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Panelists for Women with Disabilities; Leading the Way to Quality Health Care

Eileen M. Healy (moderator) is the executive director of Independence Northwest (IN) which was one of the first centers for independent living in the country to offer services to people living with HIV and AIDS. In partnership with the Western Connecticut Area Agency on Aging, IN has formed an Aging and Disability Resource Center for northwestern Connecticut. She began her career in Independent Living (IL) as a volunteer peer counselor and was subsequently an IL advocate, senior counselor/advocate, and assistant director before becoming an executive director of Independence Northwest: Center for Independent Living of Northwest Connecticut, Inc. in 1988.  Healy has served as the chairperson, secretary, and treasurer of the Connecticut Association of Centers for Independent Living. She has served as the designated representative from Connecticut’s Centers for Independent Living to the State Independent Living Council and is currently their president. She also chairs a sub-committee on increasing centers’ technological capacity and improving data collection procedures. Healy has been an instructor with Cornell University on two national technical assistance projects - IL: Direct Service Personnel and Strategic Planning for Centers for Independent Living. She was a lead instructor for a three-day Peer Counseling Skills Training at Assumption College.

Monika Mitra is an assistant professor of family medicine and community health at the University of Massachusetts Medical School (UMMS) and a research scientist at the Center for Health Policy and Research, Commonwealth Medicine, UMMS. For more than a decade she has been researching health disparities between persons with disabilities and the general population as well as the epidemiology of secondary conditions among persons with disabilities. More recently, she has published on the health issues of women with disabilities during pregnancy and on physical and sexual violence against men and women with disabilities. Mitra is also principal investigator for a Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development grant focused on the health needs and barriers to perinatal care for women with mobility disabilities. Prior to joining University of Massachusetts, Mitra worked at the Office on Health and Disability at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. 

Sacheen Nathan received her medical degree from Albany Medical College in New York State.  She completed residency training in obstetrics and gynecology from New York Medical College at Metropolitan Hospital in New York City. She has completed a family planning fellowship in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Boston University School of Medicine and received her master’s of public health at Boston University School of Public Health. Currently Nathan is the co-director of the Fellowship in Family Planning at Boston University and director of The Kenneth J. Ryan residency training program. She is also an executive board member of the Black Women’s Health Imperative, Washington D.C. Her areas of interest are family planning, healthcare policy, medical education, and women with disabilities.

Molly Rees Gavin is president of Connecticut Community Care, Inc. (CCCI). CCCI, a statewide nonprofit care management organization, serves over 12,000 individuals and their families through the Department of Social Services Connecticut Home Care Program. Care Management Associates (CMA), a division of CCCI, serves private clients and individuals supported by the Connecticut Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Gavin is president of the National Academy of Certified Care Managers (NACCM). She serves on numerous boards including the Board of Directors for the Alzheimer’s Association, Connecticut Chapter, and the Board of Directors for the Institute for Senior Living Education. She is also a member of the State of Connecticut Long Term Care Advisory Council, the Executive Committee, Connecticut Elder Action Network, and the University of St. Joseph Department of Social Work Community Advisory Board.  Gavin is licensed to practice social work in Connecticut.  She is a diplomate in clinical social work, an industry-recognized certification that highlights professional commitment and expertise in the application of clinical social work practices and continued professional development for clinical social workers. She received a master’s degree in social work from Rutgers University and a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford, Connecticut.