Board Contact Information ·

Family Voices, Inc.

3701 San Mateo Blvd NE, Suite 103
Albuquerque, NM 87110
Toll-Free: (888) 835-5669
Fax: (505) 872-4780

Interested in joining the Board of Directors?  Read more and apply here.

2014 - 2015 Board Officers ·

Molly Cole – President
Marcia O'Malley – Vice-President
Grace Pushparany Williams – Secretary
Leolinda Parlin – Treasurer

Marcia O'Malley

Marcia O'Malley · President

Former Executive Director, Family TIES of Nevada; Media Consultant, Reno, NV

Marcia O’Malley is a professional multimedia specialist with over twenty years of experience working with and for nonprofit organizations. Prior to assuming the role of Executive Director of Family TIES of Nevada in 2003, Marcia served as the organization's Outreach Specialist and coordinated the development of Nevada’s Family Voices. She also served as the state coordinator and co-regional coordinator for National Family Voices' Region 9 representing consumers in discussions regarding health care.

The parent of a teenage son who has Down syndrome, Marcia has combined her personal and professional experience, resulting in major accomplishments.Such accomplishments include establishing the Nevada Family-to-Family Health Information and Education Center, co-chairing the Statewide Covering Kids and Families Coalition which promoted the Nevada Check Up and Medicaid health insurance programs for children, serving on the governor-appointed Nevada 2-1-1 Partnership, and on the Title IV-B Committee. Marcia also worked closely with the state’s Title V Children with Special Health Care Needs Program on a number of initiatives including facilitating a parent-focused committee that addressed the underutilization of the Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) program.

During her tenure on the Family Voices Board, Marcia hopes to apply her nonprofit and multimedia experience to enhance Family Voices’ visibility, stability, and impact.

Leolinda Parlin

Leolinda Parlin · Treasurer

Project Director, Hawai'i Pediatric Association Research and Education Foundation - Honolulu, HI

Ms Parlin has over 25 years of demonstrable leadership in the areas of Medicaid, government financed programs, curriculum development and training.  She has specific expertise in areas of health care systems, program evaluation and legislative advocacy.  She has worked for and provided consultation to multiple state Medicaid programs, the Los Angeles County Hospital System, as well as the U.S. Department of Defense.  She is Clinical Faculty to the John A. Burns School of Medicine and is the Project Director of the Hilopa‘a Family to Family Health Information Center and currently administers grant funding in excess of $4,500,000 in various aspects including the training of health care professionals and support for families in the area of neurodevelopmental disabilities and related disorders.  In addition she serves as the Principal Investigator for the Hawai‘i Autism State Implementation Grant, the Co-Director of the Hawai‘i MCH LEND Program, the Co-Chair of the Ka Huliau Medical Home Transformation Project and is the Ombudsman for the Hawai‘i Medicaid Program.

She has obtained over $10,000,000 in federal grant funding for the state of Hawai‘i in the last 10 years.  While Ms. Parlin has the technical and subject matter expertise to address health care “systems issues”, she has the passion that can only be derived from being a parent and or family member of a person with a developmental disability.  Ms. Parlin was a younger sibling to a child with Cerebral Palsy who met an early death at age 8 due to medical complications and the lack of access to the technological advances in health care that exist today.  More recently, her first born child with diagnosed to be in the Autism Spectrum.    She has a unique perspective which is coveted by community providers which is the culmination of her experiences in the operations of publicly financed health care systems, the management of health care provider practices as well as that of a parent advocate and community leader.

Ms. Parlin is a recognized leader both locally and nationally.  She is a highly sought after speaker, trainer and facilitator.  Most recently in 2011, she was requested by the Director of the Department of Human Services to serve as a moderator and facilitator for potentially volatile community discussions to address significant budget shortfalls.  In 2006, she was appointed by the Governor of Hawai‘i to serve as the Chair of the Hawaii Early Intervention Coordinating Council, a federally mandated oversight commission to support services for children ages birth to three who have or are at risk for developmental delay.  She was also appointed by the state Legislature to facilitate the high profile and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Benefits and Coverage Task Force.  Ms Parlin continues to work very closely with the State Legislature and Advocacy groups and has had three pieces of legislation pass into law.  Annually, the federal Health Resources Services Administration (HRSA) engages Ms Parlin to perform Title V Block Grant Reviews of the Pacific Trust Territories and Jurisdictions.


In recognition of her outstanding work and commitment to the advocacy of individuals with disabilities, she was bestowed the 2001 SPIN Parent of the Year Award, the 2002 Aloha STAC Volunteer of the Year Award and the 2004 Easter Seals Hawai‘i Dwayne Brenneman Humanitarian of the Year Award.  Ms. Parlin is the first and only member of the American Academy of Pediatrics Hawai‘i Chapter who is not a physician.  In 2009, she was recognized for her leadership nationally and was awarded the Polly Arango Family Leadership Award and in 2012 was recognized by her alma mater in Hilo, Hawaiʻi with the St. Joseph School Alumni Distinguished Service Award.

Grace Pushparany Williams

Grace Pushparany Williams · Secretary

Family Leader and Advocate, Bowie, MD

Grace Pushparany Williams most recently worked for the Association of the Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) as the Program Manager for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN), for the Parents Place of Maryland as a Health Care Coordinator as well as for the Maryland Coalition of Families for Children's Mental Health as a Cultural Competency Outreach Coordinator. Grace is also involved in the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council where she serves on the Children and Family Issues Committee and works with the Maryland State Interagency Coordinating Council (SICC) on issues related to infants and toddlers as well outreach related to cultural and linguistic affairs. Additionally her work involves partnering with groups and agencies such as the Maryland University Center of Excellence (UCEDD), the Maryland Medicaid Advisory Commission, the Maryland Dental Action Coalition, the Prince George's County Commission on Disabilities and The Arc of Prince George's County.

Grace strongly believes in the Family Voices mission and vision and is grateful and proud of Family Voices for being the only organization representing the broad spectrum of children and youth with special health care needs. Her areas of interest and passion are family-centered care, cultural competency, family involvement, policy and legislative affairs.

Grace has been part of the Family Voices organization for about 10 years as a network member, Regional Coordinator, Executive Director Search Committee member and Infrastructure Committee member. She hopes to use this experience and the knowledge she has gained to promote the Family Voices mission and vision, especially in the areas of partnership with other like-minded organizations and federal and state agencies as well as to promote and implement cultural competency and influence policy and legislative affairs.

Molly Cole

Molly Cole · Ex-Officio

Director of Connecticut's Council on Developmental Disabilities, Hartford, CT

Molly Cole is Director of Connecticut's Council on Developmental Disabilities. She was previously the Associate Director of the A.J. Pappanikou Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at UConn Health Center.  She has over 30 years of experience in the field of developmental disabilities, with a focus on family support and advocacy.  She is a founding member of Family Voices and recently served as a National Field Co-coordinator for the organization.  She holds a number of appointments to councils and boards, including Chair of the State Advisory Council to the CT Department of Children and Families, and co-chair of the Medical Home Advisory Council to the CT Department of Public Health.  Mrs. Cole has received numerous state and national awards.  She has published articles on family leadership and family support, and written and directed numerous grant funded projects.  She served as a Program Manager for the CT Birth to Three System, is the former Executive Director of FAVOR Inc., a statewide family advocacy organization, and she directed the Family Center at CT Children's Medical Center for nine years.  She is the parent of three children and grandparent of two, and she has had personal experience with an array of disability and health services and programs in the state.  Her middle child, Mariyama had significant disabilities complex medical needs, and passed away at the age of 18. 

Board Members

Julianne Beckett

Julianne Beckett

Co-Chair of the Parent Advisory Group with the Section on Home Care under the American Academy of Pediatrics, Cedar Rapids, IA Iowa

Julianne Beckett currently serves as the co-chair of the Parent Advisory Group with the Section on Home Care under the American Academy of Pediatrics. Julianne is the mother of Katie Beckett who was the first Medicaid Home and Community-based Waiver child. The waiver was granted in 1981 and has become a vehicle for many persons with disabilities to receive care at home or in their communities. Katie passed away May 18, 2012. Julie and Katie testified numerous times before Congress and worked on many projects in an advisory capacity for the Bureau of Maternal and Child Health, at the Department of Health and Human Services. Julie helped co-found Family Voices, an organization dedicated to serving children and youth with special health care needs and served as its policy coordinator for 10 years. Julie has written several publications including  “Health Care Financing: A Guide for Families”.

Merrill Friedman

Merrill Friedman

Vice President of Advocacy, Amerigroup, Wellpoint, Inc.

Merrill Friedman is Senior Director, Disability Policy Engagement for Anthem, Inc. In this position, she works closely with advocates and stakeholders to ensure the diverse needs and preferences of people with disabilities, older adults, and individuals with specialized health care needs are addressed in Medicaid managed care programs. Ms. Friedman oversees the integration of the independent living philosophy, principles of self-determination, and the National Advisory Board’s six foundational principles throughout Anthem programs, interactions and practices.

Currently, Ms. Friedman serves on the board of directors for Family Voices, TASH and the Long-Term Quality Alliance (LTQA), she is an appointee to the USBLN Corporate Advisory Board and also serves on the Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary’s Blueprint for Livable Communities Citizen Advisory Group. She is the former chair of the board for the Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) and also served on the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary’s Long-Term Care Reform Committee.

Ms. Friedman is not only the sibling of an adult sister with chronic mental health issues and the grandparent of a young boy with a heart condition, she works tirelessly to ensure policy, programs and services are sustainable and accessible to meet the health care and long term support needs for individuals with specialized health care and service needs.  Priorities also include engaging individuals and their families to ensure meaningful benefit design, self-direction, employment and economic self-sufficiency, family and caregiver supports and integrated community participation.
Before joining Amerigroup, Ms. Friedman was interim director for a nonprofit foster care agency for children and adolescents who have experienced severe neglect and physical abuse. She also served as president and chief executive officer of a private organization which owned and operated residential treatment facilities, group homes, family preservation and in-home services programs in several states for adolescents with behavioral health and/or intellectual disabilities.
Ms. Friedman has held a number of leadership positions in the child and adolescent services field, including intellectual and developmental disabilities, foster care, mental health and substance use and juvenile justice, and has extensive experience in the areas of program development, new business strategy, marketing, merger and acquisition opportunities, and operations management of home and community-based services and facilities.

James Perrin, MD

James Perrin, MD

Professor of Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School

James M. Perrin, MD, is professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and former director of the Division of General Pediatrics at the MassGeneral Hospital for Children and associate chair of pediatrics for research at MGH.  He holds the John C. Robinson Chair in Pediatrics and founded the MGH Center for Child and Adolescent Health Policy, a multidisciplinary research and training center with an active fellowship program in general pediatrics, and directed the center for over 15 years.  He is immediate past president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, former chair of its Committee on Children with Disabilities, and past president of the Ambulatory (Academic) Pediatric Association.  For the American Academy of Pediatrics, he also co-chaired a committee to develop practice guidelines for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and then a group advising the AAP on the implementation of the guidelines. His research has examined asthma, middle ear disease, children’s hospitalization, health insurance, and childhood chronic illness and disabilities, with recent emphases on epidemiology of childhood chronic illness and organization of services for the care of children and adolescents with chronic health conditions.  He headed the Clinical Coordinating Center (based at the MGH) for the national Autism Speaks Autism Treatment Network and directs the Autism Intervention Research Network on Physical Health, a multisite collaborative aiming to improve evidence-based care for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders.  He also directed the Evidence Working Group reporting to the Maternal and Child Health Bureau for the Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Heritable Disorders and Genetic Diseases in Newborns and Children.  Dr. Perrin was the founding editor of Academic Pediatrics (formerly known as Ambulatory Pediatrics), the journal of the Academic Pediatric Association. 


Dr. Perrin has served on Institute of Medicine Committees on Maternal and Child Health under Health Care Reform, Quality of Long-Term-Care Services in Home and Community-Based Settings, Enhancing Federal Healthcare Quality Programs, and Disability in America; the National Commission on Childhood Disability; and the Disability Policy Panel of the National Academy of Social Insurance.  His experience includes two years in Washington working on rural primary care development and migrant health.  After his fellowship at the University of Rochester, he developed and ran a rural community health center in farming communities between Rochester and Buffalo. 


He received a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research.  He also served as a member of the National Advisory Council for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.  A graduate of Harvard College and Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, he had his residency and fellowship training at the University of Rochester and has also been on the faculties of the University of Rochester and Vanderbilt University.


Thomas D. Rose

Thomas D. Rose

Executive Director, Family Voices Colorado

Thomas D. Rose is the Executive Director of Family Voices Colorado, a community-based nonprofit organization that strives to make Colorado a better place for families of children with special healthcare needs.  Mr. Rose is responsible for all organizational activities, including the Family-to-Family Health Information Center in Colorado, four hospital based Family Navigators who provide support for more than 5,000 families each year, all policy and advocacy activities, and current state planning efforts for the integration of services for children and youth with special health care needs.  Family Voices Colorado is the Family Voices State Affiliate Organization in Colorado.  

Mr. Rose has more than 25 years of leadership experience in management positions for healthcare-related service organizations.  Prior to coming to Family Voices Colorado, Mr. Rose was Executive Director of Summit Prevention Alliance, a Colorado nonprofit organization that provided community education and prevention programs focused on improving the health status of the community,  Summit Prevention Alliance was awarded “Non Profit of the Year” in 2007.  Mr. Rose also has a background working in the fields of mental health and neurology, and early in his career served on the management team responsible for more than a dozen mental health facilities spread throughout six western states.

Mr. Rose currently serves on more than a dozen Colorado boards, commissions, task forces, and committees focused on healthcare for children with special health care needs and their families.  Mr. Rose is currently focused on improving access to services for families who have family member with special healthcare needs, promoting efforts to advance family and person centered care for families, and addressing health policies which create barriers for accessing healthcare.

Renee Turchi, MD

Renee Turchi, MD

Assistant Professor, Drexel University, Philadelphia, PA

Renee Turchi is a practicing MD whose research and clinical work focus on children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN). Renee is a member of the faculty at Drexel University School of Public Health and Drexel University College of Medicine. In addition, she is the Director of the Pennsylvania Medical Home Program (EPIC IC), a statewide quality improvement program for pediatric practices across Pennsylvania funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Health and the Maternal Child Health Bureau ( Renee is Medical Director of Special Programs at St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, where she oversees grants and program development and practices. Her research and clinical work around care coordination and CYSHCN have been presented and published in multiple national forums.

Renee's passion centers around caring for CYSHCN. As such, she supports and advocates that all children should have a medical home which includes family centered care. Research and policies supporting medical home, care coordination and family centered care are at the core of her passions.

During her tenure on the Board of Directors, Renee wants to contribute to bringing the value of family centered care and Family Voices to the medical provider community. Her hope is that the medical community supports and assists in promoting F2Fs and Family Voices. She would like to help get the Finance Audit Committee up and running and assist in fund raising. In addition, Renee is interested in supporting and disseminating work with the Family Voices tools.

Deborah Klein Walker, EdD

Deborah Klein Walker, EdD

Vice President, Senior Fellow and Practice Leader for Public Health and Epidemiology in the Health Division, Abt Associates

Deborah Klein Walker, EdD, is a Vice President, Senior Fellow and Practice Leader for Public Health and Epidemiology in the Health Division, with over 40 years of extensive experience developing and implementing programs and system change, research, evaluation, policy analysis and consulting on a broad range of public policy issues across the lifespan.   Before joining Abt in 2004, Dr. Walker was at the Massachusetts Department of Public Health for 16 years where she most recently was the Associate Commissioner for Programs and Prevention responsible for programs in maternal and child health, nutrition, health promotion and disease prevention (including the tobacco control program), primary care and community health programs (including those for HIV/AIDS and substance abuse), data integration and information systems. As the Director of the Bureau of Family and Community Health for over a decade, Dr. Walker was responsible for all MCH Title V programs, including those for children and youth with special health care needs and special initiatives with Medicaid and other insurers related to enrollment, quality, benefits and building systems of care.   

Dr. Walker is an Adjunct Professor at the Boston University School of Public Health, a trustee of the Cambridge Health Alliance and a Board Member of Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies.  She is a past president of the American Public Health Association and the Association of Maternal and Child Health Programs, a founding member of the Research Consortium on Children with Chronic Conditions, and a co-founder of New England SERVE, an organization committed to quality services for children with special health care needs.

Walker has been widely honored by organizations representing maternal and child health services, disabilities, and at-risk populations. She received the Martha May Eliot Award for Maternal and Child Health from the American Public Health Association, the Vince L. Hutchins Partnership Award from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the Department of Health and Human Services, the Ziegler Founder's Award for Visionary Leadership for Individuals with Disabilities from the Federation for Children with Special Needs, and the National Leadership Award from the Coalition for Excellence in MCH Epidemiology. She has served on several Institute of Medicine panels, the HHS Secretary's Advisory Committee on Infant Mortality, and in various advisory capacities for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Dr. Walker has authored three books, over 100 peer reviewed journal articles and numerous commentaries for the Nation’s Health, Huffington Post and other news outlets.   Dr. Walker earned a B.A. degree with great distinction and high honors in Psychology from Mount Holyoke College and an Ed.D. and Ed.M. degree in Human Development from Harvard University.


Peters D. Willson

Peters D. Willson

Senior Specialist, Policy and Constituency Issues, Association of American Medical Colleges

Peters D. Willson will be bringing more than 35 years of professional experience in federal government relations and advocacy, including more than 20 years leading federal relations for the National Association of Children's Hospitals (N.A.C.H.) and seven years as a member of the Family Voices Board.  As vice president for public policy for N.A.C.H., Pete directed federal lobbying, policy analysis, and grassroots and grass tops advocacy for the nation's children's hospitals.  He was twice honored by Family Voices for his advocacy on behalf of children with special health care needs.  Currently, Pete is an independent consultant working with clients on government relations strategy, policy analysis, and advocacy training.

In addition to his service on the Family Voices Board, Pete is a current member of the Public Policy Council of the National March of Dimes Washington, DC, office, and a former member of the Board of The Alan Guttmacher Institute. He also serves as a member of the Institutional Review Board of the Inspira Health Network in Vineland, NJ.

Peters is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio, where he earned a bachelor's degree in government.  He received his master's degree in public and private management from Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

Josie Woll

Josie Woll

Family Voices of Hawaii, Honolulu, HI

Along with Polly Arango and Julie Beckett, Josie founded Family Voices. Josie Woll is the parent of three children, including a wonderful daughter Cassilly who has a few developmental disabilities and even more significant successes like those in so many other families who are Family Voices members. Josie served as the Director of the Sultan Easter Seal School an Early Intervention Program that was recognized for its excellence in providing family centered, culturally appropriate and coordinated services to families and their infants and toddlers with special health care needs or at risk for them.Josie has also been a contractor with the Federal Children with Special Health Needs Division, Bureau of Maternal and Child Health and is, at times, a contractor with the University of Hawaii’s Center for Disability Studies.Josie has received numerous awards and honors that she shares with the many partners she has collaborated with over the years.Her most treasured recognitions were those that acknowledged her contributions to the betterment of families and their children with special needs in Hawaii.

During this tenure on the Family Voices Board of Directors (Josie has served previous terms in the 90s and early 2000s), Josie would like to preserve the gains that have been achieved by the tireless efforts of so many Family Voices members and build on them to ensure the voices of children and their families are not only heard but result in the system changes which acknowledge that fiscal prudence and quality services can coexist.Josie would also like to support and ensure Family Voices mentors new family leaders who will personify our grassroots organization that speaks for the many in their communities, states and at the national level.