About Us:

Mission Statement | Guiding Principles | Biographies: Staff, Research Collaborators, Advisory Board | Dedication to Gunnar Dybwad

Mission Statement:

Our research group, based at the Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is a non-partisan research group committed to studying the enforcement of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and sharing valuable and actionable findings with the disability community, family members, other support individuals, policymakers, lawyers, other researchers, employers, and the general public.

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Guiding Principles:

Four principals guide the activities of our research group. They can be summarized as follows:

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Staff and Advisory Board Biographies:

Project Staff:

Kathryn Moss, Principal Investigator | Leah Ranney, Project Coordinator | Rachel West, Social Research Assistant | Tonya Jenkins, Student Research Associate

Research Collaborators:

Scott Burris, JD | Jeffrey Swanson, Ph.D.

Advisory Board:

Joy Weeber, Coordinator | Karen Hirsch | Andy Imperato | Kathy Martinez | Claudia Center | Carol Hubbard | Erica Jones | Tia Nelis | Jeff Rosen | Charles Walker

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Photo of Gunnar Dybwad

Dedication to Gunnar Dybwad:
By Kathryn Moss, PhD

I was Gunnar Dybwad's student at the Heller School when he was traveling throughout the United States, calling in court after court for equal rights for individuals with disabilities. Today I am a research fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and most of my research focuses on the implementation and outcome of disability rights laws. The link, therefore, to who I am today, and my tutelage before, during, and after my stay at the Heller School under Gunnar is perfectly clear: Gunnar's influence on my life has inspired me to diligently pursue research on the enforcement of the ADA and disseminate this information to the community.

I cannot write about Gunnar without writing about Rosemary - Gunnar's wife. I, together with so many others, learned so much from both of them about kindness, warmth, hospitality, and love. I not only spent almost all day every day with them during my years as a Heller School Ph.D. student but also lived with them for a year.

In those days, Gunnar's energy knew no bounds, nor did his ability to teach, to give, to spread warmth, and to love. With regard to his teaching, he was my classroom teacher, dissertation chairman, and all-around mentor. He excelled at all three but also at instructing in and modeling how to be an honorable and moral person. For example, he never took money for serving as an expert witness. In his words, "there were too many complications."

With regard to giving, he and Rosemary were available to all people in need, at all hours of the day and night. Living almost full time at the Heller School, they continually gave food and every other kind of nourishment to students, advocates, professionals and hundreds of others with and without disabilities. Indeed, their time, advice, and kindness were generously given to all who came into contact with them.

With regard to love, no matter what I say about Gunnar's influence on my life, it would be an understatement. He was like an adoring grandfather to me. Bigger than life, he was also a model for being in love with life. Speaking of love, he was totally devoted to Rosemary. Gunnar rarely said "I". It was usually "Rosemary and I".

In sum, Gunnar, together with Rosemary, greatly enriched my life. They taught me much about how to be a disability scholar. To the extent that I can honor and have respect for others, their influence was enormous. Most importantly, to the extent that I have love for my husband, family, and friends, their influence was profound.

Thank you, Gunnar and Rosemary. You remain part of my life.

Kathryn Moss

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