New Act Early Ambassadors Selected

May 14, 2014

The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD)/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB)/Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) are pleased to announce that thirty new Act Early Ambassadors have been selected from a group of highly qualified applicants. This cohort of Ambassadors represent twenty-nine states:

Ambassadors pose
The 2014 Act Early Ambassadors

  • Alabama: Tish MacInnis
  • Arkansas: Peggy Schaefer Whitby
  • Arizona: Ann Mastergeorge
  • California (2 Ambassadors): Debra Sarmento, Fran Goldfarb
  • Colorado: Debra Efird
  • Connecticut: AnnGionet
  • Hawaii: JoAnn Yuen
  • Indiana: Stephan Viehweg
  • Kansas: Peggy Kemp
  • Louisiana: Maria Blanco
  • Massachusetts: Elaine Gabovitch
  • Minnesota: Jennifer Hall-Lande
  • Montana: Ann Garfinkle
  • North Carolina: Rebecca Edmondson Pretzel
  • Nebraska: Jennifer Burt
  • New Hampshire: Jennifer Doris
  • New Jersey: Deepa Srinivasavaradan  
  • New Mexico: Nancy Lewis
  • Nevada: Mario Gaspar de Alba
  • Ohio: Stephanie Weber
  • Oklahoma: Bonnie McBride
  • Rhode Island: Stacey Aguiar
  • Tennessee: Toni Whitaker 
  • Texas: Pauline Filipek
  • Utah: Susan Olsen
  • Virginia: Deana McGuire Buck
  • Vermont: Janet Kilburn
  • Wisconsin: Gail Chodron
  • West Virginia: Susannah Poe

Autism Speaks was selected as the Organizational Ambassador in this cohort of Ambassadors.

In the upcoming years (2014-2016), the Ambassadors will serve as a state, territory or organizational point-of-contact for CDC’s national “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” (LTSAE) program; support the work of Act Early Teams and other state or national initiatives to improve early identification of developmental delay and disability; and promote adoption and integration of LTSAE resources, including materials to support developmental monitoring.

For more information on the Ambassadors, please visit or