The Boggs Center Celebrates 40th Year with Anniversary Colloquium

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Group photo of Boggs Center celebrating 40th year anniversary

The Boggs Center celebrated its 40th year as New Jersey’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities with a 40th Anniversary Colloquium, held on May 31st in New Brunswick. The event focused on the Center’s lifespan approach and highlighted its contributions to the developmental disabilities community.

Sally Radovick, MD, Professor, Henry Rutgers Term Chair, and Senior Dean for Clinical and Translational Research, kicked off the event with greetings from the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School (RWJMS) Department of Pediatrics, and a proclamation marking this important milestone was presented to the Center on behalf of the New Jersey legislature by Petra Gaskins, representing Sen. Andrew Zwicker.

State, community, and university partners were invited to share reflections on their history of collaboration with the Center. Remarks from state agency partners were provided by: Sarah Adelman, Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services; Kathleen Ehling, Assistant Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Education, Division of Educational Services; and Mollie Greene, Assistant Commissioner, New Jersey Department of Children and Families, Children’s System of Care. The unique role of the Center and collaborative efforts to fulfill complementary missions with its partner programs authorized under the federal Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act were described in remarks by Paul Blaustein, Chair of the New Jersey Council on Developmental Disabilities, and Gwen Orlowski, Executive Director of Disability Rights New Jersey. The Center’s longstanding relationship with SPAN Parent Advocacy Network was captured in reflections shared by Executive Director Carolyn Hayer. Alfred Tallia, MD, MPH, Professor and Chair of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health, Rutgers RWJMS, brought congratulations and praise for the Center’s contributions to the education of medical students and provision of patient-centered healthcare to adults with developmental disabilities.

Four presentations underscored the Center’s lifespan approach and mission to promote the self-determination and full participation of people with disabilities and their families in all aspects of community life. “Possibilities on the Horizon,” a video and live interview with Ginny Bryant, Esq., Chair of the Center’s Consumer Advisory Council and her daughter Rachel Bryant, high school student and YouTuber, demonstrated the personal impact of their enduring involvement with the Center. Sheryl White-Scott, MD, FAAIDD, FACP, Assistant Clinical Professor, Department of Medicine, New York Medical College, Medical Specialist, Metro DDSO, New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, and Senior Medical Advisor for AHRCNYC, presented “Living Full Lives: Primary Care, Public Health, and Health Equity.” Manuel Jimenez, MD, MS, FAAP, Director of Research at The Boggs Center, Associate Professor of Pediatrics & Family Medicine and Community Health, Rutgers RWJMS, and Developmental Pediatrician at Children’s Specialized Hospital presented “Relational Health, Pediatrics, and the Family Voice: Where are We and How Do We Move Forward?”

The event culminated with, “Making the Ideal Real: Love and Policy,” remarks from Deborah M. Spitalnik, PhD, Founding Executive Director of The Boggs Center and Professor of Pediatrics & Family Medicine and Community Health, Rutgers RWJMS.