Kennedy Foundation Selects 2010 Fellows: Two AUCD Network Members Selected

July 13, 2010

AUCD is proud to congratulate two network members on their acceptance into the 2010 Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., Foundation Public Policy Fellowship program. Dr. Michael Gamel-McCormick of the Delaware UCEDD and Dr. Jeffrey Okamoto of the Hawaii LEND began their fellowships on July 1, 2010.

The Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation awards professionals and family members a stipend to work in Washington, DC, for a full year, where they actively participate in public policy development through work on the staff of a congressional committee, or a federal agency. Former Public Policy Fellows describe the Fellowship as a major turning point in their lives. The Kennedy Fellowship offers exciting opportunities to be involved in policy and legislative development in key areas such as special education, health and mental health care for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, child care, housing, justice, child welfare and other areas related to improving the quality of life for individuals with intellectual disabilities.

During their Fellowship, Fellows will learn how legislation is initiated, developed, and passed by the Congress, or how programs are administered and regulations promulgated by federal agencies. Fellows typically are placed to work in a Senate office to work on current issues. The Fellowship prepares emerging leaders or experienced professionals to assume leadership in the public policy arena, in their home state and or nationally, with the expectation that they will become future leaders in the field of inclusive community supports for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.


Dr. Gamel-McCormick

Dr. Michael Gamel-McCormick, PhD, is the Associate Director of the Center for Disabilities Studies and a Professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Delaware. He is also a Professor of Early Childhood Education and Disabilities in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies. Prior to joining the University of Delaware, Dr. Gamel-McCormick was a teacher of preschool children with disabilities, the director of an early intervention program, and the program director for a large urban human services agency serving children with disabilities between birth and eight years of age and their families. Most of his direct service experience is with children and families living in poverty.

Dr. Gamel-McCormick has provided technical assistance to early childhood and early intervention programs throughout the nation and in five countries. He is co-author of the book Young Children with Special Needs: A Developmentally Appropriate Approach and has published articles on inclusion, family-centered care, and interdisciplinary teamwork.

Dr. Gamel-McCormick has a PhD in education and human development from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Masters degree in counseling from the University of Wisconsin. He serves on the Delaware Developmental Disabilities Council as well as the Governor's Commission for Community-based Alternatives for Adults with Disabilities and numerous other boards and councils.  Dr. Gamel-McCormick currently serves as Past-President of AUCD's Board of Directors.



Dr. Okamoto

Dr. Jeffrey Okamoto, MD, is a developmental-behavioral pediatrician at the Pediatric Specialty Center at Kapi‘olani Medical Center for Women and Children (KMCWC). He flies to Moloka‘i every other month for a clinic supported by KMCWC to care for children with various developmental and behavioral challenges.

Dr. Okamoto also is the medical director for the Hawai‘i State Department of Health Developmental Disabilities Division, and the program chairperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics Council on School Health Executive Committee.

He is currently the associate director for the Hawai‘i Maternal and Child Health Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities (MCH LEND) training program and the Council Chairperson for the Center on Disability Studies, both at University of Hawai‘i Manoa.