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Diversity & Inclusion

Tourette Syndrome is a lifelong condition that affects all races, ethnicities, genders, and ages. We understand that intersectionality, which is the intersection of identities — gender, racial, ethnic, sexual, religious, disability, within the community creates added challenges that are real and pose a threat to equal access and care. In addition, we recognize and embrace the diverse makeup of our constituencies and acknowledge that in that order to fulfill our mission, we must better serve all populations affected by Tourette Syndrome and related Tic Disorders. Your voice matters – please continue raising awareness, sharing your stories, and making change.

Our goal is to ensure that everyone impacted receives equal access to programs, resources and support, as well as treatment and care regardless of age, race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, religion or income.

To support this, we have established inclusion efforts listed below to better understand and deliver programs nationally and to ensure that our mission delivery reflects the diverse needs of the TS and Tic Disorder community.

*The Committee

Dr. Capriotti is an Associate Professor of Psychology at San Jose State University. He has spent the past decade conducting research and providing clinical training and care in the TS space, with a focus on increasing access to effective, person-centered behavioral treatments. He also has an extensive experience in research, education, and activism related to LGBTQ health and well-being, including spending five years Associate Director of The PRIDE Study (pridestudy.org), serving as Faculty-In-Residence for San Jose State University’s Rainbow Village Community, and co-founding the SJSU to Zero HIV prevention campaign.

“To me, our work is about recognizing the present injustices in our healthcare landscape and taking action to create a more equitable picture. It’s about appreciating how our own “business as usual” practices can, and have, left out folks with TS who are marginalized because of their race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or other things about them. Most importantly, it’s about acting on that recognition to create a more inclusive, socially just future for TS education, clinical services, and research; I’m so excited to see where we take this work.”

Susan Courey, Ph.D. is currently the Department Chair of Early Childhood General and Special Education at the Touro Graduate School of Education in New York City. Susan works with faculty and adjuncts to improve and revise courses to include the most up-to-date evidence-based practices. Prior to joining the Touro Graduate School of Education in May 2016, Dr. Courey was an Associate Professor of Special Education and the Mild/Moderate Program Coordinator in the Department of Special Education at San Francisco State University. Recently awarded Professor Emerita at San Francisco State University, Dr. Courey continues to work with colleagues and doctoral students in the Bay Area. Her research interests are in the areas of mathematics and learning challenges, mathematics and music, teacher preparation, and Universal Design for Learning.

“Serving on the diversity committee offers me the challenging opportunity to find, serve, and support ALL individuals with Tourette Syndrome and Tic Disorders. As an educator and a parent of a child with Tourette Syndrome, I understand the lack of awareness on behalf of teachers and school administrators. It is my hope to increase awareness throughout the field of education to improve the quality of life for the diverse families and children affected by Tourette Syndrome and Tic Disorders.”

Marisela Dy-Hollins, M.D. is the Clinical Director of the Pediatric Movement Disorders Program at Massachusetts General Hospital. She also sees patients in the Massachusetts General Hospital Tourette Association of America Tourette Syndrome Center of Excellence. Her current research interests are in assessing social determinants of health in Tourette Syndrome for which she was awarded a 1-year clinical research training fellowship by the Tourette Association of America in 2019. Dr. Dy’s hope is to identify where disparities may exist and propose interventions to improve access and quality of care received by all individuals.
Designation: Clinical

“I am excited to be part of the Tourette Association of America Diversity Committee. It’s a wonderful opportunity to be part of a group that is focused on understanding the unique health care needs of our patients and families. Let’s embrace each other’s strengths and work together to bridge gaps for those who need it the most.”

Natalie Joseph-Pauline, MPH is the Education Project Manager at the Tourette Association of America (TAA). Within this role, Natalie manages multiple projects including the small grants program for the TAA Centers of Excellence and Chapters and Support Groups, as well as education and community workshops across the nation. In addition, she also manages the TAA Youth Ambassador Program and the Rising Leaders Program, which trains and supports teens and young adults to advocate for and talk about Tourette and Tic Disorders in their community. She also oversees the TAA Diversity Committee which goals include addressing health disparities by increasing education and awareness to more diverse audiences through culturally competent health communication, education resources and activities.
Natalie has a true passion for helping others. To this end, she is continually expanding on the various functional areas of her role to further develop the breadth of services that support the CDC team and TS education initiatives. Natalie is both a graduate from Stony Brook University with a Bachelor of Science and of Columbia University with a Master of Public Health.

“Working on the Diversity Committee brings a unique opportunity to embrace and uplift members of the TS and Tic Disorder community, who may not have always been a part of the conversation because of their race, gender, sexuality, gender identity, class status, etc.; giving them space to share. It is about acknowledging and addressing the disparities in education and healthcare which disproportionately impacts communities of color, low-income and rural populations. Most importantly, it is about us acting and doing our part to address these gaps and ultimately enhance the quality of life for all people with TS. I am proud of the work we have begun doing—and excited to see where we go!”

Brian T. Lane, M.A.E., B.M.E. (He/Him) is a school administrator and educator with 26+ years of experience having served students from pre-kindergarten through the collegiate levels. Brian is a member of the Tourette Association of America National Educational Advisory Board as well as the TAA Diversity Committee. Diagnosed at age seven with Tourette Syndrome, OCD, and several additional co-morbid conditions, Brian tries to set the example to all – especially young “ticcers” – that everyone can succeed regardless of their limitations and identity. He has served as a counselor and partner with the Tourette Syndrome Camp in northern Illinois and as a guest speaker and clinician for Tourette Syndrome advocacy throughout the country. Brian has served as an Assistant Principal, Dean of Students, Behavior Specialist, and is a choral music and theatre educator, clinician, guest conductor, performer, and accompanist. Currently, he serves as an educational professional at Stonybrook Middle School and Warren Central High School in Indianapolis, Indiana.

A native of Columbus, Indiana, Brian is a graduate of Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana with a Master of Arts in Education specializing in Building Level Leadership and Supervision. He received his Bachelor of Music Education specializing in Choral and General Music from Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington, Indiana. In his free time, Brian serves a volunteer firefighter/EMT, enjoys playing golf, is an IHSAA Official in Basketball, Baseball, and Track/Cross Country, and is a former part-time police officer.

Brian is excited to serve on the TAA Diversity Committee. He identifies as an out and proud gay man with Tourette Syndrome. His mission is to provide a clear vision and pathway for the diverse Tourette and LGBTQIA+ communities while tirelessly advocating for everyone from youth through adult in however, whenever, and whatever ways he is able. Brian wants to insure there are more resources and opportunities available than there was for him growing up. He is always available to be contacted at blanetaaeab@gmail.com or by business cell at 317-886-8232.

Leo is the program associate responsible for maintaining the Research and Medical programs. This includes running the training institute, the TS-BTI, across the country, managing the National Centers of Excellence program and functioning as their point of contact, running the annual grants application process, and coordinating the annual MAB/CofE Meeting. As a speaker of multiple languages, he uses his background to advocate for speakers of other languages within TAA programming and serve communities skipped over by monolingual programming. He completed a BA Modern Languages in Russian and Spanish at University College London 2016 before going on to pursue a Masters of Science in Latin American Development and Globalization. His masters research straddled the intersections of climate change science, public policy and political economy in the Southern Cone region. Leo has long been passionate about linguistic diversity and the rights of speakers of other languages and minorities, and he brings this passion to his work at the Tourette Assocation of America.

“When I found out about the Diversity Committee I was immediately inspired to learn more about what we can do to expand access to our resources and support networks amongst communities that we are not reaching. In my role as program associate, I have been able to expand the collection of demographic data across our Centers of Excellence and put together a list of multi-lingual healthcare providers that is better able to serve speakers of other languages. Working on the committee means doing everything I can to listen to people from backgrounds different from my own, it means striving to improve data collection so that we can identify and address gaps in our programming, and most of all, it means championing Diversity and Inclusion principles at every possible opportunity, in every aspect of my work and daily life.”

Emily Ricketts, Ph.D. is a Clinical Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). She received her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Dr. Ricketts joined the UCLA Child OCD, Anxiety, and Tic Disorders Program as a postdoctoral clinical research fellow in 2014. Her research centers broadly on clinical characteristics and behavioral treatment of Tourette’s disorder and body-focused repetitive behavior disorders. However, her recent work emphasizes sleep and circadian rhythm disturbance and intervention. She has received research funding from the National Institute of Mental Health and the Tourette Association of America to evaluate circadian rhythms and light therapy in youth and adults with Tourette’s Disorder.
Designation: Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences, UCLA

“I have committed twelve years of service to research and clinical care of youth and adults with Tourette Syndrome. Looking ahead, I am excited and honored to work together with my fellow committee members to improve diverse representation within the Tourette Association of America, and highlight and address inequities in treatment utilization and access among diverse individuals with Tourette Syndrome.”

Highlights

Personal Stories