PUBLIC POLICY COMMITTEE
The Public Policy Committee is charged with advocating on behalf of persons with ADHD and related disorders by influencing national, state, and local public policies. As a committee, we monitor legislation and regulatory agencies as they relate to ADHD, particularly in the justice and educational systems, civil rights, employment and healthcare. The committee is goal-oriented, establishing legislative priorities that we wish to influence, and responding to concerns as they develop.
Ingrid Y. Alpern, JD, LLM in Tax, Co-Chair
Ingrid Alpern practiced tax law in Washington, DC, for many years. Alpern has helped to raised awareness about ADHD and provides support to families coping with ADHD through her long-term work as a volunteer for CHADD and as a Parent to Parent teacher. She also serves on CHADD’s Finance Committee. Alpern brings to CHADD the expertise she developed as a tax attorney in legal research and writing and analysis of complex matters.
Jeffrey S. Katz, PhD, Co-Chair
Jeffrey Katz is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Katz has been involved with CHADD for many years. In addition to the public policy committee, Katz also serves on CHADD’s professional advisory board and is a past member of the board of directors. Katz specializes in the evaluation and treatment of children, adolescents and adults with an emphasis on ADHD, as well as other behavioral and learning issues. Katz frequently attends school meetings, bringing his knowledge of ADHD, learning disabilities, and school-based interventions together with his knowledge of educational regulations to ensure that students receive the support they need. Katz also serves on the Disabilities Advisory Committee of Tidewater Community College, Virginia, sharing his expertise with their office of educational accessibility.
Eli Zachary Tomar JD, MPH, Co-Chair
Eli Tomar is an attorney in the Washington, DC, offices of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. Tomar’s practice at Akin Gump focuses on health care and life sciences where he counsels clients on a range of legislative, policy, regulatory and compliance matters. He advocates on behalf of diverse health care entities ranging from medical providers to biotechnology, pharmaceutical, pharmacy compounding and medical device manufacturers. He also counsels nonprofit organizations, trade associations, patient advocates and broad-based coalitions and has a robust pro bono portfolio in which he works with less fortunate individuals through the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless, Miriam’s Kitchen Legal Clinic and Tahirih Justice Center, as well as legislative advocacy for the Smashing Walnuts Foundation. Over the course of his career, Tomar has worked on many disease state-specific causes relating to autism, childhood cancer, chronic kidney disease, and mental health, among others.
Prior to joining Akin Gump, Tomar was an associate at Patton Boggs LLP, where he also worked exclusively on health care issues. Tomar earned his law degree Order of the Coif from the UCLA School of Law and a masters of public health High Honors from the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health. Prior to graduate school, he worked as a public policy specialist, legislative assistant, and government affairs aid on and off Capitol Hill. Tomar is a member of CHADD’s board of directors.
Michael S. Gerton, Esq
Michael S. Gerton is an attorney with the Law Office of Brian K. Gruber, PC, in Rockville, Maryland. His practice is focused on defending the rights of students and families in special education and school discipline matters across all levels and age groups. Gerton routinely provides representation to clients in Maryland and the District of Columbia who have encountered suspensions, expulsions, academic sanctions and other disciplinary issues from elementary school all the way through postsecondary settings. He also delivers legal services related to IEPs, 504 Plans, state complaints, mediation and administrative (due process) hearings. Gerton earned his bachelor of arts, degree with high distinction, from the University of Rochester, New York, and his juris doctorate law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law. Additionally, Gerton has completed postgraduate training at William and Mary Law School’s Institute of Special Education Advocacy.
Matthew J. Gormley, PhD
Matthew Gormley is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Gormley is a school psychologist and his research focuses on supporting students at-risk for or diagnosed with ADHD. He is specifically interested in interventions that build collaboration among families, schools, and healthcare settings to support students with ADHD across their academic careers. Gormley received CHADD’s Young Scientist Research Award in 2017.
Ruth A Hughes, PhD
Ruth Hughes is the former CEO of CHADD. She advocated with Congress and the federal government to ensure the rights and access to treatment for children and adults with ADHD. While the former director of membership, she helped to launch CHADD’s Parent to Parent: Family Training on ADHD. Teacher to Teacher, a training program on ADHD for education, was begun while she was CEO. Hughes also spent much of her early career helping to establish the field of psychiatric rehabilitation, helping people with serious mental illnesses to recover and lead fruitful lives in the community. Now semiretired, she continues to present, train and write about ADHD. Her passion is finding ways to help young people with ADHD transition to adulthood. Her son, who has ADHD and LD, has been and continues to be her inspiration and teacher.
David M. Keepnews, RN, JD, PhD
David Keepnews is a nursing educator, policy analyst, administrator, consultant and organization leader. He is currently a professor of Health Policy at The George Washington University School of Nursing in Washington, DC. He edited Policy, Politics & Nursing Practice, an academic journal, for a decade. He has held leadership positions in numerous nursing organizations. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the New York Academy of Medicine. He is a 2016 graduate of the Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellows program. Keepnews has worked in professional staff positions for the American Nurses Association, California Nurses Association and New York Academy of Medicine. He served as an assistant regional counsel for the US Department of Health & Human Services in San Francisco and practiced as a registered nurse in mental health, substance abuse, and psychiatric emergency in San Francisco and New York City.
Eve Kessler, Esq
Eve Kessler’s interest in and passion for special education and addressing different learning styles began with her own sons and grew into a second career. The formation of SPED*NET Wilton and the publishing of its guide to special services in Connecticut, Bringing Knowledge to the Table: How to be an Effective Advocate for Your Child, have been Kessler’s most gratifying professional accomplishments.
Kessler was appointed by to the Connecticut Council on Developmental Disabilities (DDCouncil) and later served as vice chair and chair until 2005. Kessler first spear-headed and later served as a trainer for parents and professionals through the DDCouncil initiative, Understanding Special Education, a state-wide training in the laws and inclusive practices of educating children with special needs. During that time, she also worked as a member of the Connecticut State Department of Education’s Steering Committee for the Federal Office of Special Education Planning and the Continuous Improvement Partnership Team, which assessed Connecticut performance in implementing the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and focused on ways Connecticut could better serve children with special needs. Kessler was a member of the State Department’s Parent Participation Work Group, which proposed special education-focused initiatives stemming from the federal special education laws. Kessler has worked professionally as an attorney for the Criminal Appeals Bureau of The Legal Aid Society, in New York City.
Kathy Kliebert serves as the representative of the Louisiana Medicaid Managed Care Organization Association, providing legislative and consulting services for the state’s five Medicaid health plans. After a long-term career in public service, Kliebert served as secretary of the state’s Department of Health and Hospitals from March 2013 to January 2016. For more than 28 years, she has led the department’s efforts to promote independent living for individuals with developmental disabilities and to transform behavioral health care services. As deputy secretary, she provided leadership to the Offices for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities, Behavioral Health, Public Health, and Aging and Adult Services. Kliebert led the Office of Behavioral Health, where she managed the merger of the department’s mental health and addictive disorders offices and spearheaded the implementation of Louisiana’s new approach to both delivering and financing behavioral health services through a fully integrated, single-point-of-entry system. During her tenure as assistant secretary of the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities, OCDD successfully completed a multi-year transition to move individuals out of institutions and into community-based services.
Kliebert has over 26 years of experience as a licensed clinical social worker. She currently serves as chair of the Bridge Center for Hope and of the Louisiana Educational Television Board.
M. Jeffry Spahr, MBA, JD
Jeffry Spahr is an attorney in Norwalk, Connecticut. Spahr is president of the Connecticut Association of Children and Adults with Learning Disabilities. He has been the driving force behind the Connecticut governor's annually declaring an ADHD Awareness Week in the state. He also founded the Association of Parents of Exceptional Children and Siblings to assist parents in his state in coping with the legal and academic challenges they face for their children.
Elaine Taylor-Klaus, PCC, CPCC
Elaine Taylor-Klaus is an author, parent educator, and co-founder of ImpactADHD, on online community and award-winning blog for parents of complex kids. As a certified coach, Elaine is the co-creator of Sanity School, a behavior therapy program providing training, coaching and support in the "coach-approach to behavior management” to parents and educators. A lifelong advocate for public health, Taylor-Klaus has served on Georgia’s Governor’s Council for Maternal and Infant Health, as a parent advisor for the American Academy of Pediatrics, and as a member of CHADD’s board of directors. Taylor-Klaus is the co-author of Parenting ADHD Now! Easy Intervention Strategies to Empower Kids with ADHD.