Strengths: Love, Honesty, Fairness
Kristal Garcia, LMSW
Program Development Lead
MA, New Mexico State University
Licensed Master Social Worker, Texas and New Mexico
Kristal Garcia is a Licensed Master Social Worker in the state of Texas and New Mexico. She received her master’s degree from New Mexico State University in 2013. For over a decade, Kristal has worked to promote quality mental health services for people with IDD/MH and their families. In 2018, Kristal received the START Clinical Team Leader Award for excellence in clinical leadership on a START team.
Master of Divinity (MDiv), Wesley Theological Seminary
BA, Communication Studies, Louisiana State University
Samantha joined the Center for START Services at the IOD in April 2021 as a Senior Program Support Assistant and now serves as the Grant Manager of a 5-year PCORI research project. She has worked in the nonprofit and corporate spheres in office management, market coordinating, customer service, and event planning. Samantha has also worked in Higher Education, most recently as a recruiter in the admissions office at Wesley Theological Seminary in D.C. She lives in Manchester, NH and enjoys exploring the White Mountains with her wife and two dogs.
Jennifer McLaren, MD
Chief Medical Advisor, Center for START Services
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
Medical Director, New Hampshire Bureau of Developmental Services
MD, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey: Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
Jennifer McLaren, MD, is an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame, her medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and completed a residency in adult psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center. Dr. McLaren’s clinical practice focuses on caring for children, adolescents and adults with autism and neurodevelopmental disabilities. She serves as the director of the Autism Program and the director of the Developmental Disabilities Clinics at Dartmouth and provides educational opportunities for medical students, residents, and continuing medical education focused on caring for people with developmental disabilities.
Jarrett Barnhill, MD
M.D., Wake Forest University School of Medicine
Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association
Fellow of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
L. Jarrett Barnhill, MD, is a professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and founding director of the UNC Program on Neurodevelopmental Psychiatry. Dr Barnhill was the 2008 recipient of the Frank J Melanoscino Award from NADD and the 2012 Melanoscino award from the American Psychiatric Association. He played a major role in the development of the Diagnostic Manual for Intellectual Disability (DMID), serving on the International Advisory Board and section coordinator for the section on Childhood and Adolescence. He is a co-editor of the Diagnostic Manual-Intellectual Disability-2. Dr. Barnhill served on the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Committee of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Dan Baker, PhD
Associate Project Facilitator & Trainer
PhD, Educational Psychology, University of Minnesota
Dr. Dan Baker serves as a Project Facilitator & Trainer at the Center for START Services and as the Positive Supports Compliance Specialist with Quality Assurance and Disability Compliance Services at the Minnesota Department of Human Services. At MDHS, Dr. Baker is involved with the design, development, and monitoring of treatment programs to align with the Positive Supports and a person-centered culture. Dr. Baker's clinical focus is on positive behavior support, models of community and educational support, transition services, and mental health services for people with disabilities.
Jillaine Baker, LCSW
Associate Director of Quality Assurance
Jillaine Baker is a licensed clinical social worker with over 12 years of experience working with individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities in various capacities. Prior to joining CSS, she was the Director of NC START Central and prior to that, a coordinator with the North Carolina team. Jillaine has experience practicing and training within the field of Mental Health and IDD, with emphasis on crisis response, systemic collaboration, positive psychology and program development. She also holds a Master of Theological Studies, where she focused her research on theology and disability. In her spare time Jillaine is trying to begin a L’Arche community in North Carolina. This is a worldwide organization that provides intentional community living for individuals with and without I/DD.
Top VIA Strengths: Honesty, Love, Leadership
Alyce Benson, LCSW
Associate Project Facilitator
MSW, BSW, University of Tennessee, Knoxville
Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Tennessee
Alyce Benson is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 18 years experience working with adults, adolescents, and children with developmental disabilities and co-occurring mental health disorders. She received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Ms. Benson specializes in working with individuals who present complex behavioral, medical, and psychological issues, and has extensive experience working in numerous community-based settings and with numerous interdisciplinary teams. She has provided seminars at both national and international conferences for NADD and AAMR. She is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and National Association for the Dually Diagnosed.
Top Signature Strengths: Hope and Fairness
Associate Project Facilitator
Demetra Grigley is the Assistant Director of NC START West who supports all team members in any way possible while also building the capacity of the system by providing trainings and linkages. Demetra is an original NC START West team member who has had the opportunity to grow as a professional in multiple roles throughout the years with the START team. Demetra had many opportunities to be a part of many firsts with NC START. North Carolina was the first state to implement START services state wide. The first coordinator to be certified and the opportunity to be a part of the first endeavors as a job coach for newly hired START coordinators. Before joining the START team, Demetra spent five years providing direct care and leadership roles in residential settings with adults who had an Intellectual Developmental Disability and mental health needs, identifying and obtaining PERMA in individuals lives unknowingly at the time.
Melanie Hecker, MPA
Research and Training Associate
MPA, Policy Analytics Methods, University at Albany (SUNY)
BA, Public Policy & Management, University at Albany (SUNY)
AS, Human Services, Hudson Valley Community College
Melanie Hecker is a person with lived experience who is a lifelong disability advocate both personally and professionally. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University at Albany with a concentration in Policy Analytic Methods, a BA in Public Policy and Management from the University at Albany, an AS in Human Services from Hudson Valley Community College. Previously, Melanie has served as the Systems Advocate at Youth Power of Families Together in New York State, Graduate Policy Intern at the New York State Council on Children and Families, Policy Intern at Disability Rights New York, and Intern at Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley. Independent Living Center of the Hudson Valley awarded Melanie their Beacon Leadership Award in 2019. Melanie is a lifelong resident of Albany, NY.
Top Signature Strengths: Perseverance and Loyalty
Luke Kalb, PhD
Chair, START Research Committee
Chair, National Research Consortium on Mental Health in IDD
Ph.D., Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloombert School of Public Health
M.H.S., Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloombert School of Public Health
B.A., Psychology, University of Baltimore
Luke is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Neuropsychology and the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at the Kennedy Krieger Institute. He also serves as Co-Chair of the START research committee. Dr. Kalb’s research focuses on improving mental health outcomes among vulnerable populations, with a particular focus on youth and individuals with a developmental disability. His primary research interests involve understanding the phenomenology, epidemiology, and treatment of mental health crises. His research portfolio also extends to assessing the effectiveness of community-based mental health programs, psychometrics and measure development, developing methods to address selection bias, and use of health information systems and emerging technologies to improve clinical care and research methodologies.
Christy L. Prophete, MFT
Associate Project Facilitator
M.S., Marriage & Family Therapist, NOVA Southeastern University
B.S., Family, Youth & Community Sciences (F.Y.C.S), University of Florida
Christy is a Marriage & Family Therapist with over 10 years of experience working in the mental health field. She is informed in evidenced based practices including Cognitive-Behavioral therapy, Narrative Therapy, and Solution Focused Brief Therapy. She is also trained to practice in several therapy approaches including individual, family & group therapy and is versed in in-depth biopsychosocial assessments. Christy joined the START network in February of 2017 as the START Therapeutic Coaching Team Leader for NC START west team. She has worked passionately to develop the START therapeutic Coaching branch in the North Carolina western region. To ensure a successful collaboration during the program growth, Christy has and continue to train and educate team members, coaches, and families on fundamentals of the STC program. Christy uses her unique and creative leadership techniques based on positive psychology practices to effectively serve families and team in the mental health and IDD community.
Top Signature Strength: Leadership, Creativity, Gratitude
David O'Neal, MS, LMHC, MHP
M.S., Psychology, Western Washington University
B.A., Psychology, University of Washington
As a Department Manager of Specialized Services at Sound mental health in Seattle, WA, I manage all IDD services and agency wide Vocational Services. Our Community Networks Program consists of a 30 person, interdisciplinary staff team involved in the provision of mental health, vocational, chemical dependency, solution based systemic problem solving, and case management for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Monitor, facilitate and fulfill contracts with county and state divisions of mental health, substance abuse, and developmental disabilities. Our Vocational Team, SoundWorks, is integrated into all mental health clinical teams and those 10 individuals oversee Supported employment for all SMH clients.
Top Signature Strengths: Zest and Social Intelligence
Ginny Reding, LPC, LMFT
Outcomes and Evaluation Support Specialist
Ginny Reding is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Arkansas with over 10 years experience working with individuals, families, and groups in the mental health field with an emphasis on family systems models. Ginny worked as a Team Leader with the Arkansas START program from 2014 to 2019 and joined the New Hampshire START program as a consultant in 2019. With the NH START program, she provides Quality Assurance, case Coordination, and Coordinator Coaching. Ginny is the President Elect for the Arkansas Counseling Association and served as their secretary from 2018 to 2020.
Top VIA Character Strengths: Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence, Gratitude, and Judgment
Sara Stanton, MA, NCC
CSS Project Facilitator/Training Content Specialist
MA, Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
BS, Psychology, University of Pittsburgh
Sara brings over a decade of experience supporting individuals through behavioral health crises in a variety of environments. Her passion for collaboration is evidenced by her experience both coordinating and presenting community trainings over the years. Sara has experience both with the direct implementation of START practices as well as in leadership. Sara joined the START network in 2014 working as a START Coordinator in the NC START East program. Sara transitioned to the Clinical Director position for the NC START East program in August 2020 and joined the Center for START Services as a Training Associate in July of 2021. She began her current role as CSS Project Facilitator/Training Content Specialist in December 2021. In this role, Sara supports model fidelity through direct engagement with programs and facilitates the delivery of trainings to the START network.
Top Strengths: Love, Kindness, Social Intelligence
M.B.A. Wake Forest University
B.A. Psychology University of North Carolina - Charlotte
B.S. Finance University of North Carolina - Charlotte
Andrea is a training and development professional with over 15 years of experience developing, coordinating, and facilitating in-person and online training initiatives. Before moving to New Hampshire, Andrea-worked as the Industry Liaison for the College of Business at Delaware State University, where she built partnerships with corporations to secure internships and job opportunities for undergraduate students. She also developed a career-readiness program and taught undergraduate Management courses.
Top Signature Strengths: Love, Spirituality, Love of Learning
B.S., Business Administration, SNHU, Manchester, NH, 2018
B.A., Elementary Education, Yaroslav Halan College, Ukraine, 1999
Mila was born in Ukraine and moved to the United States in 2002. Having worked in the non-profit sector (New Hampshire Health Care Association), as well as in both large and small companies and corporations (Fidelity and U-Haul), Mila brings a vast array of skills to the IOD in the areas of finance, customer service, office administration, vendor management, reporting, analysis, contract management, event planning, and many others. Mila is married, and lives in Hillsborough, NH with her husband and daughter—a future Environmental Science graduate at UNH. Mila's top signature strengths are humor, honesty, and perseverance.
Contract and Finance Administrator
Diann Joined the IOD in 2010 as a part-time adjunct managing IOD’s fee for service contract billing. As the demand for the IOD’s Consulting Services expertise grew, Diann’s breath of work experience in Contract Administration, Financial Reporting and Reconciliations and General Accounting (Receivables and Payables) was a perfect fit for the growing role. Among other positions, Diann served as a Commercial Construction Lending Contract Administrator and Property Manager in the Mortgage and Banking Industry, held several Financial Reporting and Finance Administration positions in the Private Sector, Sales and Corporate New Business Development in the Hospitality Industry, in addition to working as an Independent Contractor providing Bookkeeping services.
Top Signature Strengths: Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence, Creativity, and Judgement
START Online Events & Website Coordinator
B.A. English Education, University of New Hampshire
Shannon joined the Institute on Disability in 2011 after working in educational assessment for a decade. Prior to the IOD served as a coordinator at an early childhood literacy program for NH Reads through Americorps*VISTA and was a paraprofessional & co-teacher for a special needs preschool/kindergarten in Wakefield, NH. She earned a BA in English and Teaching from the University of New Hampshire.
Top Signature Strengths: Creativity & Judgment
BS, Bates College
Lindsay joined the Center for START Services at the IOD in 2016. As communications coordinator, she develops and implements the Center’s communication and marketing strategies.