AUCD Launches Children's Mental Health Champions

September 1, 2020

In May 2020, the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) expanded its National Center on Disability in Public Health efforts with the launch of a new pilot program, Children's Mental Health Champions, made possible through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Six Champions were selected, representing California, Colorado, Kentucky, New Mexico, Virginia, and Washington D.C., to serve as liaisons to the CDC's Children's Mental Health program. In August 2020, the project was expanded and now supports a total of 12 Champions.

These Champions act as community change agents to increase positive parenting practices, through a one-year term of service. Champions provide timely support for children and their families as COVID-19 has impacted school closures, suspended home visiting services, made pediatric visits virtual, and caused additional stress and financial insecurity. Champions will develop state-specific work plans to implement effective strategies for mental health promotion, prevention supports, and the creation of networks (e.g., school, healthcare, and community) to promote better connections between these systems.





American Samoa

Pacific Basin University Center on Exxcellence for Developmental Disabilities/American Samoa UCEDD

Jean Anderson


The Northern California LEND Project at the UC Davis MIND Institute

Jazmin Burns


USC University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Micah Orliss


JFK Partners, University of Colorado School of Medicine/Children's Hospital Colorado

Judy Reaven


University of Connecticut Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities

Bethanne Vergean


Center for Leadership in Disability, Georgia State Univesity, UCEDD

Emily C. Graybill


Human Development Institute (HDI), University of Kentucky, UCEDD

Mary Howard


University of Maine: Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies, UCEDD

Jennifer Maeverde

New Mexico

University of New Mexico Center for Development & Disability, UCEDD

Julia Oppenheimer

North Carolina

Carolina Institute for Development & Disabilities/University of North Carolina Chapel Hill

Laura Hiruma

South Dakota

Center for Disabilities, University of South Dakota/Sanford School of Medicine

Tova Eggerstedt


Partnership for People with Disabilities, Virginia Commonwealth University

Bonnie Grifa