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DDC Members

Current DDC Members

  • Anjie Shelby, Chair of the Council and Co-Appointee (auxiliary member) on the Mayor's Commission for Persons with Disabilities, [email protected]
After 30 years in retail and customer service, received a bachelor’s degree in business administration and management from The University of the District of Columbia. In October 2019, received a Certificate of Completion from the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Certification Program. Currently serving as Appointed Community Member Commissioner/Chairperson of the DC Developmental Disabilities Council, were served on the Executive Board since the Covid-19 pandemic. Also, Interim Vice Chair of the DC Commission on Persons with Disabilities and Administration Assistant for The Linner Foundation.

Bernard Crawford is a prominent disability rights advocate in the District of Columbia. Mr. Crawford participates in several working groups, is regularly asked to speak at various conferences, and is a certified trainer for the People Planning Together program at the Learning Community for Person-Centered Practices. He is a DC’s first Next Chapter Book Club member and enjoys participating in Special Olympics.


Andres Alejandro (pronouns: he/they) is a disability justice activist based in Washington, D.C. Alejandro is grounded in ensuring the spaces in which we survive, resist, and thrive become accessible, equitable spaces of healing, belonging, and liberation (this includes, but is not limited to establishing a policy that supports community reparations and spreads awareness about clinician-associated traumatization and its neurophysiological effects).


  • Andrew Phillip Reese, Representative of a State Agency - DC Department on Disability Services, [email protected]

Andrew Reese was appointed Director of the Department on Disability Services (DDS) on September 2, 2016.  A licensed clinical social worker and an attorney admitted to the bar in the District of Columbia and Maryland, Mr. Reese previously served as the Deputy Director for the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA).  He joined DDS in 2011 as Deputy General Counsel and represented RSA on matters of legal sufficiency, development of regulations and policies, and negotiation of memoranda of understanding with other District agencies. 


  • Anna Pilskaya Dunn, President, Health Services for Children with Special Needs Inc. and Vice President, Children’s National Hospital, [email protected]

For the past three years, as a President of Health Services for Children with Special Needs Inc. (HSCSN), Anna Dunn has been leading the health plan strategic direction and performance for developing and implementing business strategies consistent with the organization’s mission. She has ensured compliance with established objectives and the realization of quality, economical healthcare services. Anna has built a framework for addressing access and advocacy by developing culturally and person-centered processes, policies, and standards to produce effective clinical outcomes, strong financial performance, and exemplary membership satisfaction. HSCSN is a local non-profit organization focused exclusively on improving the health and quality of life of children and young adults with complex needs who reside in the District of Columbia. The mission is to coordinate innovative, high-quality, community-based care for individuals with complex needs and their families. Anna’s efforts at HSCSN are focused on providing excellent service to the families of more than 5,000 children with special needs in the District of Columbia, including babies born to HSCSN enrollees and youth in the custody of DC’s Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS) and Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA).

Since 2012, Anna has served on the HSCSN board and various committees of HSCSN and its parent organization before she joined as HSCSN’s leader in 2020. Anna is an accomplished leader with 20+ years of healthcare experience across multiple industries, including payor, provider, government, and consulting. Anna has served as a Mayoral appointee on The Ryan White Health Planning Council, which is the entity responsible for community planning related to HIV/AIDS care for federally defined Eligible Metropolitan Areas that encompasses the legal jurisdictions-the District of Columbia, five Maryland counties, eleven Virginia counties and two counties in West Virginia. At the Council, she worked on establishing priorities for the allocation of Ryan White Part A funds in each of the legal jurisdictions within the EMA. In addition, she participated in developing a comprehensive plan for the organization and delivery of coordinated health services and in developing the statewide coordinated statement of needs. Her work at the Council also helped to ensure that people with HIV/AIDS receive timely and quality health care and support services, including substance abuse treatment. In addition, Anna served as a co-Chair on the Advisory Board for DC Cohort - a research study funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). The study aims to establish a clinic-based city-wide longitudinal cohort that will describe clinical outcomes and improve the quality of care for outpatients with HIV/AIDS in Washington, DC. In this capacity, Anna provided recommendations to the DC Cohort Research Study Executive Committee on issues related to the study, such as planning, rollout, enrollment, data collection/security, announcing results, and suggested actions to improve the quality of HIV patient care in DC. As a PrEP Community Advisory Board, Anna advises on the strategic direction of pre-exposure (PrEP) and post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) outreach programs to HIV-negative youth in the DC metro area.

Anna is not a stranger to the intricate work required within the disability community to ensure access, resources, and navigation to families with children, youth, and adults with medically complex needs. Working with the Intermediate Care Facilities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities (ICF/IID) communities regarding payment methodology, state plan amendments, and access to services, she has led projects to ensure a comprehensive approach is considered that includes the family impact and community resources to meet the needs. She is a voice for the voiceless, inspiring to challenge the status quo through advocacy and education. Her work has been in the interest of the families residing in the children and geared towards empowering and acceptance, an invaluable asset to families on how to advocate for themselves.

Before leading HSCSN, as a Principal at Booz Allen Hamilton, she ran a portfolio of healthcare compliance projects supporting the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in implementing the Affordable Care Act to reduce expenditures and improve the quality of care provided to beneficiaries. In November 2019, Ms. Dunn was awarded the “Professional Services Heroine of Washington” title by the March of Dimes for her advocacy efforts and contributions to improving the healthcare of children in the District of Columbia.

Ms. Dunn has worked tirelessly in making HSCSN a health plan with national significance by making it a model of national standards for care coordination for children and young adults with complex medical needs.

  • M.B.A, Johns Hopkins University
  • M.S.W, Columbia University
  • Master’s Degree in Jurisprudence, Kazakh State Law Academy
About Health Services for Children with Special Needs, Inc. (HSCSN):

Health Services for Children with Special Needs, Inc. (HSCSN) serves children and young adults up to age 26 who live in Washington, DC, and receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI). We focus on young people with special healthcare needs. That way, we can provide our enrollees with the kind of attention and level of care that helps make their lives as full as possible. We serve over 5,000 kids, teens, and young adults receiving health coverage through DC’s Child Adolescent Supplemental Security Income Program (CASSIP). HSCSN is one component of The HSC Health Care System, a nonprofit healthcare organization committed to serving people with complex healthcare needs and eliminating barriers to health services.


Berta Mata is the mother of four children including one with special needs. Mrs. Mata provides one-on-one assistance, training, and emotional support to Latinx families to ensure their children receive appropriate education and health services. She also leads outreach efforts to immigrant communities to support newly settled families with navigating resources and systems of support and currently leads and operates AJE’s intake center at Mary’s Center twice a week. Mrs. Mata has a firm commitment to supporting children with special needs and their families. She is a native Spanish speaker and has deep ties to the Spanish-speaking community in D.C.  Ms. Mata served as a member of Mary’s Center’s Board of Directors (2016-2019). In 2019 she was appointed by Mayor Bowser to serve on the District’s State Rehabilitation Council and in 2021 appointed to serve on the Developmental Disabilities Council.


  • Charon P.W. Hines, Department on Aging and Community Living - DACL (Older Americans Act), [email protected]

Director Charon P.W. Hines is a dedicated community servant and third-generation Washingtonian. With over two decades of administrative, constituent service, community engagement, and education experience, she has a deep understanding of the needs of District residents, including older adults.

Prior to her role at DACL, Director Hines served as the Senior Advisor to District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Dr. Lewis D. Ferebee, where she led innovative projects and supported strategic initiatives to eliminate barriers to student achievement. She was also the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Community Affairs (MOCA), overseeing 10 constituent service offices that served as a vital connection between residents and the Executive Office of Mayor Muriel Bowser. Before joining DC Government, Director Hines served in several key educational leadership roles in Montgomery County Public Schools and the Archdiocese of Washington.

In addition to her work in education and constituent services, Director Hines has been an active member of the Lamond Riggs Citizens Association, where she served as its three-time consecutive President. She is also a member of the DC Caregivers Institute, which has given her a unique perspective on the importance of social services, including senior services.

As the daughter of a disabled Gulf War veteran and the maternal granddaughter of a Ward 8 resident, Director Hines understands the critical role that DACL plays in providing vital services to the city's oldest residents, adults with disabilities, and those who care for them. She is committed to ensuring that all seniors receive the highest level of care and service they need and deserve.

Director Hines earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Mary Baldwin College, a Master of Arts in Elementary Education from Bowie State University, and a Master of Science in Education Administration from Trinity University. She takes pride in her role as a wife and mother, caring for her infant son with her husband in Ward 4's Riggs Park neighborhood.


My name is Derrick Simms, a passionate student hailing from Washington, DC, currently pursuing a degree at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) with a focus on social work. His ambition is to become a disability social worker and a strong advocate for individuals with disabilities. Derrick firmly believes in the importance of amplifying the voices and experiences of those often marginalized, emphasizing the inherent value and significance they bring to our society. With a resounding motto of "We do matter!!", Derrick is dedicated to championing the rights and inclusion of people with disabilities, striving to create a more equitable and accessible world for all.



  • Jane Brown, Chair of the State Plan Implementation Committee and Representative of the Protection and Advocacy Agency - Disability Rights DC at University Legal Services, [email protected]

Jane Brown has been the Executive Director of University Legal Services (ULS) since 1993. Under her leadership, ULS has grown from a staff of nine to a staff of over 40. Ms. Brown oversees all operational aspects of the office and directs twelve different government grants, both city and federal, and several foundation grants.


  • Dr. Kafui Doe,  Family Health Bureau Chief within the Community Health Administration at the DC Department of Health (DC Health), [email protected] 

Dr. Kafui Doe is the Family Health Bureau Chief within the Community Health Administration at the DC Department of Health (DC Health). Within her role at DC Health, Dr. Doe provides oversight and strategic leadership over the Bureau’s ability to collaborate, design, implement, and evaluate programs and policies aligned with perinatal, infant, early childhood, children, and adolescent health initiatives (including school health) that impact the quality of life of families within the District of Columbia. Dr. Doe also currently serves in the role of the District’s Title V Maternal and Child Health Services Block Grant State Director. In her former role, Dr. Doe served as the Child, Adolescent, and School Health Division Chief at DC Health. Dr. Doe oversaw matters related to cross-cutting programs and services that have a District-wide impact on the health and safety of children, youth, and their families. These programs and services include, but are not limited to teen pregnancy prevention, sexual violence prevention, school health services, school-based health centers, adolescent health, youth development, and health education. Prior to DC Health, Dr. Doe served as the Director of Healthy Schools and Wellness Programs at the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. Dr. Doe oversaw matters related to the planning, administration, implementation, and evaluation of several federal and locally funded health and physical education programs, school health services, and environmental literacy programs at the state education agency level. In addition, Dr. Doe was responsible for developing, updating, and disseminating program policies, directing program outreach, delivering training and technical assistance for schools and organizations, ensuring compliance with health and physical education standards, and supervising program staff assigned to health programs and school health surveillance activities.

Dr. Doe received her Doctor of Education from Johns Hopkins University focusing on public-private partnerships and inter-organizational collaborations around school health, health education, and physical education. She received her MPH in Health Promotion and a Graduate Certificate in Public Health Communication and Marketing at the George Washington University, and her B. A. in Community Health and Development from the University of California, Berkeley.


Never be idle; always stay busy. That’s the mantra LaRaven Gaymon learned from her mother, and it’s the phrase that guides her personal and professional life. LaRaven is a District of Columbia native and a graduate of H.D. Woodson High School. She earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Trinity University in 2021. LaRaven is presently a Care Navigator at United Healthcare. Her member caseload includes individuals who are elderly persons and people with ranging disabilities. Prior to joining UnitedHealth Care, LaRaven participated in the DC Department on Disability Services Aspiring Professionals Internship Program at the DC Department of Forensic Sciences.


Lindsey Wilkes is an advocate for people with disabilities and a long-time member of Project ACTION!, DC’s self-advocacy coalition. In 2023, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser appointed Mr. Wilkes to the DC Developmental Disabilities Council because of his reputation as a strong and effective disability rights advocate. Mr. Wilkes is a native Washingtonian who grew up in Southeast DC. He had a 40-year career at National Geographic where he was known for his work ethic and positive attitude. Mr. Wilkes can often be found coaching or playing sports with DC Special Olympics, as he has always valued physical activity for himself and others. Mr. Wilkes believes in lifelong learning and is an active member of RCM of Washington’s book club. He loves his community and takes advantage of any opportunity to mentor the next generation, encouraging youth to believe in themselves and strive for their career goals.


  • Melisa Byrd,  Senior Deputy Director / Medicaid Director of the Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF), [email protected]

Melisa Byrd is the Senior Deputy Director / Medicaid Director of the Department of Health Care Finance (DHCF). In this role, Ms. Byrd serves as the principal manager for the District’s Medicaid, CHIP, Alliance and Immigrant Children’s programs. Melisa directs the day-to-day organization, planning, implementation, and evaluation of the programs to ensure compliance with federal and District laws. Previously, Ms. Byrd served as the agency’s Chief of Staff and as the Associate Director of the Office of the Public Provider Liaison.

Throughout Melisa’s more than twenty years in health policy and Medicaid, she has focused on state level programs and efforts to expand coverage and reform healthcare systems. She has worked on local, state, and national levels and in both public and private sectors, including Health Management Associates (HMA), the Louisiana Department of Health, and the National Governors Association. She also currently serves on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Medicaid Directors.


Bio Introduction: In every community, there are unsung heroes who work tirelessly to uplift others and create positive change. Oliver L. Roy, a native Washingtonian and esteemed mental health advocate, is one such individual who has dedicated his life to supporting individuals and families facing mental health challenges and special needs. With over 20 years of experience in outreach and a deep commitment to advocacy, Oliver's work has left an indelible impact on the community.

A Voice for Parent Support and Education: Oliver's journey in outreach began as a parent educator and parent advocate, where he managed and supervised parent training, workshops, and support groups. His focus on enhancing parent support networks has been instrumental in equipping families with the necessary tools to navigate the complexities of health, education, and social service systems. Oliver's expertise has provided countless parents and caregivers with the guidance they need to advocate for their children effectively.

Championing Male Caregivers: Recognizing the unique challenges faced by male caregivers of special needs children, Oliver co-founded the Male Caregivers Advocacy Support Group (MCAS). Through MCAS, he tirelessly advocates for the rights and needs of male caregivers, shining a spotlight on their invaluable contributions. Oliver's presentations at local and national organization meetings, training sessions, workshops, and conferences have brought attention to this often-overlooked group and fostered a more inclusive and supportive environment.

Contributions to Policy and Committees: Oliver's impact extends beyond direct support and education. He has served on panels, boards, and committees, lending his expertise and insights to shape policies and strategies that improve access to services for individuals with mental health and special needs. As an Epilepsy Advocate for HSCSN, his advocacy efforts have positively influenced healthcare and social policies. Furthermore, his involvement in the Mayor's Advisory Advocacy Committee on Early Childhood Strategic Planning Task Force demonstrates his commitment to driving systemic change at the highest levels.

A Personal Journey of Inspiration: Oliver's work is deeply rooted in his own personal journey. As a product of foster care, he understands the challenges faced by children in the system. This experience inspired him to become a foster parent himself, caring for two children with special healthcare needs. Through his unique perspective, Oliver offers unwavering support and empathy to families who find themselves navigating similar circumstances. His personal story serves as a beacon of hope and resilience, inspiring others to overcome adversity and create meaningful change.

Recognition and Awards: Oliver's exceptional contributions have garnered widespread recognition. He has been named D.C. Parent Leader of the Year by Parents Anonymous® and DC Children's Trust Fund, acknowledging his relentless dedication to supporting families. Additionally, he received The 2008 Governor State of Maryland Academy Award of Adoptions, further highlighting his commitment to ensuring every child has a loving and nurturing home.

Conclusion: Oliver L. Roy's work in the community as a mental health advocate, parent support champion, and fervent advocate for male caregivers of special needs children is nothing short of remarkable. Through his extensive experience, unique perspective, and tireless dedication, Oliver has empowered individuals and families, shaped policies, and created a more inclusive and supportive environment for all. His personal journey and numerous accolades stand as a testament to his unwavering commitment to improving the lives of those facing mental health challenges and special needs. Oliver L. Roy is a true inspiration and a driving force for positive change within our community.



Sandy Roskes is co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Legends of Learning, where he is responsible for sales and company operations. In this capacity, Sandy helped launch the first versions of Legends in 2017-18 into strategic districts in key forward-thinking states such as Texas, Florida, Georgia, and Virginia. Over the last several years, he has been building and leading the sales and customer support teams, delivering 2-3X annual growth each year. Previously, Sandy served as Senior Vice President, New Ventures at Ethical Electric, where he led the launch of new business lines consistent with the company’s mission to spread renewable energy to consumers and businesses all over America. Prior to Ethical Electric, Sandy served as Chief Sales Officer at Direct Energy Solar, which acquired Astrum Solar in 2014. Starting in 2009, Sandy brought Astrum to #2 on Inc. 500’s list of fastest growing companies, with over 23,000% growth over 3 years. Previously, Sandy was Vice President of Business Development and Marketing at FiberZone Networks, and General Manager of U.S. Investments for Portview Communication Partners, an international venture capital firm. Sandy has lived overseas and worked as an advisor, investor, and executive in start-up technology companies on three continents. Sandy holds a Master of Science in Engineering from Stanford and a Bachelor of Science in Engineering from Harvard.


An African American with shoulder-length twist, a V-neck purple top, and a necklace
  • Tawara Goode, Representative of the Georgetown University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (GUCEDD) – Center for Child and Human Development, [email protected]

Tawara Goode is an associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C.  She has been on the faculty of the Center for Child and Human Development for over 30 years and has served in many capacities. She is the Director of GUCEDD and Georgetown University National Center for Cultural Competence.  She focuses on national-level efforts to advance and sustain cultural and linguistic competence as evidence-based practices that promote equity in developmental disabilities, health, mental health, education, and other human service fields.


  • Proxy Robin Shaffert, Senior Policy Associate and Research Instructor at the Georgetown University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, [email protected] 

Robin Shaffert is a Senior Policy Associate and Research Instructor at the Georgetown University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities where she focuses on District of Columbia policy issues that impact people with and at risk for developmental disabilities and their families. She served as the Senior Executive Officer, Individual and Family Support, at The Arc of the United States. Before joining The Arc, Robin was the Policy Director for the Caring Across Generations campaign, a coalition of over 200 diverse organizations committed to reforming long term services and supports for seniors and people with disabilities. Robin also served as Senior Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), where she led AAPD’s participation with Workforce Flexibility 2010 and the Campaign for Disability Employment. She was formerly Deputy General Counsel of Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., an associate at Latham & Watkins, and a law clerk to United States District Court Judge Norma L. Shapiro. She is a magna cum laude graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and Dartmouth College, and studied for a year as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Hamburg, Germany.


Nikki Stewart is a Certified Public Manager and education leader, specializing in federal grants and support programs, instructional leadership, assessment development, and data-action planning – all in the service of advancing educational equity for all students. Ms. Stewart is a master teacher and keen manager recognized for building strong infrastructures for success through meticulous research, strategic planning, and cultivating effective teams. No stranger to academic achievement, she graduated Summa Cum Laude from Spelman College, is a fifth-generation teacher, and received numerous fellowships and awards for her research and writing on African American girls and education. She currently serves as the Assistant Superintendent for Systems and Supports, K-12, at the Office of the State Superintendent of Education for the District of Columbia.


Thelma Green is a fierce advocate for disability rights and plain language. She is a long-time member of Project ACTION!, DC’s self-advocacy coalition, and has served in a variety of leadership roles. In 2023, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser appointed Ms. Green to the DC Developmental Disabilities Council as a well-known and successful advocate for the disability community. Ms. Green can often be heard asking elected officials and government leaders to “break it down!” as part of her passionate mission to make government policies and services accessible and understandable to all people. Ms. Green is a certified People Planning Together Trainer, as she values sharing her knowledge and supporting other people with disabilities to achieve their leadership and advocacy potential. Ms. Green loves living in DC and spending time with her boyfriend, James.


Yetta Myrick is the mother of teenage son with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual Disability diagnosis.  She is the Founder and President of DC Autism Parents (DCAP) and is currently leading the DC Act Early COVID-19 Team. Additionally, she is the Parent Educator/Advocate on the ECHO Autism Hub Team at Children’s National Hospital.  In 2019, she was appointed by DC Mayor Muriel Bowser to serve as a member of the DC Developmental Disabilities Council.


Zoe Gross is the Director of Advocacy at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. Previously, she was a special assistant at the Administration for Community Living and a policy analyst on Senator Tom Harkin’s Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee staff. In 2012, Zoe created the annual Disability Day of Mourning vigil, a national, cross-disability event that commemorates the lives of disabled people murdered by their family members or caregivers. She received a White House Champions of Change award for this work in 2013.

  • Uchenna Egenti, Community Advocate

Council Mentors



Ricardo Thornton has been an advocate for people with disabilities his whole life and has proven to the world that people with disabilities achieve great things. He has testified about disability rights in front of the U.S. Senate and has been invited to meet dignitaries such as the Obamas, Nelson Mandela, and the Bushs. Ricardo’s motivation for advocacy stems from his experience of being forced to live in Forest Haven, an institution for people with intellectual disabilities where abuse was rampant, choices were limited, and growth and learning were nonexistent.


Thank you to our former DD Councilmembers!

  • Anna Cook
  • Carol Grigsby - former Chairperson
  • Cheri Mallory
  • Kali Wasenko
  • Lisa Matthews
  • Montezz Green
  • Naisha Dembele
  • Stephanie Lanham