It is an honor for me to serve as one of the Action Team member to support AUCD efforts to aid the disability community in addressing disparities in health, education, service, training and leadership. My personal mission is to bridge gaps across personal/organizational cultures so that information, resources, services and supports are equitable for all. It is also important support efforts to identify and discuss issues regarding unserved and underserved populations and to impact national policies and initiatives relevant to achieving and sustaining cultural and linguistic competence and cultural diversity within the AUCD network, LEND and its partners. I would like to see greater participation of families of children and adults with disabilities, self-advocates, and the next generation of leaders from diverse and underrepresented communities involved in improving practices and targeting policy that can help address disparities among people with DD/ID.
On a professional level, I have been fortunate to experience multiple roles at the Center for Development & Disability for over 16 years. I have worked with young children, youth, and young adults with disabilities, their families, and communities throughout New Mexico in many settings including health, therapeutic, early intervention, public school and university settings. As program manager of several clinical and community based programs, I have worked to improve systems of care and education through collaboration of family, community and state efforts particularly in rural Native American communities. Currently, as a speech-language pathologist I provide clinical services, training, technical assistance. I also represent the speech-language pathology discipline on the faculty team for NM LEND. Through these roles, I continue to expand my work in cultural competency through LEND and the Center. I look forward to working with the Action Team to address disparities in access and outcomes, to promote innovative practices in cultural and linguistic competency, and to increase leadership roles for individuals from underrepresented populations. It is important that we address challenges at the intersection of disability and diversity such as race/ethnicity, age, geographic region, LGBTQ, limited English proficiency, and SES. I believe this team will be instrumental in advancing equity, inclusion, and diversity for individuals with developmental disabilities across the life span.