Joan Wolfensberger, Ph.D, is eminently familiar with the service of people and agencies managing Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD). She grew up in an academic family, and her father, Dr. Wolf P. Wolfensberger, was a professor at Syracuse University and a leader in the IDD world. In part, because of her family’s emphasis on protecting the rights of individuals with IDD, Joan obtained a master’s in marriage and family therapy from Syracuse University’s College of Human Development and Family Science. Joan was a business and healthcare consultant with both PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) and Accenture as a senior manager executing technological solutions with strong project and multi-disciplinary team management. Her specialties were in operational streamlining for organizations delivering Early Periodic Screening, Diagnosis, and Treatment (EPSDT) for children, and in patient access across large health systems.
In 2002, while working in Chicago, she was a passenger in a head-on automobile collision and became disabled. Since 2002, she has spent a great deal of time in healthcare settings and is still informally evaluating, from a patient perspective, delivery system improvements. She has volunteered for Project H.O.M.E. that provides education for at-risk individuals and families in and around Philadelphia. Her other volunteer works includes Ronald McDonald House Philadelphia and the Northwestern Memorial Hospital Health Learning Center, a resource for patients to better understand health conditions affecting them and their families. She is presently lead developer of an online resource guide for managing IDD and chronic illness. She is very active with the University of Nebraska Medical Center, McGoogan Library of Medicine in Omaha, Ne., where the collection of her father’s books and materials resides.