Once again, the 2021 annual report highlights accomplishments that would not be possible without our network partners. The continuing challenges faced during a year dominated by the pandemic and its surges, served as a daily reminder of the resilience and strength in a community that works together toward the greater good. Implementation of the START model continued to expand across the country (see map below), we now work with 27 states with others states in early development. Research and evaluation of the mental health aspects of intellectual and developmental disabilities and the START model influenced our practices, and the field at large, including several peer-reviewed publications. The National Research Consortium supported important new research initiatives to promote the well-being of people with IDD and mental health service needs, and federally funded research grant work continued and expanded. Professional development offerings, an important focus of NCSS, continues to expand in reach and scope. But is has not been easy as many social justice issues remain, and the world is in turmoil. However, as I write this introduction, I remain hopeful for a better future for all of us. We are paid to think, a luxury we can never take for granted. To paraphrase Maya Angelou, it is our mission to do the best we can until we know better, and when we know better, we must do better. This requires the inclusion of the voices of those most impacted by our efforts and the wisdom to learn from each other. Hope prevails, and we are in active pursuit of a better tomorrow.
Joan B. Beasley, PhD
Research Associate Professor
Director, National Center for START Services
Institute on Disability/UCED
University of New Hampshire