Who We Are
Bill Dittmeier, JD
Bill Dittmeier received a Juris Doctor degree from Creighton University and a Master of Laws degree from the University of Missouri Kansas City. His work has focused on children's rights, education law, and civil rights; particularly the rights of individuals with disabilities. He has worked for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; served as the general counsel of the Kansas City, Mo. School District, the director of regional and national legal centers providing disability law training, technical assistance and litigation support, and the director of an office that represented children in the Jackson County, Missouri Family Court. He has made presentations regarding the rights of individuals with disabilities at regional and national conferences. He is currently the Chief Attorney in the U. S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights' regional office in Kansas City,
George Gotto, PhD
George S. Gotto IV is the Director of Community Services at the UMKC-IHD. In this role he works throughout the state of Missouri to conduct community-based research and training projects with Senate Bill 40 Boards and Missouri Division of DD Regional Offices. In addition, he currently coordinates the activities of the National Gateway to Self-Determination project, a national self-determination training initiative. Dr. Gotto also has extensive experience with the development and management of communities of practice and has co- written a step-by-step guide to CoP development (Gotto, et al., 2008). He is trained as an applied medical anthropologist with an emphasis in community-based research and cross-cultural perspectives on disability. Over the past 17 years Dr. Gotto has participated in multiple participatory action research projects with grassroots leaders with disabilities in the United States and Mexico (see CV for relevant citations).In 2010 Dr. Gotto was recognized for his leadership and excellence in applied research by the Board of Directors of the Society for Applied Anthropology (SfAA) which elected him to the status of Fellow. Dr. Gotto currently teaches a course on Disability across the Lifespan at UMKC. Lastly, he has published peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, reports, and curricula in areas related to self-determination, community-based research, and, social capital.
Elizabeth A. Moran, JDMs. Moran joined the Law Office of Stephen J. Moore, P.C. in Kansas City, MO, in 2006 and is licensed to practice in Missouri and Kansas. In addition to her practice with the firm, Ms. Moran is an adjunct at UMKC School of Law where she co-instructs the multi-disciplinary course Leadership in Disability Studies. Ms. Moran also works with UMKC Institute for Human Development (IHD) where her research and advocacy has focused on lifespan issues in disabilities, safety planning for adults with disabilities, guardianship, and community inclusion. She is the lead trainer and co-author of the statewide project MO Guardianship: Understanding Your Options and Alternatives, sponsored by the Missouri Planning Council for Developmental Disabilities and co-developed and produced by the IHD, Missouri Protection and Advocacy Services, and People First of Missouri. As with her older sister who has a developmental disability and lives independently, Ms. Moran is a strong supporter of community inclusion and an enthusiast of creative problem solving dedicated to assisting individuals with disabilities and their families as they navigate the legal system and seek understanding of the options and alternatives available as they pursue the most appropriate means of long-term support and/or protection.
Julie Warm, Ph.D.Dr. Warm is committed to building and strengthening communities by bridging the worlds of higher education, local governments and nonprofits. Dr. Warm currently is working at the University of Missouri-Kansas City building advocacy skills for women and girls (civic engagement). She also supports UMKC’s efforts in service-learning and including students with intellectual disabilities in the university’s learning community (Propel Program). She originally trained as a city planner and city manager and served in those capacities in Ohio, Nevada, and Missouri. Her last position in local government was as City Manager in Reno, Nevada. For the last twenty years, she has worked in academe as a community liaison, administrator, and researcher. She has a doctorate degree in nonprofit management and has founded and worked as the Executive Director of a nonprofit focusing on the inclusion of students with disabilities. As a volunteer, she is an advocate for the inclusion of people with disabilities. She is a member of the Kansas City Mayor's Commission for People with Disabilities. She served on the Board for the Jackson County Board of Services for the Developmentally Disabled, now known as EITAS, a county-level public funding agency and the Business Leadership Network, a business-to-business organization supporting businesses that wish to expand and improve their employment of people with disabilities. Dr. Warm is also the Executive Director of EXCEL: Expanding College for Exceptional Learners which is dedicated to expanding post-secondary opportunities for students with intellectual disabilities.
About the UMKC Institute for Human Development
The UMKC Institute for Human Development is one of 67 national University Centers for Excellence on Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) in every state and territory. The Institute for Human Development began in the late 1970s as the UMKC Institute for Community Studies. At that time, the Administration on Developmental Disabilities and the Missouri Planning Council for Developmental Disabilities were encouraging expansion of community based programs for people with developmental disabilities. To this end, in 1977 the Institute for Community Studies established the Missouri University Center for Excellence (UCE). The new UCE specifically addressed consumer-identified needs from a community based perspective. Given Missouri's dual rural and urban nature, the expectation was that the program would be outreach oriented and responsive to needs across the state.