Ambassadors Bios


Twenty-Five child development and early intervention leaders from across the nation were selected to serve as Act Early Ambassadors.  Each will play an important role in educating parents, healthcare professionals, and early educators on developmental milestones, warning signs of developmental delays such as autism, and what to do if there are concerns about a child's development.  Click on the names below for ambassador biographies and contact information.


Gail Chodron, University of Wisconsin- Madison, Waisman Center

Rebecca Edmonson-Pretzel, PhD, University of North Carolina, Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities

Karen Edwards, MD, MPH, University of Cincinnati University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities

Debra Efird, MD, University of Colorado, JFK Partners

Elaine Gabovitch, MPA, University of Massachusetts Medical School/Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center

Ann Garfinkle,PhD, University of Montana

Ana Catarina Garnecho, MD, Neurodevelopmental Center at Memorial Hospital, Brown Medical School

Tierney Giannotti, MPA, University of Connecticut

Tracy Golden, PhD, MSW, University of Utah

Walter Jenner, MS, CAS, Department of Pediatrics, Division of Developmental Disabilities, Medical University of South Carolina

Eric Kurtz, Ph.D., Center for Disabilities, USD Sanford School of Medicine

Fauzia Malik, MPAS, MS , University of New Mexico, Center for Development & Disability

Bonnie McBride, Ph.D., University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center

Deana McGuire Buck, M.Ed., Virginia Commonwealth University, Partnership for People with Disabilities

Shivani Pandit, Ed.D, Minnesota Department of Education

Nicole Quintero, PhD, BCBA-D, University of Illinois at Chicago, Institute on Disability and Human Development

Sydney Rice, MD, MS, University of Arizona

Louann Rinner, MSEd, OTR/L, University of Kansas LEND

Torri Smith Tejral, MS, BCBA, Munroe-Meyer Institute, UNMC

Rae Sonnenmeier, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, New Hampshire Lend Program, Institute on Disability

Toni Whitaker, MD, University of Tennessee, Boling Center for Developmental Disabilities

Jane Witowski, MA, Children's Advocacy, Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center

Larry Yin, MD, MSPH, Children's Hospital Los Angeles

JoAnn Yuen, EdD, University of Hawaii, Center on Disability Studies

Karen Zalewski, BS, University of Delaware, Center for Disabilities Studies


Act Early Ambassador