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DDA : autism_workgroup

Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) and the Department of Disabilities (DOD) Announces Membership of the Autism Workgroup

In response to the Maryland Commission on Autism’s report (released in September, 2012) Secretary Sharfstein (DHMH) tasked the Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) with convening an autism workgroup to improve the delivery of services to individuals with autism spectrum disorder within Maryland through better communication and coordination among stakeholders. The workgroup’s mission is as follows:

  1. Develop specifications (i.e. types of information) in order for a state autism website to be developed that would serve as an information hub and be helpful to providers, stakeholders, individuals and families.
  2. Identify resources that will be helpful to providers and health care professionals to improve resources to individuals on the autism spectrum
  3. Develop strategies to promote the sharing of information and make it more accessible and easier to use for all.

The following state and national experts have been appointed by Secretary Sharfstein to the Autism Workgroup.


Dr. Gayle Jordan-Randolph, Deputy for Behavioral Health and Disabilities, will co-chair the Autism Workgroup. Dr. Jordan-Randolph is a clinically trained child psychiatrist, adult psychiatrist and forensic psychiatrist and has extensive experience in Maryland’s behavioral health system.

Catherine A. Raggio, Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Disabilities, will co-chair the Autism Workgroup. Secretary Raggio has served in her current position since February 2007 and has an extensive leadership and advocacy background in the field of disabilities. She is the founder and former Executive Director of the center for independent living in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties and the former Executive Director of the MD Developmental Disabilities Council.


Meredith Pyle is the Program Chief, Systems Development for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs, Office for Genetics and People with Special Health Care Needs (DHMH). Ms. Pyle has been active in coordinating the Maryland Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities Planning Grant 2013 in conjunction with the Parents’ Place of Maryland and Pathfinders for Autism.

Pattie Archuleta, Family Partnerships Coordinator, Parents’ Place of Maryland is a parent of a youth with autism spectrum disorder. She has a background in family support and parent/professional partnerships relative to health-related programs and policy for children with special health care needs.

Zosia Zaks, M.Ed., CRC (Zaks Autism Consulting) is a self advocate who served on the Maryland Commission on Autism and co-chaired the Adult Services Workgroup. He has extensive personal and professional experiences with autism spectrum disorders.

Rebecca Rienzi is executive director of Pathfinders for Autism. For over 13 years, Pathfinders for Autism (PFA) has worked collaboratively with individuals, support groups, government agencies, institutions, advocacy and community groups to address the needs of individuals with autism and their families.

Andrew L. Egel, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Counseling, Higher Education and Special Education at the University of Maryland. He has been at the University of Maryland since 1979 and has served as a leader in the areas of autism and applied behavior analysis. Dr. Egel served on the Maryland Commission on Autism.

Eliezer Sollins, LGSW is a clinical social worker at Kennedy Krieger’s Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD). He works with Dr. Rebecca Landa, CARD Director and he will be sharing information with Dr. Landa and obtaining her insights/input.

Marjorie Shulbank, Chief, Family Support Section, Maryland State Department of Education, has been actively involved with issues related to autism for more than 20 years. She chaired the Autism Task Force, was involved with the Autism Summit and most recently was a member of the Maryland Commission on Autism. She has been involved with the Autism Waiver since its inception.

Elizabeth Benevides, Associate Director for Autism Programs, The Hussman Foundation is a parent of a 14 year old son with autism spectrum disorder. She has served as president and board member on the Howard County Autism Society and currently serves on the MCDD Community Advisory Council as well as MSDE’S Alt-MSA Stakeholder Advisory Committee.

Rachel London, Esq., Director, Children & Family Policy, Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council has extensive experience related to the services and supports children and adults with developmental disabilities, including autism need. She has represented the DD Council on numerous statewide workgroups, including the Autism Waiver Advisory Committee within the Maryland State Department of Education. In addition, she was appointed by the Governor as a member of the Maryland Commission on Autism.

Andrew Gaiser is the father of two boys, ages 7 and 8, on the autism spectrum. He has experience speaking before the Autism Technical Advisory Group for Habilitative Services Benefits and the Maryland Workgroup on Access to Habilitative Services Benefits as well as meeting with numerous State Delegates and Senators in regards to autism related topics.

The first meeting of the Autism Workgroup will be held at The Richard Trainor Conference Room, MDOT Headquarters, 7201 Corporate Center Drive, Hanover, Maryland 21076 on October 11, 2013 from 10:30A.M. to 12:30 P.M.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Michael A. Bluestone, Ph.D., BCBA-D, staff to the Autism Workgroup at 410-767-8691 or electronically at