Meet the New Executive Committee Members

Please join the us in congratulating the newly elected  2017 Executive Committee members!

We look forward to working with you!

Rebecca Abbott (Chair)
March of Dimes

abbottRebecca Abbott is the Deputy Director of Federal Affairs for Public Health at the March of Dimes in Washington, DC. She serves as the March of Dimes’ primary advocate on federal policy issues related to public health, including immunizations, tobacco use, newborn screening, and substance use disorders. Prior to joining the March of Dimes in 2015, Rebecca worked on Capitol Hill for six years for a senior member of the Ways and Means Committee. She also spent three years at a DC-based political consulting firm where she represented a diverse portfolio of health sector clients. Rebecca holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from the University of Oklahoma. An Oklahoma native, Rebecca and her husband live in northern Virginia.

Interest and Vision of Friends of NCBDDD

I am interested in serving as the chair of the Friends of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) because I want to continue and strengthen the Friends’ activities to promote NCBDDD’s mission and programs. If elected chair, I would build upon current efforts to facilitate collaboration between members of the Friends, and enhance efforts to communicate the work of the NCBDDD to outside stakeholders. Specifically, I will work to promote increased participation in Friends events from a broader portion of the membership and improve coordination among thematic area champions. I would also like to further elevate the work of the Communications Committee and explore how its efforts can be better coordinated with member’s existing communications plans.


Sara Struwe (Vice-Chair Elect)
Spina Bifida Association

stuweSara Struwe earned her Bachelor of Public Administration with an emphasis in Urban Planning and Sociology from the University of Mississippi in 1984. In 2001, she earned a Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Dayton.

Ms. Struwe began her career in nonprofit management in the Girl Scouts of the United States of America organization. During her nearly 20 year career with the organization, she honed her nonprofit generalist background by mastering the art of volunteer recruitment and management and focused on program conception, development, implementation, and evaluation, partnership development, adult education, and fundraising.

In 2002, Ms. Struwe moved from an emphasis in youth development to the voluntary health field when she began working as the Vice President of Chapter Development for the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA). During her six-years with LFA, she focused on board development and network expansion, and she, along with a small group of peers, developed the organizations signature walk event.

In 2009, she began working with the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America and helped to implement the organizations new fundraising events Take Steps, a family-friendly walk, and Team Challenge, the organizations endurance training program as well as expanding excellent educational programs and patient and clinical services.

Ms. Struwe joined the Spina Bifida Association (SBA) in late 2009 as the Chief Operating Officer allowing her to continue to develop her skills in program development and evaluation, fundraising, adult education, and volunteer management. During her six years with the organization, SBA has shifted its focus to developing the research and partnership necessary to improve the health of people with Spina Bifida across their lifespan.

In 2014, Ms. Struwe was appointed the SBA’s President and CEO where she began leading SBA’s efforts to develop the new Spina Bifida Collaborative Care Network (SBCCN), a system which will monitor, tracks and evaluate care provided in Spina Bifida clinics and other health care settings. Under her direction the SBCCN is developing the necessary relationships to adequately communicate between the SBA, clinics, health care professionals, people with SB and their families, organizations supporting people with Spina Bifida, and SBA Chapters. In addition, the SBCCN is in the beginning development phase of a patient-driven Spina Bifida registry that will analyze needs of the Spina Bifida community, with special emphasis on adult issues, while identifying and advocating for the adoption of best practices in the care for people with Spina Bifida across their lifespan.

Interest and Vision of Friends of NCBDDD
As the President & CEO of the Spina Bifida Association (SBA), I am focused on improving the live and health of people with Spina Bifida, I’m very interested in the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD). People with Spina Bifida, the nation’s most common permanently disabling birth defect that is compatible with life, as they age, are at an increased likelihood to have secondary conditions that are life threatening, but preventable, however, they are more likely to not have regular medical monitoring of their conditions. NCBDDD’s focus on improving the health of people with Spina Bifida and other disabilities fits with SBA’s mission. I’m interested in assuring that the Center receives the support it needs to be successful in this area in particular. I feel as though the mission of SBA matches much of what the Center is about.





Jane Correia (Member at Large)
National Birth Defects Prevention Network


correiaJane Correia retired from the Florida Department of Health (DOH) in May, 2016 after working in public health for more than 37 years. From 2003-2016, Jane served as the Coordinator of the Florida Birth Defects Registry at DOH and was responsible for managing statewide surveillance for birth defects in Florida. Specific responsibilities included coordinating enhancement of surveillance, education, and investigation activities in collaboration with federal and state agencies, universities, community organization, and families. Jane previously served on the Friends of NCBDDD Executive Committee in 2004; she has volunteered with the March of Dimes for many years and currently serves on Florida’s Public Affairs Committee; she continues to work with the National Birth Defects Prevention Network recently leading the development of the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan. She has authored numerous grant proposals and managed CDC Cooperative Agreements on important public health issues including birth defects, asthma, pesticide surveillance, and aquatic toxins surveillance. Jane continues to support the need for collaborative research into causes of birth defects and has co-authored several scientific publications.


Interest and Vision of Friends of NCBDDD
I hope I can contribute to the success of Friends of the NCBDDD by providing technical guidance on state based birth defects surveillance, education, prevention, and referral for services activities including our newest challenges surrounding the Zika virus.




Daniel Crimmins (Member at Large)
Georgia State University

crimminsDaniel Crimmins serves as Director of the Center for Leadership in Disability – the Georgia State University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities and the Georgia Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Program (GaLEND) – and as Professor in the School of Public Health in Atlanta. Dr. Crimmins has worked with children and adults with disabilities, families, schools, and organizations to ensure equal access to effective supports and interventions. He has a particular interest in issues that reflect the intersection of research, adoption of evidence-based practices, workforce, and policy.


During his career, he has been at the forefront of bringing new and emerging practices into everyday use. His work with Mark Durand on the Motivation Assessment Scale was among the first efforts to quickly assess the function(s) of challenging behaviors. His Positive Strategies: Developing Individualized Supports in the Schools offered an authoritative guide to conducting functional behavior assessments and developing positive behavior support plans. His current work on the Brief Behavior Questionnaire and Intervention Plan System (BBQuIPS) focuses on streamlining the behavior assessment and planning processes to arrive more quickly at function-based interventions at home and school. More recently, he is part of a large-scale effort to “scale up“ access to inclusive postsecondary education programs in Georgia. He is a strong advocate for the provision of respectful person-centered supports, the elimination of restrictive and reactive procedures, and that all should “lead a life well-lived.”

Dr. Crimmins received his BA, MA, and PhD in psychology from Binghamton University in New York, and completed an internship in clinical psychology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. In 2002 and 2003, Dr. Crimmins was a Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow in Washington DC, where he worked in the Office of Senator Jim Jeffords on health and education policy.

Interest and Vision of Friends of NCBDDD
I have been involved with the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in numerous ways over the past two decades that have benefitted me professionally and programmatically. I consider many of the NCBDDD leadership and scientific staff to be friends — and I would be honored to be elected to stand by them in the more formal role of Member-at-Large of the Friends of NCBDDD Executive Committee.

I greatly appreciate NCBDDD’s national leadership role in improving the health of people with disabilities across the lifespan. I have had the benefit of CDC scientists serve as lecturers for my classes at Georgia State University and in my GaLEND Program. I have attended numerous grand rounds and participated in webinars sponsored by the Center. And. I have been a grantee on multiple projects related to early screening and the Learn the Signs. Act Early. campaign. I have had the pleasure of having seven NCBDD employees as trainees in our GaLEND Program, and am proud that another six now employed at CDC in professional roles.

I feel that I have a good sense of the Center’s mission and commitments. I see the role of the Friends as supporting this mission through outreach to current and potential partners. While I am Atlanta based, which facilitates work with the Center and the Friends, I am also active with the Association of University Center on Disabilities, having served on its board as a member, treasurer, and president. As such, I am familiar with the national advocacy landscape related to disability and the importance of building and sustaining coalitions to achieve our common goals.

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