2022: The Year Ahead

enero 5, 2022 | Comentarios desactivados en 2022: The Year Ahead
People assisting up hill

As we look forward to a new year, we reflect on the year past and are grateful for the abundance of support, advocacy and determination of those who helped see IAHD through a second year of this challenging pandemic.

While the world braces for surges of variants of the Covid-19 virus, IAHD is at the forefront of pre-emptive measures to ensure the health and well-being of the people we support and our staff through updated protocols and procedures from vaccination/booster clinics, staffing practices, tele-med visits, facility sanitization, vendor deliveries and more.

IAHD is committed to follow CDC Guidelines, Federal & NYS Mandates as well as those of local government to maintain the health and safety of the individuals we support, our staff and communities. We must lean into the resilience we developed over the past two years and master our knowledge and ability on how best to protect ourselves and one another, collaborate more creatively, and do our best to eradicate a deadly virus.

The following links can offer additional information and updates:

Omayra Andino, CEO

IAHD celebrates their Direct Support Professionals

septiembre 13, 2021 | Comentarios desactivados en IAHD celebrates their Direct Support Professionals
DSP recognition logo

The Institutes of Applied Human Dynamics, Inc. (IAHD) shows appreciation for their
throughout the month of September 2021 (and beyond!)

In an industry that relies on the talents, dedication and compassion of it’s staff, IAHD – The Institutes of Applied Human Dynamics, Inc. has chosen to celebrate and honor it’s Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) for the entire month of September, whereas the national acknowledgement is only recognized for a week (Sept. 13 – Sept. 18). The work that IAHD’s staff of DSPs do is so important, a week simply was not enough time to show appreciation for all they do.

To kick off the Appreciation Celebration of DSPs, IAHD coordinated a zoom event for staff to enjoy a free concert featuring IAHD talent and special guests, scheduled for September 13th. The evening will consist of live music, live and pre-recorded messages from IAHD Board members and Leadership, and an overall expression of gratitude for the heart & backbone of the organization, who continually go above and beyond, and who consistently make a positive difference in the lives of the people we support.

The Appreciation Celebration continues throughout the month of September with raffles of incredible prizes, catered luncheons at the residences and Day Hab programs, as well as swag bags for staff members. In addition, the organization had banners and lawn signs made for each of the facilities, acknowledging and thanking the DSPs for their commitment and positive contributions to the organization. September 2021 (and beyond) will be an opportunity for the organization to truly acknowledge and appreciate those who do this incredibly selfless work. It is because of these very special people that we are able and proud to achieve our mission; Embracing Families, Enriching Lives.

To show your appreciation, a donation of any amount can be made in their honor at:

We can’t do what we do without them… or YOU!!!


febrero 17, 2021 | Comentarios desactivados en COVID-19 VACCINE Q&A
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From the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities

The COVID-19 Vaccine is an important, safe and effective tool in the fight against the COVID-19 virus.  COVID-19 is very serious and can cause severe medical complications that can lead to death in some people. 

The best way to protect yourself from COVID-19 is by getting the vaccine as soon as possible and taking other precautions, including practicing social distancing, continuing to wear a mask and washing your hands often and thoroughly.  The NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities is dedicated to ensuring that all employees are informed on vaccine administration. 
The attached Q&A document contains answers to commonly asked questions about the vaccine, with many of these questions coming from Direct Support Professionals (i.e. Essential Workers).

Q:  How was this vaccine developed so quickly when others have taken years before they’ve become available?

A:  Existing technology for creating vaccines is over three decades old and is well tested.   The speed of it is a reflection of the extraordinary scientific advances that have been made in technologies for the vaccines.  It was not at the expense of safety.  In addition, a vast amount of resources and money were put into the development and production of the vaccine so that it would be ready to give to people as soon ad the vaccine was shown to be safe and effective.   

Q:  What is an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA)?

A:   An EUA is allowed in instances where a public health threat is identified and there is no approved or adequate existing products (or vaccines).  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) carefully reviews all safety data from clinical trials and authorized emergency vaccine use only when the expected benefits outweigh potential risks. 

Q:  Can I get COVID-19 from the vaccine?

A:  No.  The vaccines being used in the United States do not contain the live virus that causes COVID-19.  This means that a COVID-19 vaccine cannot make you sick with the disease.

Q:  Will a COVID-19 vaccination protect me from getting sick with COVID-19?

A:  Yes.  The COVID-19 vaccination works by teaching your immune system how to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19.  Being protected from getting sick is important because even though many people with COVID-19 have only a mild illness, others may get a severe illness, have long-term health effects or even die.  There is no way to know how COVID-19 will affect you,

Q:  I had COVID-19 and recovered, do I still need to get vaccinated with a COVID-19 vaccine?

A:  Yes.  Due to the severe health risks associated with COVID-19 and the fact that reinfection with COVID-19 is possible, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had the COVID-19 infection.  If you were treated for COVID-19 symptoms with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma, you should wait 90 days before getting a COVID-19 vaccine.  If you are unsure of the type of treatment you received, you can talk with your physician.

Q:  What are the possible side effects of a COVID-19 vaccine?

A:  Some people may experience very mild side effects for a day or two after the vaccine.  This does not mean you are sick.  This is a good sign, because it means that your immune system is being activated to build up protections against the virus. . Side effects can include the following:

  • Pain, redness or swelling where the shot was given.
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle Pain
  • Chills
  • Joint Pain

Q:  Can I get a COVID-19 vaccine if I have a history of severe allergic reactions?

A:  If you have common allergies (e.g., cats/dogs, hay fever, dust or pollen), you should have no difficulties taking the vaccine,  If you have had a serious reaction to other vaccines or injectable medications, ask your doctor if you should get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Q:  Will the COVID-19 vaccine be an annual requirement? 

A:  We receive the Flu vaccine every year because the Flu virus changes quickly and rapidly.  It is not in its nature for the Coronavirus to change as quickly. However, we can get new strains.  The current vaccines are thought to be effective on the new strains currently seen out in the community.  It is currently too early to determine if the COVID-19 vaccine will be an annual requirement. 

For more information from the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, visit there website:

5 Vaccine Myths Explained

enero 21, 2021 | Comentarios desactivados en 5 Vaccine Myths Explained
Myth #1: We can’t trust COVID-19 vaccines because they were rushed

The first vaccines for COVID-19 do involve new technology, and they were developed in record time. But it’s not because there were shortcuts in the process. The new technology at the center of Pfizer’s and Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccines is called messenger RNA, a mRNA. While this is the first time it’s being widely used in a vaccine for the public, researchers have actually been working on this vaccine strategy for more than three decades.

Myth #2: The vaccine will give me COVID-19.

Vaccines prime your immune system to recognize and fight off a disease, but they don’t actually cause an infection. The first two COVID-19 vaccines that are available in the U.S. contain a strand of genetic material called mRNA. When the mRNA enters your cells, it instructs them to make a piece of the “spike” protein that’s present on the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Those protein pieces don’t actually harm your body, but they do trigger your immune system to mount a response to fight them off.

Myth #3: We don’t know what’s in these vaccines.

Both Pfizer and Moderna have published the ingredient lists for their vaccines. In addition to the star ingredient, the COVID-19 mRNA for the spike protein, both vaccines contain lipids (fats) that help deliver the mRNA into your cells and a few other common ingredients that help maintain the pH and stability of the vaccine. Despite theories circulated on social media, they do not contain microchips or any form of tracking device.

Myth #4: These vaccines will alter my DNA.

The vaccines use mRNA to instruct our cells to make a piece of the coronavirus’s hallmark spike protein in order to spark an immune system response. Once the mRNA does that, our cells break it dwn and get rid of it.

Myth #5: Since COVID-19’s survival rate is so high, I don’t need a vaccine.

It’s true that most people who get COVID-19 are able to recover. But it’s also true that some people develop severe complications. So far, more than 1.7 million people around the world have died from COVID-19 – and that doesn’t account for people who survived but needed to be hospitalized. Because the disease can damage the lungs, heart and brain, it may also cause long-term health problems that experts are still working to understand.

For more information or to visit its source:

The Institutes of Applied Human Dynamics (IAHD) Receives CQL Accreditation and Appoints New Leadership Roles

enero 12, 2021 | Comentarios desactivados en The Institutes of Applied Human Dynamics (IAHD) Receives CQL Accreditation and Appoints New Leadership Roles
compass face

Accreditation received for 2nd consecutive year despite pandemic challenges

Tarrytown, NY, January 11, 2021 – IAHD received Quality Assurance Accreditation from the Council of Quality and Leadership (CQL) for a second consecutive year despite the challenging hardships brought on by the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020. This internationally recognized designation affirms IAHD’s ongoing quest to be aligned with and practice the highest standards in human services.

“IAHD has built a solid foundation for improving services and the lives of those who receive them. This shift to focusing on quality enhancement strengthens that commitment. They’re putting in place specific action steps to ensure that their mission to ‘positively impact the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities’ stays at the forefront of their organizational focus.”

Katherine Dunbar, CQL Vice President of Accreditation.

This industry acknowledgement is coupled with the announcement of two senior positions added to the organization in its tireless pursuit for person-centric excellence. 

Elizabeth Matthews, Chief Quality Enhancement Officer – Ms. Matthews comes to IAHD with 13 years of experience in the intellectual and developmental disability field, beginning her career as Associate Counsel for NYSARC, Inc., an Associate Counsel position at OPWDD and onto VP of Administration with WellLife Network, Inc. As Chief Quality Enhancement Officer with IAHD, Ms. Matthews’ focus will be quality assurance and compliance matters, and to ensure that IAHD is providing the best services possible to the individuals IAHD supports and for their families. 

Gabi Opazo, Chief Innovation Officer – Ms. Opazo’s recent promotion from Director of Family Innovative Services is a testament to her 20+ years of experience within the fields of Developmental and Organizational psychology and working with people with disabilities. In her role as Chief Innovation Officer, Ms. Opazo will ensure IAHD’s continued commitment to person-centeredness to impact decisions that will lead to a better quality of life for everyone receiving supports. She will continue to collaborate with the IAHD Champions, a group of Self Advocates to make certain that the voice of people with disabilities is considered with any decision made within IAHD.

“IAHD is making a critical investment in person-centered development by creating these two new positions, Gabi Opazo as the Chief Innovation Officer and Elizabeth Matthews as the Chief Quality Enhancement Officer.  The mark of true person-centered work is to discover and nurture the contributions and callings of all the people supported and their allies. Together, these women in leadership positions will create countless fresh possibilities for the people of IAHD.”  

Beth Mount, Ph.D., industry thought-leader in person-centric philosophy

IAHD is a not-for-profit organization that provides a myriad of services and supports to more than 750 people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities throughout the Bronx and Westchester counties. 

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact
Amy King at 914-220-4300 or email at

The Institutes of Applied Human Dynamics (IAHD) appoints new Chairperson and welcomes newest Board members

diciembre 18, 2020 | Comentarios desactivados en The Institutes of Applied Human Dynamics (IAHD) appoints new Chairperson and welcomes newest Board members
press release image

Current Board Chairperson retires after
29 years of leadership

Tarrytown, NY, December 18, 2020 – IAHD appoints Matthew Kiamie as Chairperson of the Board of Directors effective, November 1, 2020.  Mr. Kiamie succeeds Mary K. St. Mark in her role of Chairperson of IAHD’s Board, as she steps down from the role after 29 years of service and leadership. Mr. Kiamie previously served on the Board as the 2nd Vice Chair.

IAHD’s commitment to ensuring families have a voice in the direction of the not-for-profit organization continues as it welcomes three new members to its Board of Directors:

Gloria Womack – IAHD remains committed to ensuring 51% of the Board of Directors is related to someone with I/DD and proudly welcomes Gloria Womack (Parent-Advocate) whose son has been a participant of IAHD’s day habilitation program for over 10 years.

Doris Figueroa – Doris Figueroa has worked in the field of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) for more than 30 years and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to IAHD’s core leadership.

John Carpenter – John Carpenter is a self-advocate who has received supports from IAHD for more than 10 years. He is the first member of the Board of Directors who represents people with I/DD.  As a member of IAHD’s Self-Advocacy group, the “IAHD Champions,” Mr. Carpenter’s long-time goal was to one day be a part of the leadership of IAHD. 

“I am grateful to have such an engaged and supportive board who is passionate about the work we do at IAHD. I appreciate Ms. St. Mark’s decades of leadership and advocacy as it has paved the way for the future of IAHD.  I look forward to working more closely with Mr. Kiamie as we advance our mission and am pleased with the new members joining our IAHD family,” says Omayra Andino, CEO.

“It is an honor to serve as Board Chairperson of IAHD.  I appreciate the many years of Mary St. Mark’s dedicated leadership in committing to successfully advance our mission.  I am excited to build on the progress and work together with Ms. Andino as well as our newest members, as we endeavor to continue to provide the highest quality services to individuals and their families,” added Matthew Kiamie, Board Chairperson.

IAHD is a not-for-profit organization that provides a myriad of services and supports to more than 750 people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities throughout the Bronx and Westchester Counties. 
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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Amy King at 914-220-4390 or email at

The Time is NOW

octubre 5, 2020 | Comentarios desactivados en The Time is NOW
The Time is Now

Thank you to Senator David Carlucci and the legislators working to protect vulnerable individuals in the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Community. Funding cuts are devastating many people supported as well as the essential workers they rely on. Further cuts will cause even further damage.

“The true measure of any society can be found in how it treats
its most vulnerable members.” – Mahatma Gandhi

Senator Carlucci’s statement issued September 30, 2020:

September 30, 2020
Contact:  Mary Mueller 914-980-1267;


NYS Senator David Carlucci on Group Home Funding Cuts 

Senator David Carlucci, Chair of the NYS Senate Mental Health & Developmental Disabilities Committee, said, “We need to be proactive, not reactive. If we do not fund nonprofit providers who offer our most vulnerable preventive services, then the future price tag will be far greater on taxpayers. On October 1st, OPWDD is set to slash their reimbursement payments to group homes when individuals go to the hospital, receive therapy or visit their family. The $4 billion in federal funding the State is holding on to could help lessen the blow of these harmful cuts and support our frontline heroes who care for our most vulnerable.”

Video from Virtual Press Conference on 9/29 where State lawmakers call on Governor Cuomo to release the remaining $4 billion from the Corona Virus Relief Fund (CRF), which New York received: (Senator David Carlucci Speaking) –

Link to Full Press Conference

Please contact the Governor by telephone to let him know you oppose the withholds because of the devastating impact this action will have on the lives of people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

To contact the Governor’s Office,
call (518) 474-1041 and leave this message:

“Governor Cuomo – Please release the remaining $4 billion from the Corona Virus Relief Fund (CRF), which New York received. If the funds are not provided, it will potentially hurt people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities by putting certain necessary services in jeopardy. Please release the $4 billion from the CRF immediately.
Thank you, Governor.”

Thank you.
Omayra Andino, CEO

IAHD Day Habilitation Reopening Plans – Phase 1

septiembre 11, 2020 | Comentarios desactivados en IAHD Day Habilitation Reopening Plans – Phase 1
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Beginning Monday, September 14, 2020, IAHD will begin to re-open its Day Habilitation programs in the first phase of its plan.

Click the links below for more information:

Tarrytown Day-Hab Facility (English)
Tarrytown Day-Hab Facility (Espanol)

Bainbridge Day-Hab Facility (English)
Bainbridge Day-Hab Facility (Espanol)


septiembre 4, 2020 | Comentarios desactivados en ACT NOW!!!
Take Action Roadsign - NY State logo

Oppose the 20% Withhold of I/DD Funding


The NYS Division of Budget (DOB) has directed state agencies to withhold 20% of funding to providers or certain Medicaid Programs.


Please contact the Governor by telephone to let him know you oppose the withholds because of the devastating impact this action will have on the lives of people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.


To contact the Governor’s Office, call (518) 474-1041 and leave this message:

“The recent directive by the Division of Budget to withhold 20% of State-only, non-Medicaid funds to providers will potentially hurt people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities by putting certain necessary services in jeopardy. Please direct the DOB to reverse the decision on the 20% withhold. Thank you, Governor.”

Visitation Resumes at Residential Facilities

junio 18, 2020 | Comentarios desactivados en Visitation Resumes at Residential Facilities
illustration of people wearing face mask

As most of you already know, Governor Cuomo has announced that visitation may resume at OPWDD certified homes and residential facilities.

The guidance that providers and visitors must follow has been posted to the OPWDD website and we have provided them below. As outlined in the guidance, we will be required to follow specific protocols and guidelines for visitation that take into account:

  1. Staffing
  2. Disinfection and infection controls
  3. Staggered visits to ensure social distancing
  4. Documentation of who is visiting the home
  5. Adequate PPE

In addition, all visitors will be required to take part in symptom and temperature checks, wear a mask, sanitize their hands upon arrival and perform meticulous hand hygiene throughout the visit. Visitation is encouraged to occur outside the facility if weather permits, with masks worn by all parties and with social distancing in place.

As always, our number one priority as we resume visitation is to continue to ensure the health and safety of the people we support and the community at large. IAHD has begun to work on procedures that will ensure the health and safety of everyone. Families will receive a letter from us further explaining our plans to make reunions for friends and family pleasant and safe.

Omayra Andino

OPWDD Interim Visitation Guidance