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, PhD

Project Director

Dr. Miriam Heyman 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.

Finn Gardiner, MPP'18

Communications Coordinator

Finn Gardiner is the Lurie Institute’s Communications Specialist. He is a disability rights advocate who is primarily interested in accessible communications, intersectional disability justice, inclusive technology, and equitable access to community resources including education, employment, and health care. Throughout his work, Finn combines disability advocacy, policy analysis and research, and written and visual communications through policy briefs, original reports and white papers, and contributions to research projects. His research and advocacy interests include education and employment for autistic adults, comparative disability policy, inclusive technology, LGBTQ cultural competency, and policy that takes into account the intersections between disability, race, LGBTQ identities, class, and other experiences. He holds a Master of Public Policy degree from the Heller School and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Tufts University. Finn also serves as a member of the Board of Directors at the Human Services Research Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to research and policy advocacy benefiting people with disabilities and seniors.

Eun Ha Namkung

Postdoctoral Fellow

Eun Ha Namkung, PhD, 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 received her PhD in Social Welfare from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and her MSW from Washington University in Saint Louis.

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