National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities


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. 

Photo of Miriam Heyman, Lurie Senior Research Associate

Miriam Heyman

Project Manager

Dr. Miriam Heyman, PhD, is a Senior Research Associate at the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy, where she serves as Project Manager for the National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities. Miriam began her career as a Special Education Teacher in the New York City Public Schools, and while teaching she earned a Master's Degree in Special Education from the City University of New York. Miriam received a PhD in Applied Developmental and Educational Psychology from Boston College, where she focused her studies on individuals with disabilities and their families.

Her research interests reflect a lifespan approach to disability and mental health; her research has explored characteristics of the early childhood home and family environment that promote positive development for children with disabilities, the development of executive functioning and adaptive functioning, the early childhood education context, the influence of toxic stress on developmental outcomes, and factors that predict positive employment outcomes for adults with intellectual disabilities.

Miriam is also an adjunct faculty member at Boston College, where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in psychology. Miriam comes to the Lurie Institute from the Ruderman Family Foundation, where she oversaw the development and implementation of the Foundation's portfolio in disability inclusion and mental health.

Jennifer Lee-Rambharose, Research Associate

Jennifer Lee-Rambharose

Research Associate

Jennifer Lee-Rambharose is a Research Associate at the Lurie Institute, working with the National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities and the National Center for Disability and Pregnancy Research. Her research interest is deeply connected to her passion for disability justice, independent living philosophy, and her long-time commitment to understanding the lived experiences of persons with disabilities. Jennifer holds a dual Bachelor's degree in Health Science, Society, and Policy and American Studies from Brandeis University and a Master's Degree in Disability Studies from the City University of New York. She is a former Ruderman Fellow and a graduate of the Myra Kraft Transitional Year Program at Brandeis.

After completion of her Bachelor's, she served as a Systems Advocate where she worked to improve systems change, advance access, promote community participation, and support community inclusion of all persons with disabilities. Jennifer is a proud individual with a disability, a former intern for the American Association for Persons with Disabilities, a former Youth Leadership Network participant, and past Thrive mentor. For years, she has worked tirelessly to bring a disability perspective to the table and has devoted her professional career to promoting independent living philosophy, grassroots advocacy, systems advocacy, and community engagement. Her work has successfully led to the expansion of community-based support programs, increased architectural accessibility, and to successful policy change.

Before joining Lurie, Jennifer served as a consultant with the Community Living Policy Center where she engaged in a national field-study on home- and community-based services. She also worked for Stavros where she served as the Coordinator of Independent Living Services. At Stavros, she pioneered and directed strategies to advance service delivery of the Independent Living Department, aided in department improvements, evaluated program efficiency, and supported successful service delivery to meet the needs of persons with disabilities. In addition to these endeavors, she also served as the Vice Chair for the Massachusetts Statewide Independent Living Council where she supported the implementation of the State Plan and supported the work of the network of centers.

Jennifer is passionate about intersectionality, disability justice, and uplifting the voices of all persons with disabilities. The motto, "Nothing about us without us," has shaped her work as a manager, advocate, and researcher. Jennifer is excited to join Lurie, where she will have an opportunity to blend her passion for advocacy and research.

Nicole Lomerson

Research Associate

Nicole Lomerson, MPH, is a Research Associate II at the Lurie Center for Disability Policy. She earned a Master of Public Health from the University of Michigan School of Public Health in Health Behavior/Health Education, with an emphasis on maternal child health. Prior to joining the Lurie Institute’s National Research Center on Parents with Disabilities, Nicole was an independent consultant in the areas of hospital access, reproductive health care access, disabled parenting, general physical access and accessible recreation.

Nicole has a particular interest in the needs of disabled parents in the NICU, and in developing the best methods to support those parents so they can care for their babies during what is often the most vulnerable time in the life of a family. She has spoken both nationally and internationally about the experiences of disabled parents who have had a baby in the NICU. Prior to her consulting work, Nicole was a health services researcher at the University of Massachusetts Chan School of Medicine, specializing in Medicaid home and community-based services, durable medical equipment, and systems change. She is a former Advisory Board member for the National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities, and currently serves on the Family Engagement Leadership Team of the Neonatal Quality Improvement Collaborative of Massachusetts (neoQIC).

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.