Biographies of Board of Directors
Leigh Broughan, MA, BCBA, is a Board Member of ASAT and Chair of the Fundraising and Development Committee. She is an Assistant Clinical Director at Little Star Center in Indiana, where she supports children with autism and their families. Leigh received her undergraduate degree in Special and Elementary Education from Providence College, followed by a Master’s degree in Applied Psychology at New York University. In addition to her professional experience working with children with autism, she is a proud sister to two younger siblings with autism.
David Celiberti, PhD, BCBA-D, is the part time Executive Director of ASAT and Past-President, a role he served from 2006 and 2012. He is the Co-Editor of ASAT’s newsletter, Science in Autism Treatment He received his PhD in clinical psychology from Rutgers University in 1993. In 2000, in response to the increasing number of parents attending professional conferences to learn about applied behavior analysis, he founded the Parent-Professional Partnership Special Interest Group (www.autismpppsig.org) for the Association for Behavior Analysis International. After serving as their President from 1998 through 2006, he is currently the Co-President. Dr. Celiberti currently sits on a number of advisory boards in the field of autism and early childhood education, and organizes fundraising initiatives to support after school programming for economically disadvantaged children in New Jersey. He works in private practice and provides consultation to public and private schools and agencies in the U.S. and Canada. He authored several articles in professional journals and presents frequently at regional, national, and international conferences. In prior positions, Dr. Celiberti taught courses related to applied behavior analysis (ABA) at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, supervised individuals pursuing BCBA and BCaBA certifications, and conducted research in the areas of ABA, family intervention, and autism.
Preeti Chojar, MCA, has been a Board Member of ASAT since 2007 and currently serves as Co-Chair of the Website Committee. She is a software professional and, when her son was diagnosed, she had no knowledge of autism. She set about educating herself by attending numerous conferences, asking questions and reading as many books and articles as possible. She worked hand in hand with the team at her son’s preschool. She has used her software skills, innovative thinking and her commitment to her son to develop and carry out an unrelenting path forward for him. Her level of involvement and commitment to science-based treatment has sustained over the years.
Ruth Donlin, MS, is a Board Member of ASAT and Fundraising Lead. She is a consultant in private practice based in New York, and has provided consultation to schools, agencies, and home programs for children and adults on the autism spectrum for 19 years. She has completed the course requirements for a PhD in Clinical Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute and is completing her dissertation. She presents on a variety of topics such as managing challenging behaviors, using visual supports, team dynamics, and social skill development at conferences regionally, nationally, and internationally. Ruth is Past-President of the Autism Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Association of Behavior Analysis International.
Elizabeth Gibson Dyer, MA, CCC-SLP, has been a member of the ASAT Board of Directors since 2006. She and her husband are the parents of three daughters, the middle of whom has Down syndrome. As a licensed and certified speech-language pathologist, she is dedicated to science-based interventions. Having been in practice since 1994, she is the owner of a business providing speech-language pathology and occupational therapy services in Maine. Her areas of primary interest include Down syndrome, autism and dual diagnosis, as well as intellectual disabilities. Betsy is also in her third year as a special education director in Maine and will be completing the certification requirements for superintendent of schools in June 2013. In her spare time she enjoys spending time with family, sailing on the ocean, skiing, traveling and reading.
Daniela Fazzio, PhD, BCBA-D, is ASAT’s Secretary and Co-Chair of the Board Affairs Committee. She received a Master’s degree in Behavior Analysis from Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo, Brazil, and a doctoral degree in Psychology from the University of Manitoba, Canada, where she is an Adjunct Professor. After 10 years working in Manitoba, where she was Clinical Coordinator for the province’s Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) program, she has recently relocated to California, now serving as Clinical Director at Trumpet Behavioral Health. In Canada, Dr. Fazzio has researched EIBI outcomes and self-instructional training, edited the newsletter of the Manitoba Association for Behavior Analysis (MAB) and chaired the MABA Conference Committee.
Sabrina Freeman, PhD, is a Board Member of ASAT. She graduated from Stanford University in 1995 with a PhD in Sociology, specializing in small group research and the study of organizations. Upon return to Canada, Dr. Freeman spent 14 years advocating for the rights of children with autism to be included in the government funded health care system for autism treatment. Dr. Freeman created a 35-minute VHS/DVD Autism: Now What Do I Do? to help guide parents through setting up science-based treatment programs for their children. In 2002, she was awarded Queen Elizabeth's 50th Golden Jubilee Medal for advocacy work done on behalf of children afflicted with autism. Dr. Freeman's advocacy culminated in the now famous Supreme Court of Canada ruling Auton (Guardian ad litem of) vs. British Columbia in 2004. Dr. Freeman wrote several books on autism, translated into French, Italian and Norwegian. Her hope is that through her scholarship, thousands of parents will not have to go through the uncertain journey of generations of parents of newly diagnosed children. Dr. Freeman also writes a blog (http://www.autismpundit.com) designed to help parents and professionals navigate through current issues in the area of autism. She is the parent of an adult daughter with autism.
Sara Gershfeld, MA, BCBA, is special educator and has been a member of the Board of Directors for the Association for Science in Autism Treatment since 2010. She holds a BS in Neuroscience and Psychology from Scripps College and a Master’s degree in Applied Developmental Psychology from Claremont Graduate University. Sara is expected to graduate with her PhD in Applied Behavior Analysis in May 2014. She has been an instructor for the Applied Behavior Analysis department at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and is a guest speaker on subjects ranging from teaching social skills, inclusion, parent training, technology, evidence-based interventions and effective interventions for children on the autism spectrum. Sara and has been published in a number of publications such as Autism Spectrum News and Forbes.com. Since 2002 Sara has worked with children on the autism spectrum. She specializes in assessing behavior programming, creating technology-based interventions, self-injurious behavior and social skills development. Sara is the founder of LoveMyProvider, a concierge website where special needs families can find the best autism service providers that other parents and professionals trust.
Peggy Halliday, MEd, BCBA, is a Board Member of ASAT. She is the Director of Outreach Training and Supervision at the Virginia Institute of Autism (VIA) in Charlottesville, Virginia, where she oversees all community and school workshops and trainings for parents and professionals. She also oversees BCBA and BCaBA training experiences. Peggy has been a practitioner at VIA since 1998. In addition to serving as a presenter at state and national conferences, including the Organization for Autism Research (OAR) and Commonwealth Autism Service (CAS), Peggy was selected as an autism expert for the “how-to” website monkeysee.com. She began serving as a Consumer Liaison for the Parent Professional Partnership Special Interest Group of the Association of Behavior Analysis International (www.autismpppsig.org) in 2004.
Barbara Jamison, BA, has been a Board Member of ASAT since 2009 and is the lead for Media Watch, an initiative addressing misleading information in public media and acknowledging accurate portrayals of autism and autism treatment. As a parent of four children, including an adult son with autism, Barbara has demonstrated a long-term commitment to science-based treatment, both in intervention for her son, as well as in instruction to parents and professionals through an agency serving children with autism and their families. She is a graduate of Partners in Policymaking, a competency-based advocacy and leadership training program.
Mary E. McDonald, PhD, BCBA-D, is ASAT’s President and Co-Chair of the Public Relations Committee. She is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Counseling, Research, Special Education and Rehabilitation (CRSR) at Hofstra University, where she teaches in the Special Education Program and directs the Advanced Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis, an approved BACB course sequence. In addition to her role at the University, she also directs The Eden II/Genesis Outreach Autism Center in which she supervises outreach, consultation and research programs. She has nearly 20 years experience directing programs for students with autism from early intervention through adulthood. She completed her PhD in Learning Theory at the CUNY Graduate Center and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Doctoral level. Dr. McDonald is the current President of the Association for Science in Autism Treatment (ASAT) and serves on the boards of Council on Autism Services (CAS) and Council for Exceptional Children (CEC). Dr. McDonald has published articles in areas such as self-management, social reciprocity, response to intervention, inclusion and the use of technology in educating students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Her current research interests include using technology to increase social skills in individuals with ASD.
Daniel W. Mruzek, PhD, BCBA-D, is a Board Member of ASAT. He is an Associate Professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), Division of Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. He received his doctoral training in Psychology at the Ohio State University. Through his appointment at URMC, he serves as a clinician and consultant, training school teams and supporting families of children with autism and other developmental disabilities in western New York. Dr. Mruzek is also the Director of the University of Rochester Human Behavior Assessment Unit, researcher on three NIH-funded autism intervention research projects, and coordinator of his division’s Psychology Postdoctoral Fellowship Program in Developmental Disabilities. He has authored and co-authored several peer-reviewed articles and book chapters on autism and other developmental disabilities and is on the editorial board for the journal Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities. In addition to duties as a Board Member of the Association for Science in Autism Treatment, he is the Science Corner editor for ASAT’s Focus on Science newsletter, and active in the Media Watch initiative. He joined the ASAT Board in 2009.
Scott M. Myers, MD, FAAP, is Board Member of ASAT. He is a Neurodevelopmental Pediatrician with the Geisinger Health System in Danville, PA, where he maintains a busy clinical practice and conducts clinical research. He is also a Clinical Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Temple University School of Medicine and Faculty Associate in the Neuroscience Program at Bucknell University. Dr. Myers trained in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities at the Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and is board-certified in Pediatrics, Neurodevelopmental Disabilities, and Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics. He is also a member of the Advisory Board of the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts (APBA). He previously served on the Executive Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on Children with Disabilities and is co-author of the 2007 AAP Clinical Reports on the identification/evaluation and management of autism spectrum disorders. He is associate editor of the textbook American Academy of Pediatrics Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics (Voigt RG, Macias MM, and Myers SM, 2011) and author or co-author of numerous peer-reviewed journal articles and textbook chapters on autism and other developmental disabilities.
Joshua K. Pritchard, PhD, BCBA-D, has been a Board Member of ASAT since 2009 and is the Co-Editor of ASAT’s newsletter Science in Autism Treatment. He is an Assistant Professor at the Florida Institute of Technology, Applied Behavior analysis. He received his doctoral training in Behavior Analysis at the University of Nevada, Reno and now lives in Orlando, Florida. In addition to training graduate students in behavior analysis, Dr. Pritchard consults internationally with groups to help in design of autism treatment centers and behavioral graduate programs. He is passionate about the dissemination and inclusion of science in all decision-making.
Florence D. DiGennaro Reed, PhD, BCBA-D, is ASAT’s Vice-President and Board Affairs Committee Co-Chair. She is an Assistant Professor at the University of Kansas and Director of the Performance Management Laboratory. She received her doctoral training at Syracuse University followed by completing a pre-doctoral internship at the May Center for Child Development and Center for Neurorehabilitation and a post-doctoral fellowship at the Institute for Child Development. Dr. DiGennaro Reed is a researcher who studies effective and efficient training practices and the outcome of quality services for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. She has also received foundation grants to conduct training for parents of children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Dr. DiGennaro Reed has authored and co-authored numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters. She is also editing two books related to autism service delivery. She has served on the editorial boards of Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Behavior Analysis in Practice, Journal of Behavioral Education, and School Psychology Review.
Dena Russell, MS, has been a member of the ASAT Board of Directors since 2012. She was the first graduate of ASAT's 150-hour externship program, and currently sits on the Fundraising and Development Committee. Dena has a B.A. in Psychology and a M.S. in Criminal Justice. In 2011, Dena started the Hoboken Special Needs Parent Group as a way to connect families with resources and increase special needs activities within her community. As a mother of twin boys on the Autism Spectrum, Dena is a strong believer in science-based treatments and the mission of ASAT.
Tristram Smith, PhD, a Board Member of ASAT and Chair of the Scientific Review Committee. He is a Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), where he leads federally funded studies comparing the efficacy of different interventions for children with autism spectrum disorders. He is also a clinician in URMC’s Community Consultation Program, serving students with ASD and other intellectual disabilities in schools and other agencies. His commitment to the study and treatment of children with ASD began in 1982, when he had the opportunity to volunteer as a buddy for an adult with autism who lived near his college. This experience inspired him to apply to graduate school at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied clinical psychology and worked as a therapist and researcher with O. Ivar Lovaas, PhD, in the UCLA Young Autism Project. Before moving to Rochester in 2000, he directed clinics for children with autism and their families in the states of California, Iowa, and Washington. He has authored or coauthored several of the most widely-cited studies on treatment outcomes for children with ASD.
Bridget A. Taylor, PsyD, BCBA-D, is a Board Member of ASAT. She is the co-founder and Executive Director of Alpine Learning Group. She has specialized in the education and treatment of children with autism for the past twenty-five years. She holds a Doctorate of Psychology from Rutgers University, and received her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education from Columbia University. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a Licensed Psychologist. Dr. Taylor is active in the autism research community and has published numerous articles on effective interventions for autism. She serves on several editorial boards including the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and Behavioral Interventions. She is also a member of the Autism Advisory Group for the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, is a board member of the Association for Science in Autism Treatment, and serves on the Professional Advisory Board for the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts. Dr. Taylor is also Senior Clinical Advisor for Rethink Autism, an innovative web-based curriculum for children with autism.
Barbara Wells is ASAT’s Treasurer. She is the Conference Director at Autism New Jersey, a nonprofit agency committed to ensuring safe and fulfilling lives for individuals with autism, their families, and the professionals who support them. As the Conference Director she is responsible for the agency's annual conference, which hosts 70 workshops and draws more than 1,400 attendees. She serves on the Board of Directors of STRIVE Community and is currently pursuing a degree in Nutritional Science. Barbara is the parent of an adult with autism.