MediSked Advisor Council
Meet the Advisors!
Thomas E. Pomeranz, Ed.D
Dr. Tom Pomeranz is a nationally recognized authority, trainer, clinician and consultant in the field of services for people with disabilities. Over the last forty five (45) years, Tom has conducted thousands of seminars and programs throughout the United States and Canada. His audiences praise his ability to combine information, humor, passion and storytelling into an informative whole that does not just present the information, but really communicates it in a memorable fashion. Tom was the keynote speaker at the Fifth International Conference on Developmental Disabilities and Aging in Cyprus.
He is the highly acclaimed creator of Universal Enhancement, which teaches strategies promoting community participation and supporting people to have a quality life. Additionally, he is noted for his innovative approach to leadership and management training.
Tom has authored numerous articles in various professional publications and The Principles and Practices of Universal Enhancement. Published by High Tide Press, this book details with humor and compassion the autocratic and clinical restraints of supporting people with developmental disabilities and the alternative “Universal Enhancement” way. Tom has also created a seven part staff training DVD series The Principles and Practices of Building Community. Co-produced with Tierra Del Sol it covers seven critical topics that provide staff with best practice tools to enhance the quality of life for people with disabilities.
Tom received his Bachelor and Master of Science Degrees in Special Education and a Doctorate in Mental Health Administration from Indiana University, Bloomington IN, followed by post-graduate work from the University of Notre Dame in the area of experimental psychology. He has held a variety of top level administrative posts in community-based service organizations and three large state-operated facilities. Tom is a Policy Fellow and Visiting Lecturer for Minot State University – North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities, a University Center of Excellence. Tom is also the President and CEO of Universal LifeStiles with offices located in Indianapolis, IN.
Kathy has worked in the field of developmental disabilities for 36 years. She is the Director of Development for Pharmacy Alternatives, a pharmacy that provides pharmacy services and medications systems exclusively for the IDD population, with an emphasis on self administration of medication. She is a regular attendee of DDNA (Developmental Disabilities Nurses Association) conferences and has presented at several national conferences. Kathy helped start the Northern Illinois DDNA Chapter and continues to serve as its president. She helped craft legislation for medication delegation in Illinois and has trained hundreds of nurses on the topic. She is passionate about promoting certification in the specialty of I/DD nursing.
To better support children and adults with traumatic brain injuries, in 1987 Joyce co-founded the Brain Injury Association of Greater Rochester. As Executive Director she procured funding, developed programs, and brought together a Board of Directors.
Additional milestones achieved were:
- Lobbied/advocated at New York State Department of Education for new policies regarding classification and education criteria for students with traumatic brain injuries;
- Advocated for children and adults with traumatic brain injuries: assisted in creating policies with NYS DOH and SED that supported moving children and adults out of institutions and into the community;
- Developed support groups, education, and training programs that included workshops, conferences and inclusive recreational opportunities. These initiatives eventually expanded throughout the entire Finger Lakes region;
- In 1990, Joyce wrote the first (OPWDD) Family Support grant in New York State that specifically assisted children with traumatic brain injury and their families; the grant is still active today.
The Brain Injury Association grew from supporting 50 families to supporting 500 families within six years, demonstrating the need for these services. At this point the Brain Injury Association merged with The Advocacy Center.
As a result of the merger with The Advocacy Center, Joyce became the agency’s first Development Director which included fundraising, special events and communications. In 1995, Joyce developed and directed The Advocacy Center’s Traumatic Brain Injury Service Coordination department which allowed her to continue the work she lobbied for – moving children and adults with traumatic brain injury, who had spent years living primarily in out-of-state institutions back to their families and their communities.
While still at The Advocacy Center, in 2000, she seized the opportunity to direct the NYS Partners in Policymaking® program (NYS PIP), an innovative national model of leadership and training for people with developmental disabilities, parents and family members. Funded by the NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC) and aligned with the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities, NYS PIP continues to have a major impact on important state and national issues in the field of developmental disabilities. Under Joyce’s ten years of leadership, over 400 Partners “graduates” have become stronger advocates, leaders and have influenced policy development at all levels. In 2004 she led Partners graduates to successfully lobby and work with NYS State Legislators to create the Person First bill which was ultimately signed on August 1, 2007.
From 2010 to the present, she has served as Director of Family Advocacy, retaining this position with the 2015 merger of The Advocacy Center and the Learning Disabilities Association, to become Starbridge. In this role she oversees, develops and enhances programs and teams that provide support, advocacy, and training for families with individuals with developmental disabilities and the community at large.
More recently and as a result of their experiences and their (adult) children’s’ success with Self-Direction, Joyce and her close friend Cindy Lill co-founded In the Driver’s Seat. With funding from the Golisano Foundation, In the Driver’s Seat was established in 2012 to provide the tools, resources, guidance and networking opportunities to increase the capacity of those needing to access Self-Directed options, thereby minimizing frustration and reducing obstacles. As an independent organization, In the Driver’s Seat collaborates with local/state agencies, businesses and community organizations to increase awareness about people with disabilities thus increasing accessibility to community options. While In the Driver’s Seat was originally founded to support families in the Finger Lakes region, there are numerous requests to customize this innovative resource throughout New York.