News

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

January 12, 2021 | Comments Off on 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 aking@iahdny.org.

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

December 18, 2020 | Comments Off on 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 aking@iahdny.org.

The Time is NOW

October 5, 2020 | Comments Off on 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:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
September 30, 2020
Contact:  Mary Mueller 914-980-1267; Mary.F.Mueller@gmail.com

**STATEMENT**

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) –  https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Q_GeXgB5CCA_J-dI0MJG8x75s7fH8sX7/view?usp=sharing

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.

PLEASE MAKE PHONE CALLS!!!
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

September 11, 2020 | Comments Off on IAHD Day Habilitation Reopening Plans – Phase 1
welcome back sign

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)

ACT NOW!!!

September 4, 2020 | Comments Off on ACT NOW!!!
Take Action Roadsign - NY State logo

Oppose the 20% Withhold of I/DD Funding

THE ISSUE:

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

THE ADVOCACY:

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.

PHONE CALLS:

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

June 18, 2020 | Comments Off on 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
CEO

OPWDD Interim Visitation Guidance

During these troubled times

June 3, 2020 | Comments Off on During these troubled times
multi hands embrace

Our country is going through one of the most difficult times in our history.

As we approach the tail end of battling a pandemic which has killed more than 100,000 Americans, we come face to face with the harsh realities of racial and social inequalities plaguing our law enforcement and justice systems. The unconscionable and brutal killing of George Floyd as he repeatedly cried, “I CAN’T BREATHE” at the hands of a police officer, is a stark reminder that our nation has much more to do to ensure the human and civil rights of all Americans, particularly those of people of color. IAHD has always fought for the disenfranchised in our society; those who have been invisible and marginalized.

Today, we also stand with the countless victims who have suffered grave injustices
at the hands of those in power.

We stand with people of color who are the victims of racial bias in our law enforcement and justice systems every day. We stand with those protesting the evils of racism and the most recent heinous act which resulted in Mr. Floyd’s death.

IAHD will not remain silent, standing alongside those demanding systemic change.

However, we do not condone violence as a means to an end.

We must use our anger and passion to impact change in a productive and constructive way. It is our hope that this most recent tragedy ignites a passion and commitment to examine and alter the underlying systems which have led to suffering and countless unnecessary deaths.

IAHD stands ready to work with those committed to making these critical changes. We stand for justice for people with disabilities and people of color, but of course, social justice must be realized for ALL people who are marginalized in our society.

Omayra Andino
Chief Executive Officer

Looking toward the Future

May 18, 2020 | Comments Off on Looking toward the Future
person jumping across revine

As we begin to look toward the future in our country, state and in our own personal lives, IAHD has begun to prepare for the re-opening of programs and offices.  One thing is for sure; We will never go back to “business as usual.” We have lost people we support, staff and colleagues and we have also been impacted by the loss of long time beloved board member, Mary Bonsignore. 

Mary was a fierce advocate for more than 50 years.  She fought for the rights of people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, including her son, Michael.
Mary was a dedicated member of IAHD’s Board of Directors for decades and she was the co-founder of parent led groups, including United Today, Organize Parents of Impaired to Action (UTOPIA) and Parent Action Committee for People with Developmental Disabilities, Inc. (a/k/a “The Mom Squad”).  She played a key role on The Bronx Developmental Disabilities Council, and chaired its Family Support Committee. Mary continued her advisory work with the NY State Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs, and Services for the Developmentally Challenged (SDC).
Her presence will be greatly missed, but her legacy lives on. Rest in Peace, Mary
Mary Bonsignore’s family is not having any services at this time due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
Condolence cards can be sent to:
Anthony Bonsignore
210 West 251 Street, Apt 5H
Bronx, New York 10471

Although this pandemic has wreaked havoc over the last 8 weeks, it has brought us together in new and innovative ways. Staff has pulled together and made sacrifices beyond the call of duty and families & loved ones are expressing gratitude and appreciation like never before.

Some Good News 

  • Nearly 90% of the staff who tested positive have recovered and returned to work
  • The isolation sites we have set up are currently empty
  • More than 2 weeks has passed since we have had a positive test for COVID-19

We realize we are not out of the woods yet, but we are grateful for a moment to take a breath, reflect and plan for the future. 
No matter what comes our way, we remain IAHD STRONG!

Omayra Andino
CEO

Our New Normal

April 20, 2020 | Comments Off on Our New Normal
Color photo of tree in bloom over empty branches

It’s been 92 days since the first person tested positive for COVID-19 in the U.S. and 51 days since the first positive in NY. It seems like an eternity when we could freely walk about in the community with no restrictions on doing the things in life that brought us together like dinner at our favorite restaurant or a movie with friends on a Friday night. Those events have turned into zoom dinners with friends and Netflix nights on the couch.

While the challenges we are facing as we settle into a new “norm” has left many feeling lonely and even depressed, for the people we support the challenge is even greater. Challenges that the staff face daily as they navigate the mental health impact of this pandemic on society and directly on the people they support. The continued struggle to keep up with the need for PPE is at the forefront of every conversation as we work hard to keep people healthy and COVID-19 free.

Out of this adversity, however, innovation and re-imagined system designs are born: telecommuting, telemedicine and other technological advances have smacked us in the face and have catapulted us into the deep end of the pool we once gingerly dipped our toe into for fear we weren’t ready to jump in. A few weeks back the conversation was strictly about number of hospitalizations, intubations and people in ICU. While we still have 65 people we support showing COVID-19 like symptoms, 17 of whom have tested positive (2 sadly passed away) and 46 staff who’ve tested positive (thankfully 19 have already recovered and returned to work), we see the flattening of the curve in NY as well as at IAHD, and we are grateful.

Testing

IAHD is fortunate to have been able to secure 20 rapid tests, which we will administer at one of our high risk homes. The test will not only determine if one is positive, it will also let us know if people were ever positive and if they have developed the antibodies to the virus, which would make them immune to it. This will help us make more informed decisions; Decisions that will help to minimize exposure to some of our most vulnerable individuals and to staff.

Funding

As noted today by Governor Cuomo during his daily briefing, NY state’s budget will be determined by Federal Funding. To date, the CARES Act contains no funding to offset shortfalls we will have to face in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. We, along with other providers and associations are making our voices heard in Albany. The National Governors’ Association is also asking for $500B in state aid to minimize cuts to much needed programs as well as hospitals and schools.

In the meantime, the amazing staff at IAHD keep showing up, on most days with a smile, and letting people know that through it all, we are here for them. In the end, that is what truly matters; that the people we support and care for know they are not in this alone.

Omayra Andino
CEO

IAHD in the News:

IAHD was recently featured on NY News channel 11 WPIX about how the organization has led the charge against the COVID-19 pandemic and how it has affected the Direct Support Professionals who continue in their commitment to the care of the people with I/DD who they support:
CLICK HERE TO WATCH the News 11 segment about IAHD’s fight against the CoronaVirus.

For Additional Helpful Information, Please visit these resources:

NY State Department of Health

Center for Disease Control

Westchester County.gov

An Update from IAHD’s CEO

April 11, 2020 | Comments Off on An Update from IAHD’s CEO
Overcase sky transforms into sunny day

We are settling into a new normal at IAHD.

People are getting used to new routines. Unfamiliar faces are becoming new friends, talks of isolation and quarantine sites have become a part of our new world.

Life is somewhat solemn as we reflect on the lives of people who have succumbed to a disease that, only a few weeks ago, was something we heard about in the news, but couldn’t imagine would impact us all in such a catastrophic way.

To date, IAHD has had 13 people we support test positive for COVID-19. Two have passed away. The most heartbreaking thing to experience for many is the inability to pay homage to a loved one. Not being able to hold a service to come together & say our final goodbyes has devastated us. We look forward to the day when we can come together and pay tribute to those we have lost.

We have also had 35 of our HEROES, the staff who are on the front lines… Direct Support Professionals, Nurses, Managers and Assistant Managers and other support staff test positive. We are grateful that all are recovering and six people have already returned to work.

Although this has been a devastating few weeks, we remain hopeful for a better and stronger future. We have been and continue to show that human resiliency is strong and that in the face of adversity we overcome by banding together.

We, at IAHD, are grateful for the support we have received from our Board of Directors, our friends in the I/DD community and supporters just looking to give back. Thank you!

We pray that those of you observing the religious holidays find a moment of peace during Passover and Easter.

Omayra Andino
CEO

For more information on how the CoronaVirus has impacted our community, read The NY Times Article here: “It’s Hit Our Front Door: Homes for the Disabled See a Surge of Covid-19″