Our staff is composed of researchers, advocates, students and other professionals who are dedicated to developing, disseminating and identifying resources for parents with disabilities, their families, and those who work with them. 

Michelle Techler, Project Director

Michelle Techler

Project Director

Michelle Techler is the Assistant Director for the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy. She received a BA from Bates College, an MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College, and has studied at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College. Currently, Michelle is attending the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College, where her areas of interest include digital inclusion and equity; intellectual freedom; and the role of public libraries as catalysts for social justice. Prior to joining the Lurie Institute in 2011, Michelle worked in the field of non-profit arts management for several years, most notably at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. She remains actively involved with local arts organizations.
Kerry Patenaude, Project Coordinator

Kerry Patenaude

Project Manager

Kerry Patenaude is a doctoral student in the individually-designed interdisciplinary Educational Studies program at Lesley University.  Her areas of interest include Disabilities Studies, Public Policy, and Transitions. Kerry has worked with students with disabilities of all ages in a variety of contexts for over 25 years, including as a mother. Most recently she served as the Assistant Director of Disability Services & Support at Brandeis University for six years and prior to that she was the Assistant Director of Student Support Services at Boston University School of Medicine.  Kerry is very excited to make the transition from direct services to the research and policy side of disability work.
Finn Gardiner, Communications Coordinator

Finn Gardiner

Communications Coordinator

Finn Gardiner is a Master of Public Policy candidate at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management. He is an experienced disability advocate specializing in intersectional disability justice and accessible technology. His work has involved extensive experience with communications for nonprofits and government agencies.

Eun Ha Namkung

Postdoctoral Fellow

Eun Ha Namkung, Ph.D., MSW, is a postdoctoral associate at the Lurie Institute of Disability Policy. Her research interests center around health and well-being of individuals with disabilities as well as their family caregivers over the life course. She is particularly interested in examining social and environmental determinants of health disparities among these vulnerable population. Most of her recent work examines the family relationships and physical and mental health outcomes among families of an adult child with intellectual/developmental disabilities or serious mental illnesses. Her current research projects include investigations of (1) mental and physical health status, (2) social and economic determinants of health, and (3) policy or environmental effects on health among parents with disabilities using population-based data. Prior to joining Brandeis, Dr. Namkung was a researcher in Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs (KIHASA). She has received her Ph.D. in Social Welfare from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her MSW from Washington University in Saint Louis.

Lauren Smith, Research Associate

Lauren Smith

Research Associate

Lauren Smith is a Research Associate with the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy. She received her MPH from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She has extensive experience implementing public health policy research studies using a variety of research methods. The extent of her experience includes every aspect of the process from grant writing and submission all the way to dissemination. She is currently coordinating two NIH R01 studies about pregnancy and disability; one focuses on women with physical disabilities and the other on women with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Her research interests include health disparities and dissemination. Prior to joining The Lurie Institute, Lauren worked at UMass Medical School in the Center for Health Policy Research, Disability, Health and Employment Policy Unit.
Anne Valentine, Research Associate

Anne Valentine

Research Associate

Anne Valentine, MPH, is currently a fourth year doctoral candidate.  Her research interests include mental health and substance use services research; healthcare disparities; social and behavioral determinants of health status; behavioral economics and obesity. Prior to matriculating at Brandeis, she was the project manager for the NIMH Center for Advanced Mental Health Disparities at the Center for Multicultural Mental Health Research. 
National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities