Board Members

Current Board Members

Linda Long-Bellil

Bethany Ziss

Andrew Symons

Sarah Ailey

Elle Bannister

Ellen Bannister

Ellen Bannister is the mother of two children with developmental disabilities. She is Academic Programs Coordinator of the Center for Learning and Leadership/ Oklahoma UCEDD at the OU College of Medicine. Her formal training was in the humanities, but her life experience of caring for children with developmental disabilities has inspired her current work: improving access to high-quality health care for people with developmental disabilities. Ellen Bannister received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in English literature at the University of Kansas. She completed her coursework for a Ph.D. at Boston University.   Before joining the Center for Learning and Leadership staff, she taught at the University of Oklahoma for many years in the English Department.   In 2013, she received the Integrity Apex Award from the University of Oklahoma Integrity Council for her work in fostering high-quality scholarship and promoting academic integrity.   In 2014, Ellen received the Emerging Leaders Scholarship to the AUCD national convention.

Currently, she acts as liaison for the UCEDD’s academic partners and the OU School of Medicine Faculty and coordinates the Oklahoma UCEDD/LEND Consumer Advisory Committee. She is working in partnership with Oklahoma People First and the OU College of Public Health to begin the Self-Advocates as Medical Educators/ Family Advocates as Medical Educators (SAME/FAME) program, a CBPR research project to improve the attitudes, skills, and knowledge of health care students in the area of developmental disabilities.

Kathryn Capella
Katherine Cappella

Kathryn Cappella is the Director of the NYS Disabilities Advocacy Association and Network (NYS DAAN), and is currently responsible for implementing an evaluation and technical assistance grant from the NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, to implement a curriculum for healthcare professionals that is designed to introduce intellectual and developmental disabilities and improve the knowledge, skills and professional clinical care and outcomes for patients with disabilities, their families and caregivers. The curriculum “Partners in Health Education for People with Disabilities” (PHEPD) that has been successfully piloted with medical students and residents, Nurse Practitioners and Physician Assistants in NYS. Hofstra University is in their 3rd year of a pilot program with Physician Assistants. The current objectives include making updates to the curriculum and developing a sustainability plan that results in increased access and continued development of curriculum materials.

Kathryn has more than 40 years in administrative and leadership positions in non-profit disability advocacy organizations that provide services and supports with individuals with disabilities, their families and caregivers.  Her work experience includes more than 30 years of direct service and systems advocacy, working with children and adults with disabilities and their families, in the areas of education, housing, employment, transportation, and health care. She was the Director of Advocacy Services for the Rochester, NY chapter of the Learning Disabilities Association for more than 18 years, and continues to work with the IDEA Partnership and the Coalition on Pathways to a Diploma in order to increase the successful outcomes of students with disabilities.

She is a trainer and member of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Advanced Trainers’ Network. She is also a board member for the Center for Disability Rights and Rochester Independent Living Center in Rochester, N.Y. and a board trustee for the Learning Disabilities Association of New York State. She earned her BA from the University of Rochester with a major in Psychology and a minor in Black Studies.

Alina Engleman

Arielle Silverman

Carl Tyler

Former Board Members

  • Ken Robey
  • Joan Hahn
  • Susan Havercamp
  • Catherine Graham
  • Paula Minihan
  • Laurie Woodard
  • Suzanne Smeltzer


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back To Top