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Autism Council Members

The following individuals were appointed by the Governor to the Michigan Autism Council.

Colleen M. Allen, Ph.D. - Dr. Colleen Allen is the President and CEO of the Autism Alliance of Michigan. She was appointed by Governor Snyder as the inaugural Chair of the MI Autism Council, a division of the Department of Health and Human Services in 2012, and in 2017, to the state Developmental DisabilityCouncil. She was also appointed to Mayor Duggan’s Detroit Workforce Board in 2015 and is a member of Leadership Detroit (XXXVIII). She sits on several professional and non-profit boards, including; InCompass Michigan, the Mary Rackham Institute of the University of Michigan, the Roeper School, Detroit Public Television, and the advisory board of the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts. Dr. Allen is the founder and was Director of Henry Ford Health System’s (HFHS) Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities until 2012. In her role as President and CEO of the Autism Alliance, Dr. Allen has spent the past eight years engaged in advocacy, programming, and trainings for families and service providers to improve access to critical services and supports, and employment opportunities for adults with autism and related disabilities. Dr. Allen received her B.A. from the University of Michigan, her M.S. in Speech/Language Pathology from Boston University, and her Ph.D. from Wayne State University.

Martin Baum, JD - I serve as a mediator and facilitator, and arbitrator on a variety of legal conflicts and lawsuits.   I have had a wide variety of litigation experience.  In my 58 years as a lawyer, I have specialized in litigation. I have probably handled every kind of case that comes before a trial judge of general jurisdiction. I understand the nature of peaceful resolution of conflict.  My experience with the American Jewish Committee, especially as Michigan president from 2000 - 2002, which of course included the period during and after 9-11-2001, has taught me the nature of peaceful resolution of human conflict.  Most important:  I understand the process.  I know how to advise and resolve conflict.  I have been member of the MI Autism Council since 2021; and an avid supporter of the Autism Alliance of MI.

Krista Boe, M.A., BCBA, LBA (she/her/hers) - Krista is a passionate and dedicated clinician with extensive strategic health care executive leadership experience. She has served diverse patient populations, across a multitude of care settings, and as a member of highly cross-functional teams for more than 15 years. She currently serves as the Chief Clinical and Compliance Officer at Acorn Health, a provider of applied behavior analysis (ABA) delivering quality care for individuals diagnosed with autism across seven states. Previously, Krista served dually diagnosed individuals at an Intermediate Care Facility, and as an independent consultant in a community waiver-based setting. Krista was a board member for the Heartland Association for Behavior Analysis, and the Nebraska Association for Behavior Analysis. She began her work with Autism Centers of Michigan (ACM), an Acorn Health Company, in 2015, as Clinical Director of Northern Michigan operations, and later served as Chief Clinical Officer. In 2018, Krista was appointed to the Michigan Autism Council, representing certified behavior analysts throughout the state. Krista earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Biology from Central Michigan University, and a Master’s Degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Western Michigan University.

Jacob Daar, PhD, LBA, BCBA-D - Jacob Daar, of Marquette, received Bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Sociology at the University of South Florida, an M.A. in Applied Behavior Analysis at the University of South Florida, and his PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences from the Behavior Analysis and Therapy program at Southern Illinois University.  He is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst at the Doctorate Level and a Licensed Behavior Analyst.  Dr. Daar is an associate professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences at Northern Michigan University and where he teaches a variety of coursework on behavioral health topics including behavior assessment, treatment, and application of theory.  Dr. Daar is also the Director of the Behavior Education Assessment and Research (BEAR) Center where he oversees multiple service and practicum training programs including the Comprehensive Behavior Support Program.  As the founding and incoming President of Upper Peninsula Association for Behavior Analysis, Dr. Daar has worked to improve service availability and professional workforce capacities in the across the UP region of Michigan.  Dr. Daar's research focuses on promoting emergent verbal repertoires, improving language acquisition programming, and enhancing behavioral support procedures.  Dr. Daar serves on the state of Michigan's Autism Council, where he represents the state university programs.

Brian DeBano, MPA - Brian represents the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) on the Council.  He is currently the Director of the Licensing Division for the Bureau of Professional Licensing (BPL). BPL is responsible for licensing health professionals under the Michigan Public Health Code as well as licensing various professionals under Michigan’s Occupational Code. This includes the licensing of Applied Behavior Analysts. Brian has worked in and around Michigan state government for over 30 years. He started his career in the legislature, has worked in the Governor’s office, for the Secretary of State and now for LARA. He also has non-profit experience having served for four years as the CEO of the Michigan Restaurant Association. Brian received his BA from Michigan State University and Masters in Public Administration from Western Michigan University.

Emily DeLaGarza, PIR - Emily DeLaGarza is the Life & Health Insurance Complaint Manager in the Office of Consumer Services at the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS). In this role, she is responsible for overseeing a team of complaint analysts working to resolve consumer complaints and ensuring licensees are complying with state and federal law. She joined DIFS in 1999 and has worked in various roles in the department during her tenure, including Senior Life & Health Complaint Analyst and Health Insurance Resource Specialist. Ms. DeLaGarza earned her Professional in Insurance Regulation designation through the National Association of Insurance Commissioners.


Phil Kurdunowicz, MHSA - Phil Kurdunowicz is a division director within the Bureau of Children's Coordinated Health Policy and Supports at the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Phil oversees the development of policy and management of Medicaid-funded behavioral health services to children, youth, and families. He has also led a series of other initiatives within the department over the last decade including projects related to the Medicaid program, behavioral health services, long-term supports and services, and health information sharing. Phil graduated from the University of Michigan with a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy in 2010 and a Master of Health Services Administration in 2017.

Dana R. Lasenby, MBA, MA LLP - Dana Lasenby is a Behavioral Health Care Executive and Limited Licensed Psychologist with more than 28 years of experience in the public and private sectors of the behavioral healthcare industry. Her unique administrative, clinical, managerial, and operational skills and attributes are critical to managing one of the largest public community mental health systems. Lasenby's extensive expertise is the foundation for the vital role of Executive Director and CEO of Oakland Community Health Network (OCHN). Under her guidance, OCHN identifies, influences, and delivers services to more than 29,000 Oakland County residents. These individuals include adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), adults with serious mental illness (SMI), children with serious emotional disturbance (SED), and individuals with substance use disorders (SUD). In addition to overseeing OCHN's administrative staff of approximately 200 people, Dana works closely with the organization's service provider agencies, Board of Directors, people receiving services, community partners, and state legislators. She ensures concerns are addressed, solutions are initiated, and Oakland County citizens needing behavioral health assistance receive quality services promoting independence, inclusion, and equality. Dana holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Michigan State University, a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Western Michigan University, a Master of Business Administration from the University of Phoenix, and a doctoral student in industrial-organizational psychology from Walden University. 

Amy Matthews, Ph.D., LP, BCBA - Amy Matthews is a Professor of Psychology at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) and has served as the director of the START Project, funded by the Michigan Department of Education-Office of Special Education, for over 22 years. The START Project is focused on a statewide collaborative effort to make systems level changes to improve the educational programming and quality of life for students with autism and their families. Dr. Matthews has extensive experience providing training to educators, service providers, and families and promoting opportunities for coordination among partners supporting students. In 2011, she chaired the committee to write the first Michigan Autism Spectrum Disorder State Plan, and in 2018, she chaired the workgroup to review progress and update the ASD State Plan recommendations. Dr. Matthews is a licensed psychologist and a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). She teaches courses in the GVSU School Psychology Graduate Program, specifically the embedded Applied Behavior Analysis courses.

Rebecca McIntyre, MEd - Rebecca McIntyre, of Rockford, will represent the Michigan Department of Education. She currently serves as the Assistant Director of the Office of Special Education within the Michigan Department of Education. Ms. McIntyre has previously served as the Assistant Director of Special Education at Kent Intermediate School District, the chair of the Kent Collaborative Autism Network, a member of the Council for Exceptional Children, a member of the Executive Board for the Michigan Association of Administrators in Special Education, and a member of the Board of Trustees for Noorthoek Academy. She has undergraduate and graduate degrees in elementary education, with endorsements in the areas of cognitive impairments and specific learning disabilities, and administrator certification from Grand Valley State University in addition to her director approval.

Jenny Piatt, MA, LPC - Jenny Piatt is the director of the Business Network Division, responsible for all programmatic, promotional, and employer-related activities within Michigan Rehabilitation Services.  She leads a full-service/state-wide disability management and business relations program for the achievement of customer satisfaction and long-term employer relational goals.  Her vision for the future is one of partnerships, unlimited career opportunities for persons with disabilities, and expanding disability-employment supports to our business community. Jenny also serves as Michigan’s representative on the National Employment Team (NET) for State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR). This team was established to create a “one company” approach to serving business customers through a national VR team that specializes in employer development, business consulting and corporate relations.  Jenny earned her bachelor’s degree from Wayne State University in biological science, her master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling from Michigan State University and is a Licensed Professional Counselor in the State of Michigan.

Raymie Postema - Raymie Postema is the Director of the MDHHS Office of Recipient Rights. Raymie has been with MDHHS-ORR for 25 years.  She has worked as a rights specialist assessing Community Mental Health rights systems and directed the MDHHS hospital investigation unit for over 15 years.  Raymie has also been an active member of the Recipient Rights Officers Association of Michigan since 1990.

Jeanette M. Scheid MD, PhD - Dr. Scheid is a board certified general and child and adolescent psychiatrist and Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Michigan State University. She provides psychiatric treatment in partnership with children and their families in the Community Mental Health system.  She has a long-standing interest in the issues faced by children and youth who have been exposed to trauma.  Since 2012, she has served under contract as the Medical Consultant for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, Children’s Services Administration in the Child Welfare Medical and Behavioral Health Unit, where she works to support the health and wellbeing of children involved with child welfare. Dr. Scheid is an active member of the American Psychiatric Association, Michigan Psychiatric Society, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the Michigan Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the Michigan Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics.

Neelkamal Soares, MD - Dr. Soares is a Fellowship-trained, Board-certified Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician, with expertise and experience in caring for children and adolescents with a broad spectrum of learning, behavioral, and developmental disabilities. He is currently Adjunct Professor of Pediatrics, University of Michigan, and Professor of Biomedical Informatics, Western Michigan University Homer Stryker MD School of Medicine. He has expertise in telehealth, autism spectrum disorder and medical education, has served on the Board of directors for Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics, and has invited and research presentations nationally and internationally.

Steven W. Tunnicliff, PhD - Dr. Steven Tunnicliff serves as the Superintendent of the Genesee Intermediate School District (GISD). Prior to this role, he served as a teacher, coach, principal, assistant superintendent, and superintendent at the local district level before joining the GISD, as Associate Superintendent, in 2016. Dr. Tunnicliff has a passion for public education, and especially for meeting the unique needs of all children. This passion is fulfilled at GISD through its many programs supporting children and families from birth through age 26. Through strong collaboration, the GISD, its 21 local school districts and 14 public school academies, are providing the very best educational opportunities for families in Genesee County. Dr. Tunnicliff serves on the Board of Directors of numerous regional and statewide initiatives, including the Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators (President Elect). As the parents of a child with autism, Dr. Tunnicliff and his wife are strong advocates for meeting the needs of all individuals impacted by autism.

Francisco Vaca - I am a dedicated self-advocate currently serving as the Coordinator for Leaders for Inclusion at the Michigan Disability Rights Coalition. In addition to my primary role, I actively contribute to the advancement of the sexuality initiative at the Michigan Developmental Disability Council, showcasing my commitment to fostering inclusivity and awareness. Furthermore, during my personal time as an autistic advocate, I engage in peer education endeavors, particularly focusing on Elevatus training, collaborating with various ARC chapters across Michigan. My multifaceted involvement reflects my passion for promoting the rights and well-being of individuals with disabilities, emphasizing the importance of education, inclusivity, and empowerment. Through these initiatives, I strive to contribute to a more equitable and understanding society, fostering positive change for those within the neurodivergent community.