Barbara Wheeler, PhD, RN, Associate Director, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Barbara Yoshioka Wheeler has an undergraduate in Nursing and a doctorate in Special Education and is the Associate Director for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities programs for the University of Southern California University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (USC UCEDD) and Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics in the Keck School of Medicine at USC. She has a 30-year history with the UCEDD writing and administering grants and contracts that began with addressing barriers to full community inclusion for individuals with intellectual and related disabilities (i.e., service inclusion for students with disabilities; transition consultant to the LAUSD Chanda Smith Consent Decree in 2003; Project GUIDE training for law enforcement to interview victims with severe DD; co-development of a national program to train Special Education Advocates; providing disability consultation to California’s Americorps programs). Her current focuses on strengthening the parent and consumer voice in systems reform, and on addressing disparities in services for individuals with DD and their families from culturally and linguistically diverse groups, i.e., building the capacity of minority community-based disability organizations to become part of the fabric of the DD service system and organizing multi-cultural advocacy networks. Her research has focused on the inclusion of Latinos in bio-medical research on ASD and attempting to understand barriers to services for individuals at the intersections of race/ethnicity and disability. She is currently maintaining her collaboration with California State University Los Angeles (a minority serving institution) on Minority Pipeline programs to bring more racial, cultural and linguistically diverse students into higher education and to populate the workforce of the DD, healthcare, and related fields with leaders who reflect the rapidly changing demographics of our nation. At the policy level, she served on the President’s Committee on Mental Retardation for five-years during the Clinton administration, was the past Chair of the Multi-Cultural Council for the Association of University Centers on Disability, and a member of the Task Force on Equity and Diversity for the California Senate Select Committee on Autism and Related Disorders.