ABOUT US >
NCHSD provides technical assistance based on a wide-ranging expertise drawn from staff members' years of experience in policy and program development.
Barbara Otto, CEO, Health & Disability Advocates
Barbara joined Health & Disability Advocates (HDA) in December 1994. Under her leadership, HDA has grown from a statewide coalition to a national resource for more than 500 organizations and state and federal agencies across the country. Barbara has an extensive background in health care policy and welfare to work issues. In 2001, she helped establish NCHSD. In addition to her work with HDA and NCHSD, Barbara serves as Adjunct Faculty with Cornell University’s School of Industrial Relations and Program on Employment and Disability as a State-to-State Systems Development Specialist. She also served as a consultant with the Virginia Commonwealth University providing technical assistance to states building workforce infrastructure for people with disabilities.
In 2010 she founded Think Beyond the Label, the first comprehensive disability hiring campaign since the “hire the handicapped” campaign of the 1970’s.
Barbara’s email is firstname.lastname@example.org and her phone number is 312-223-9600.
Melissa Turner, Project Director, HDA Consulting
Melissa worked with MIG grantees through the National Consortium for Health Systems Development (now HDA Consulting) since the program began in 2000. She coordinated this partnership of states working together on policy issues related to supporting the competitive employment of persons with disabilities, and facilitates a national forum for learning, dissemination and technical resources.
Critical to our work is a specific approach that reflects and responds to the unique public policy and labor market environment of each client. Formerly a policy analyst for Wisconsin’s major work incentives project, Pathways to Independence, Melissa has technical experience with state and federal work incentives regulations and legislation, federal waivers and programs to increase access to healthcare for workers with disabilities. Her past and present work also includes group facilitation, stakeholder involvement, policy development and program implementation.
You can email Melissa at email@example.com or call her at 312-925-3040.
Joe Entwisle, MS, Senior Policy Analyst
Joe began working for HDA and NCHSD in 2006, and provides technical assistance to states regarding policy and programmatic initiatives related to Medicaid and Medicaid Buy-In programs, SSI, Vocational Rehabilitation, benefits planning programs and technology, inclusive public policymaking, transportation and assistive technology. He previously worked on the Bridges to Work Project at the University of Wisconsin’s Waisman Center as a Senior Research Specialist and Policy Analyst with project development and management responsibilities. He also created and implemented the first automated comprehensive benefits offset software.
Joe was formerly the Executive Director of the Wisconsin State Independent Living Center, responsible for coordinating federal, state and local resources and implementation of the state plan for independent living. He has also worked for the state’s Department of Health and Family Services Pathways to Independence Project. Joe has valuable "field" experience as a benefits specialist/employment consultant, substance abuse mental health counselor, clubhouse counselor, and state Vocational Rehabilitation counselor.
Joe’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and his phone number is 312-401-3909.
Laura Wilhelm, JD, MSW, Staff Attorney and Policy Consultant
Laura has been an attorney with HDA since 2000 when she started as the Staff Attorney for Project Access, a medical-legal collaborative between HDA and two area hospitals that wrapped up at the end of 2004 and laid the groundwork for our successful permanent project, the Chicago Medical Legal Partnership for Children. The project helped families obtain the financial, medical, developmental and educational supports they needed for their medically complex infants and themselves. She has written and presented on Project Access and its findings at national research conferences, including the Society for Pediatric Research, the American Public Health Association, and the Internation Conference on Urban Health.
Laura is now using what was learned through Project Access to contribute to several other grants at HDA, especially our Think Beyond the Label disability employment project. Prior to HDA, she worked in Washington, D.C., as a staff to a member of Congress. She holds both a law degree and a Master of Social Work degree from Washington University in St. Louis, and a B.A. in Government from Georgetown University.
Laura can be reached by email at email@example.com.