The Lurie Institute for Disability Policy

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University

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News Archives 2015


The Lurie Institute welcomed Monika Mitra, PhD and Lauren Smith, MPH, both of whom joined the institute on December 1st.  Dr. Mitra has been hired as an Associate Professor, and Ms. Smith has been hired as a Research Associate.  


We are delighted to share the Fall 2015 Heller Social Policy Impact Report, which explores some of the important work being done at the Heller School.  Look to pages 6, 15 and 23 for more information about specific Lurie Institute engagement in publications, grants, and presentations.


Jonathan Stein, LLB was the featured speaker at the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy's Annual Distinguished Lecture on Tuesday, November 10th in the Zinner Forum at the Heller School.  The title of his lecture was "Supplemental Security Income for Disabled Children: Policy Successes and Travails Along a Circuitous Path". Mr. Stein has spent his career as an attorney at Philadelphia's Community Legal Services engaged in advocacy in various fields affecting low income children and adults, including reforms of the Social Security and Supplemental Security Income disability programs; employment discrimination against people with disabilities; access to utility service; access to low income health insurance; free school meals reforms; housing civil rights litigation; and childhood lead paint poisoning prevention.  A reception followed the lecture.


The Lurie Institute  received a five-year grant to support its disability policy postdoctoral research fellowship program funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research. Fellows will work on the intersections of disability and health.


The efforts of Marji Erickson Warfield, PhD '91, director of the Nathan and Toby Starr on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and former Lurie Institute fellow, Morgan Crossman, PhD '15, to improve primary care for adults with autism were featured on the Heller School's website highlighting work being done at Heller to advance health equity.


Susan Parish, director of the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy, spoke with BrandeisNOW in July about The Americans with Disabilities Act: 25 years later.


 Lurie Research Assistant, Ilhom Akobirshoev, successfully defended his dissertation, "The Impact of Parental Health Insurance on Health Outcomes and Health Care Utilization for Insured Children." Dr. Akobirshoev still works at Lurie, previously as a postdoctoral fellow, and now as a Senior Research Associate. 


Sarah Dababnah, PhD, from the University of Maryland, presented "Parent-Reported Barriers to Services for Children with Autism in the West Bank" on June 29th at the Heller School.


Melanie Gomes '16, Ruthann Hewett '16, Kathryn Semerau '17, and Kim Zayhowski '16 were been selected as the 2016 Ruderman Social Justice Scholars in Disability Policy.


The critically acclaimed movie, "Anita," was presented by the Lurie Institute on March 31st. This film is about a remarkable young woman with Down Syndrome whose life was tragically disrupted by the 1994 bombings of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association. A panel discussion about Down Syndrome followed the presentation of the film.


 Lurie Institute's Research Associate, Leah Igdalsky, was named to The Arc's Committee on Diversity.


The Lurie Institute was delighted to co-sponsor Brandeis Buddies "Spread the Word" Coffeehouse on March 5th. It was a night of slam poetry, speakers, a cappella, and more!  The performances centered on raising awareness for ending use of the R-Word, as well as general sensitivity for people with developmental disabilities and the stereotypes that cloud them in society.  The event was featured in a recent article in The Brandeis Hoot.


Susan Parish traveled to Northern Ireland to present a talk on Family Caregiving for Children and Adults with Intellectual Disabilities in the United States at Queens University in Belfast on February 25th.


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