Board of Directors

RICK RADER, MD, President

Dr. Rick Rader is the Director of the Morton J. Kent Habilitation Center at Orange Grove in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Dr. Rader functions as a medical futurist in trying to predict the future medical problems of individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities as they age. He is crossed trained in both internal medicine and medical anthropology. He is the Editor in chief of Exceptional Parent Magazine, the world's most highly respected magazine devoted to parents and professionals raising and supporting individuals with significant and complex disabilities. Under his tutelage the magazine has won innumerable prestigious awards for editorial excellence. Dr. Rader is the President elect of the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry and a Fellow of the American Association on Mental Retardation. He was the first appointed Special Liaison for Family Healthcare Concerns at the Presidents Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. Dr. Rader is a past recipient of the Exceptional Physician of the Year Award granted by parents of children with special needs. He has authored over 50 articles on neurodevelopmental disabilities and has lectured extensively all over the world on the dynamics of the special needs community. Dr. Rader was a member of the Surgeon General's Task Force on Healthcare Disparities for People with Mental Retardation as well as serving as a consultant to the NIH's Office on Rare Diseases. He serves as a medical consultant to Special Olympics. He is an adjunct professor of Human Development at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga as well as serving on the Genetics Advisory Board for the State of Tennessee. He serves on the board of the American Association on Health and Disabilities. He was the first physician elected as an honorary member of the Developmental Disabilities Nurses Association. He is a member of the New York Academy of Science.

GILLIAN HOTZ, PhD., Secretary and Treasurer

Dr. Gillian Hotz is the Co-Director of Pediatric Neurotrauma Program UM/JMMC. Assistant Professor Daughtry Family Department of Surgery and the Director of the Snoezelen Program, Miami. Dr. Hotz has been involved in clinical and research activities for adults and children with brain injury for over 15 years. She has authored many articles, developed neurocognitive assessments for traumatic brain injury and presented at many international and national conferences. She is currently studying Snoezelen therapy for children with severe brain injury. Dr. Hotz holds a BSc in Psychology, MSc in Speech Pathology and a Ph.d in behavioral Neuroscience from Boston University School of Medicine. Dr. Hotz is a member of the Florida Injury Prevention Advisory Committee, the Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program: Research/Outcomes Committee, the Florida Committee on Trauma, American Society of Neurorehabilitation, International Neurotrauma Society, The American Psychological Association, The American Speech Language Hearing Association, The Brain Injury Association, and the Aspen Neurobehavioral Group:Pediatric TBI Group.


Irma Alvarez has practiced as a classroom assistant, classroom teacher and school director in the educational field for the past 19 years. Since 1998 Irma has facilitated the National Association for the Education of Young Children accreditation at her schools. For the past 11 years her role has been as school director of Arc Project Thrive Early Intervention Program serving children with varying exceptionalities. Arc Project Thrive is dedicated to providing an educational component integrated with speech, occupational and physical therapies for children ages birth through 5 years of age. In 2006 Irma was instrumental in the opening of the first MSE room as an enhancement of services for the children in the program. Currently, with the support of Dr Gillian Hotz, Ph. D. and Louis and Yetta Hotz, a second MSE room is open and serving the population in the community. During the past 6 years she has overseen teachers and therapists gathering data to substantiate the support which the MSE is providing in helping the children achieve their developmental goals.


Dr. Christopher Giza is an Associate Professor of Pediatric Neurology and Neurosurgery at the Mattel Children’s Hospital and David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. His expertise is in the field of traumatic brain injury (TBI), particularly pediatric TBI, and he is actively involved in both clinical and basic neuroscience research. His research focuses on developmental neuroscience, molecular biology, recovery of function and neuroplasticity and is supported by grants from the Thrasher Research Foundation, NCAA and NIH. He directs the UCLA Pediatric TBI-Sports Concussion Program and has served as Vice-Chair for the California State Athletic Commission.  In 2011, Dr. Giza traveled to Afghanistan as a civilian advisor with the Department of Defense to review implementation of mild TBI management guidelines.   He currently Co-Chairs the American Academy of Neurology’s committee developing an evidence-based Practice Parameter for Management of Sports Concussions.  Dr. Giza received his bachelors degree in Biochemistry from Dartmouth College and his M.D. from West Virginia University. His internship was at the University of Pennsylvania and his neurology residency and postgraduate fellowships were completed at UCLA. He served as a member of the Yosemite National Park Search and Rescue team for two summers.


Dawn Griswold, LBSW, M.Ed. Social Worker for Hospice of Chattanooga, coordinator and trainer for Lifesense program, a multi-sensory program working with hospice patients with dementia.  Social Worker of the year for the Tennessee Association of Healthcare Social Workers for 2011, president of local chapter of Tennessee Association for Healthcare Social Workers.  Presenter of multi-sensory environments in 2010 International Alzheimers Conference in Hawaii.


Howard Kaplan is a behavior analyst and licensed psychologist who is in private consulting practice in New York City. He has worked in the field of Intellectual Disabilities with adults for over 25 years.Dr. Kaplan graduated with a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from the City University of New York and currently consults with several graduate programs on the topics of research design, statistics, single subject and time series analysis. He is the author of several articles about people with Intellectual and developmental Disabilities and multi-sensory environments.


Dr. Janice Ryan received her Doctor of Occupational Therapy degree from Creighton Univerisity in 2007, Master of Occupational Therapy from Texas Women's University in 1985 and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Marshall University in 1980. During her career, practice focuses have been in the area of cognitive and mental health, neuro-rehabilitation and developmental challenges across the lifespan. Her current practice areas include dementia, special needs adults and well-cognitive aging. She developed The Social-Spiritual Model of Relationship-based Memory Care (2009), currently embedded in assisted living communities throughout the southeast and in California. Janice is currently an adjunct professor in University of Tennessee Health Sciences Center, Department of Occupational Therapy, where she leads research groups and teaches students about the neurological aspects of occupational performance and the outcome benefits of using treatment enhancement tools such as the multi-sensory environment.


Dr. Martha Summa-Chadwick is Executive Director of the non-profit organization Music Therapy Gateway In Communications, Inc. (MTGIC) in Chattanooga, TN. MTGICs mission is to provide quality Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) in the form of one-on-one sessions and web-based software, thus making NMT universally available at little or no charge to families who would not otherwise have access to such therapies. Dr. Summa-Chadwick leads the software development effort to automate the NMT techniques and has completed Fellowship training in the Academy of Neurologic Music Therapy at Colorado State University. In addition, she teaches at the Cadek Conservatory of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.


Barbara graduated from Hartwick College with a BA in Psychology and from the State University of New York at Albany with an MS in Rehabilitation Counseling. She has specialized in the field of Psychiatric Rehabilitation, and has worked in this field for over 30 years, both with adults, adolescents and children. She currently directs Rehabilitation Services at a Psychiatric Facility in upstate New York. She became interested in MSE in late 2005, when she began to explore the uses and values of this approach in conjunction with the opening of a new child and adolescent treatment unit. After visiting several programs and consulting with experts in the field, Ms. Vartanian became convinced of the potential value of the MSE with individuals with psychiatric illness. In 2006, Ms. Vartanian was instrumental in establishing an MSE within this new Child and Adolescent Unit at a Psychiatric facility in upstate New York, one of the first such programs within the NYS mental health system. Ms. Vartanian has been actively involved in directing and developing this new program, with the goal of expanding the program to include an MSE within the adult and geriatric services. 


Advisory Board (non-voting)

ANTHONY McCROVITZ - ISNA Board member liaison

Dr. Anthony M. McCrovitz began his career in social service as a classroom paraprofessional. Through a scope of subsequent experience, in roles of direct caregiving to directorship, he has become acutely aware of the inherent need for interdependence. He is the Founder and Executive Director of Globe Star, an agency of caring professionals providing personalized, meaningful support to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Tony is also a leader in human service. Based on the principles of Dr. John McGee's Gentle Teaching, he developed a model for discovering the values intrinsic to each individual's quality of life. Today he mentors a spirit of gentleness in teaching crewmembers to implement Quality of Life Plans. He has presented his model nationally and internationally and is the author of The Quality of Life Manual, a guide to interdependent caregiving and a co-author of a child's book with his wife, Amanda, along with other material that mentors a spirit of gentleness. Dr. McCrovitz has been associated with the Gentle Teaching Community for many years with his wife Amanda, and children: Anthony, John Paul and Gretta who have worked side by side with Dr. John McGee in Puerto Rico. Tony also teaches psychology as an Adjunct Professor at Purdue North Central University.


Linda Messbauer graduated from New York University with a Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy. She has extensive experience working in the field of Developmental Disabilities. Linda has worked in early childhood to adult services and has been a private consultant to both public service agencies and private corporations. She started her career in the field of Geriatrics some thirty years ago. In 1992, she established the first Multi-Sensory Environment in the United States at Lifespire, Inc. in New York and, since that time, has participated in research on the efficacy of the MSE approach to recreation, therapy, and education. A great believer in lifelong learning, she is currently pursuing an advanced diploma in Applied Behavior Management through the New York Institute for Applied Behavioral Management, Long Island, N.Y. Linda is a pioneer, an international speaker and trainer on the subject of Multi Sensory Environments