Allen, Claudia Kay, MA, OT, FAOTA; La Verne, CA

Claudia Allen serves on the board of the ACLS and LACLS Committee and as an ex-officio member of the ACN Board. Claudia is co-author of the ACLS-5/LACLS-5 Manual (2007), presented the AOTA Eleanor Clark Slagle Lecture in 1987 and WFOT keynote address in 1990. Claudia is recognized internationally for her leadership role, publications, courses, and lectures which have led the way in the development and recognition of the cognitive disabilities model.


Bauer, Constance, OTR/L, Western Montana Mental Health Center; Missoula, MO

Connie Bauer has used the cognitive disabilities model since the early 1980s in inpatient and community health and mental health settings and has taught this model to OT students in clinical and academic settings. For the past 12 years, she has provided vocational services to clients of the Western Montana Mental Health Center in Missoula, Montana. She is a member of the ACN board and Chair of the Membership Committee.


Elgas, Kathleen, OTR/L, Therapist Unlimited; Bellevue, WA

Kathy Elgas has worked in adult and geriatric rehab for 40+ years in a variety of settings, and currently works for Therapists Unlimited at Careage Home Health in the Seattle, WA area. She has been an active member and supporter of ACN since 2003. She joined the ACN board in 2010, was the Chairperson for Cognitive Symposium 2012 and has mentored Chairpersons for the 2014 and 2016 Symposiums.

Higgins, Susan, MA, OTD, Bristol Community College; New Bedford, MA

Susan Higgins is  Academic Fieldwork Coordinator/Lecturer at Tufts University. She has been a practicing occupational therapist in mental health for over 30 years. Susan is a long time member and supporter of ACN, and has lectured and presented at the local and state level on the cognitive disabilities model. She is an ACN board member and is the ACN treasurer. Susan is the New England co-trainer for the AOTA Fieldwork Educators Certificate Program, is treasurer for the New England Occupational Therapy Education Council (NEOTEC) and recently completed her doctorate degree at Tufts University.


Host, Sharon, OT, DCCT, Dementia Care Specialists/CPI; Mobile, AL 

Sharon R. Host received a B.S. degree, in Occupational Therapy from the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 1996. Her specialty is geriatrics and she has many years of experience as a clinician in the long-term care setting and has provided some home health care as well. Sharon began her journey using the Allen Cognitive Disabilities Model in 1999 and completed the Dementia Therapy Master Clinician Program in 2009. She currently works as a consultant and professional instructor for Crisis Prevention Institute/Dementia Care Specialists providing services to assist persons with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias to thrive. She believes knowledge of the Cognitive Disabilities Model will help us to create a society in which persons with ADRD can thrive.


Jackson, Sharon, COTA/L, Dementia Care Specialists; headquarters in Milwaukee, WI

Sharon Jackson lives in Akron, Ohio and is a Consultant and trainer for Dementia Care Specialists.  She has worked in long-term care/skilled rehab since 1998. Her professional experience includes working as a program designer and manager of and 18 bed Alzheimer's/Dementia unit to integrate the Allen model into daily nursing care practices focusing on meaningful activities which promoted the best ability to function. She has been a board member of ACN since 2007, served as the ACN Treasurer from 2007-2012 and is currently President of ACN for 2012-13.  She believes in the mission and vision of ACN and hopes others will join us to support and carry out the work that this group completes on a volunteer basis.


Howell, Teresa, MHS, OTR/L; Gainesville, FL

Teresa Howell graduated from the University of Florida. She has worked with persons with cognitive disabilities for over 20 years. Teresa has spent half of her career working with veterans with chronic mental illness, dementia and traumatic brain injury. And, the other half of her career, working with students in the school setting from ages 3-22 years who have moderate to severe developmental disabilities. She is currently working on the Tailored Activity Project-VA (TAP-VA) research project at the North Florida/South Georgia Veterans Healthcare System. Teresa served on the Allen Cognitive Network Board in 2006 on the Education Committee and is currently serving on the Continuing Education Committee with Teresa Carlson, OTR/L.


Metzger, Lizabeth, MS, OTR/L, West Suburban Medical Center; Chicago, IL

Liz Metzger graduated from Boston University Sargent College with her MSOT in 2011. She works with older adults in a hospital setting near Chicago and is using the cognitive disabilities model in educating patients, caregivers, and other stakeholders. She was so impressed and excited by the Allen Cognitive Network conference in 2012 she decided she had to get more involved. Liz is co-chairing the website committee.


Ryan, Jane, LOTR, MBA/HCM, CLT; Denham Springs, LA

Jane Ryan was born in South Africa where she graduated with a B. Occupational Therapy degree in 1980. Since moving to the USA in 1993, she has used the cognitive disabilities model her work with the elderly in skilled facilities and in home health. In South Africa, the Vona du Toit Model of Creative Ability is widely used and the integration of this model with the CDM has been part of Jane's OT toolkit and presented a poster on this at the 2010 Symposium.. Her practice is enhanced by her MBA with a specialty in Healthcare Administration. She has lectured at the local university and at LOTA on the CDM. She is currently a member of the ACN Board and serves as the Secretary and Editor of the Newsletter for ACN members.


Schulz, Celia, OTR, PhD; Edinburg, TX

Celia Schulz is an assistant professor at the University of Texas-Pan American in Edinburg, TX. She received her PhD in occupational therapy from Texas Woman's University and her Masters in occupational therapy from Tufts University. Celia is on the ACN board and serves on the networking committee and the symposium committee. She teaches the Allen Cognitive Model to her students. She has used the model with her geriatric and adult clients in a variety of inpatient settings.


Urish, Christine, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA; Davenport, IA

Christine Urish graduated from Western Michigan University with a Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy in 1989 and a Master of Science in Occupational Therapy in 1994. She has worked clinically in psychiatric/behavioral health settings working with adolescents through older adults, throughout her career in Iowa and Illinois. She has been an Occupational Therapy educator at St. Ambrose University since 1994 and completed a PhD in Rehabilitation Counseling in 2005 from the University of Iowa. She has used the cognitive disabilities model in clinical practice since 1989 and has presented on this model in Brazil where she takes students to experience Brazilian culture and health care through a special topics course offered every other year. She was awarded a Fellow through the American Occupational Therapy Association in 2008 for exemplary contributions to Occupational Therapy, Occupational Therapy Education and Occupational Therapy Practice. She was one of the first Board Certified Occupational Therapists in Mental Health (BCMH) and currently possesses this advanced certification through 2016.