The Institute for Health Quality and Ethics
Thomas Nerney, Executive Director
Thomas Nerney has dedicated many decades to improving the lives of people with physical, medical, and developmental disabilities. His focus has been not only on best practices and quality, but also on the ethical foundations for decision-making — a consideration missing from too many public policy decisions.
Tom recently served as Director for The Center for Self-Determination, a national effort to work with states, individuals with disabilities, family members, and professionals to reform and implement the new health care and insurance provisions with a values-based self-determination perspective. He led the cross disability and aging alliance to create a reform agenda within the Center for Medicare and Medicaid services (CMS) directly with key CMS appointments and served on the Obama pre-election Policy Committee, providing advice on Medicaid and long term care reform.
He was also the Co-Director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s program entitled “Self-Determination for Persons with Developmental Disabilities,” a $7 million national program assisting states in transforming their service delivery systems into community support systems that facilitate persons with disabilities having control over the supports they need to live active and meaningful lives. The dual purposes included increased quality and in many cases reduced expenditures. Other roles have included Principal Investigator for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation project to determine changes in cost and quality of life for persons with disabilities when they gain control of the resources.
Other work consisted of writing, lectures, and involvement in research on public policy issues regarding persons with disabilities. Specific concerns included issues of cost reimbursement, including state and Medicaid funding, special education funding and practices, human rights and innovative practices in the field, redirecting Medicaid funds from institutional to community and family settings. He was also instrumental in creating and supporting amendments to the Rehabilitation Act regarding work incentives for those with significant disabilities, drafting the 1984 amendments to the Child Abuse Act, directing efforts to increase protections for human subjects and initiate general prohibitions against physically painful aversives for those with self-injurious behavior.
Other positions include: Executive Director of the Connecticut ARC; Founder of the Corporation for Independent Living, a not-for-profit group responsible for over $100 million in community housing for those with mental disability labels; Expert Consultant to the Assistant Secretary, U.S Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; Staff to the U. S. Senate Special Committee on Aging; Expert Consultant to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission on medical discrimination; Autism Society Director, Publisher and Editor of the Wallenberg Files; Consultant with the National Legal Services initiatives on medical discrimination; Unpaid advisor to Gannett News Service on disability issues; Resource to legal groups representing those with significant disabilities in several states; Keynote speaker and seminar leader at over 500 conferences and seminars before public and private public policy and disability groups across the country; Appeared on CNN, US News and World Report, NPR, and other media outlets; Authored numerous papers on quality and ethics in human services.
Tom was the recipient of a graduate fellowship in philosophy from Trinity College and a certificate in bio-ethics from Georgetown University. He was also one of the few who was awarded both the Kennedy Foundation Fellowship in Public Policy and the Mary Switzer Distinguished fellowship from the Institute for Rehabilitation and Research.
James W. Conroy, Ph.D.
Graduating cum laude from Yale University in 1970 with a BA in Physiological Psychology, Dr. Conroy began his career doing research on the impacts of the Developmental Disabilities Act of 1970. He received his MA in Sociology/Program Evaluation and Ph.D. in Medical Sociology and Economics from Temple University. He was Director of Research & Program Evaluation at Temple University’s Institute on Disabilities from its beginning until 1992.
He then founded, and continues to direct, the nonprofit Center for Outcome Analysis, devoted to the study and implementation of support models that produce the best outcomes. Dr. Conroy has directed more than a dozen longitudinal studies of the impacts of health care and human service programs, including moving from institutional and nursing home situations to community living, Medicaid’s health care, Waiver, and ICF programs, Medicare, and long term care systems. He headed the national impact evaluation on the individual outcomes of self-determination for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He has studied the nature of quality of life, particularly among citizens with disabilities, for several decades, and has been particularly interested in the size of homes and residential options. He has been responsible for more than 300 formal research reports to government agencies and foundations, as well as more than 30 articles in scholarly journals and 12 book chapters.
He has been, and is, particularly interested in cross-cultural health care economic and quality comparisons. This is an essential part of a full understanding of modern day health care reform in America.
His works have been publicized on CBS 60 Minutes, ABC Nightline, public television, public radio, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Chicago Tribune, and The New York Times.
Pat Carver is a distinguished advocate for individuals with disabilities. She currently serves as Executive Director of Community Drive, Inc. a Brighton, Michigan organization focused on developing and maintaining circles of support for individuals with disabilities in their communities, including training, curriculum development, and consulting . Prior to this role, Pat co-directed and founded a Michigan Academy on Self-Determination, where she served as a Consultant and Communications and Training Coordinator for the Center for Self-Determination.
Ms. Carver’s advocacy work also includes roles at the Association of Community Advocacy in Ann Arbor, MI, where she was State Coordinator of Michigan Partners in Policymaking, Project Director, Robert Wood Johnson Self-Determination for Washtenaw Community Mental Health; Coordinator for Special Community Projects, Inclusive Education Advocate.
For the Washtenaw ARC in Ann Arbor, MI Ms. Carver has served as Board President, Vice President, Treasurer, and Secretary; the Michigan Society for Autistic Citizens in Lansing, MI, as Executive Director and Coordinator of Community Affiliates. Ms. Carver has also worked with the Upper Pinellas Association for Retarded Citizens, Clearwater, FL; The U.S. Council on the International Year of Disabled Persons in Washington, D.C; and the Washington Communications Group.
Jean Bowen is a Founding Member and Consultant for the Dream Homes Community Center, a collaboration of four non-profits to stimulate housing and home ownership for underserved populations including individuals with developmental disabilities. She provided expertise during the expansion of the program to include serving individuals who are homeless and the management of the HMIS (Housing Management Information System) data system for the region, and organized the framework of this partnership and advised fiduciary ARC (Association for Religious Communities) on organizational structure, policy and human resource issues.
For 25 years, Ms. Bowen served as Executive Director of an advocacy group for individuals with disabilities, WeCAHR, in Danbury, CT, where she managed and directed the resources, funds, Volunteers, Board and Staff. Among other activities, Ms. Bowen managed specialized advocacy projects for residents at Fairfield Hills Hospital and Southbury Training School in Messier v. STS, and managed a Parent to Parent program, Inclusive and Special Education Parent Training, and assisted thousands of families with their special education school meetings.
During this time, she also developed and implemented policy and legislative initiatives including adding developmental disabilities to the CT hate crimes statute and changing the name of the Department of Mental Retardation to the CT Department of Developmental Services; served as State Advisor, People First of CT, Inc. to organize and develop the self advocacy movement in the state including providing leadership and training to 14 chapters; developed leadership and coordinated state activities; advised leaders in all areas of organization development; and provided support to achieve goals.
Other activities include acting as Chairperson, CT Conference of Executives of The Arc CT, an organization serving individuals with developmental disabilities; National Advisor to SABE, Self Advocates Becoming Empowered, the national self advocacy organization for persons with developmental disabilities, provided organizational support and training; organized, produced and developed a home ownership project, Stetson Place, Danbury, CT for 10 individuals with developmental and other disabilities. This cooperative project with the Housing Authority of the City of Danbury, The Corporation for Independent Living and WeCAHR was the stimulus for developing Dream Homes Community Center.
Ms. Bowen currently serves on the National Kidney Foundation of CT Advisory Board advising on policy and legislative issues. President Ex Officio, Board of Trustees, Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Danbury, CT.
Ms. Marron is one of the founding members of the Institute for Health Quality and Ethics. She has spent many years in the consulting industry working with executive teams of Fortune 1000 companies in North America, Europe, and Asia to develop and implement corporate strategies. She has worked extensively in the Healthcare Insurance and Financial Services industries, as well as in the Energy, Diversified Manufacturing, and Real Estate industries. Ms. Marron has also conducted executive workshops for corporate executives centered around identifying and sharing best practices. Her consulting work has emphasized designing and implementing customer driven strategies, benchmarking and incorporating cross-industry and cross-functional best practices, and implementing performance measurement systems which focus on customer value and ethical behavior while improving financial performance.