About the CHRIL

The Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living (CHRIL) is funded by a 5-year Disability and Rehabilitation Research Program (DRRP) from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90DP0075-01-00).  The CHRIL brings together disability advocates and researchers from 4 institutions (Washington State University, the University of Kansas, George Mason University, and the Independent Living Research Utilization program at TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital) to systematically investigate and disseminate essential findings about how the Affordable Care Act’s implementation affects working age adults with disabilities.

The CHRIL Team

Jae Kennedy


Jae Kennedy (PI) chairs the Department of Health Policy and Administration at Washington State University. He began studying disability policy at the World Institute on Disability (WID) in 1989, and completed his doctorate in Health Services and Policy Analysis at UC Berkeley in 1996. His research focuses on understanding the health and employment disparities experienced by people with chronic illness and disability, and on developing effective programs and policies to lessen those disparities. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, and received the Switzer Distinguished Research Fellowship from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research in 2000.

Jean Hall

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Jean P. Hall is the director of the Institute for Health and Disability Policy Studies and Professor in Applied Behavioral Sciences at the University of Kansas. Dr. Hall received her PhD in Disability Studies and has an extensive background in the evaluation of health care programs, especially for people with disabilities or chronic illnesses. Dr. Hall has published numerous scholarly articles in such journals as Inquiry, American Journal of Managed Care, Journal of Disability Policy Studies, Disability and Health Journal, Journal of Public Health Dentistry, Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, Health Care Financing Review, and American Journal of Health Promotion. Her research has been cited in numerous national media including the New York Times, Washington Post, National Public Radio, ABC News, BusinessWeek and Health Affairs. Dr. Hall's research has included private, state, and federal projects related to health care and employment for people with disabilities or chronic illnesses in the employment, Medicaid, Medicare and high-risk pool systems. One of her current projects, funded by the National Institute on Disablity, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research, focuses on the effects of coverage expansions under the Affordable Care Act on individuals with disabilities, using national surveys and interviews. A priority of her research is to give voice to people with disabilities and their experiences with the health care system.

Karl Cooper

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An attorney and disability advocate, Karl Cooper has spent most of his career addressing the needs of people with disabilities. Since October 2013, he has been AAHD’s Project Associate for the National Disability Navigator Resource Collaborative (NDNRC). He provides technical assistance to navigators and other enrollment specialists as they help people with disabilities obtain health insurance on the marketplaces established by the Affordable Care Act. Before joining AAHD, Cooper worked as a Policy Assistant at the National Disability Rights Network and a Policy Associate at the National Association of States United for Aging and Disabilities (NASUAD) in Washington, DC. At NASUAD he worked on health policy and workforce issues. Cooper’s health policy work focused on Medicaid reform and tracking changes at the state level, especially in managed care and the Medicare/Medicaid coordination demonstrations. On workforce issues, he advocated for and monitored reauthorization efforts for the Workforce Investment Act.

Before moving to Washington, DC, he practiced law for 14 years in Philadelphia. He opened his own firm in 2006 where he was able to devote time to pro-bono advocacy for those affected by physical and developmental disabilities. As part of that work, he helped consumers navigate employment and educational opportunities, drawing on his own experiences as a person with physical disabilities. Karl received his law degree in 1997 from Villanova University School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Political Science from Cedarville University in 1994.

Gilbert Gimm


Gilbert Gimm, Associate Professor of Health Administration and Policy, has research experience in program evaluations, aging, disability, chronic care coordination, and health care financing. Previously, Dr. Gimm was a senior researcher at Mathematica Policy Research in Washington, DC, where he directed a national evaluation for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on the Medicaid Buy-in program and the impact of early interventions on the receipt of federal disability benefits for adults with mental health conditions. He also examined the financial performance of rural hospitals in response to Medicare payment reforms. His research has been published in several journals including Health AffairsHealth Services Research, and Disability and Health Journal. Dr. Gimm's other research interests include the impact of malpractice claims on physician practice patterns and the extent to which care coordination models improve cost and quality.

Lex Frieden

Lex Frieden is Professor of Health Informatics and Rehabilitation at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. He also directs the Independent Living Research Utilization Program (ILRU) at TIRR Memorial Hermann. Frieden has served as chairperson of the National Council on Disability, president of Rehabilitation International, and chairperson of the American Association of People with Disabilities.  He is recognized as one of the founders of the independent living movement by people with disabilities. He was instrumental in conceiving and drafting the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. Frieden currently serves on the board of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, Texas (METRO).

Richard Petty


Richard Petty, Program Director at Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU), TIRR Memorial Hermann, has more than twenty-five years of experience in the application of evidence-based practices in community programs, advocacy and lobbying, grassroots action for change, transition from nursing facilities to the community, rapid feedback assessment, and leading organizations in transformational change. Petty directs the ILRU New Community Opportunities Center, a national center that fosters community programs for transition from nursing facilities and youth transition from school to community. He directs the IL‑NET, the national project that provides training and technical assistance on programming and management to centers for independent living and statewide independent living councils, organizations which foster community independence for people with disabilities. Petty directed the ILRU Community Living Partnership from 2000‑2007 which provided training, publications, and consulting for CMS Real Choice systems change grantees implementing innovative home and community services programs. Petty has led course and curriculum development for online courses, on-location training, and Webinar presentations. He has made ILRU a national leader in the IL, disability and rehabilitation fields in the use of innovative Web training and technical assistance with video training, Webinars, online courses, ILRU Rapid Course™ self‑paced tutorials, and video‑based technical assistance. Before coming to ILRU, Petty served as Executive Director of Mainstream, an advocacy‑oriented center for independent living in Little Rock, Arkansas. There he headed major statewide advocacy efforts, notably home and community services initiatives, and served as a disability lobbyist. Petty holds an MBA degree from the C.T. Bauer School of Business at the University of Houston.

Elizabeth Wood


Elizabeth Wood is an Assistant Professor and a research scientist for the Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living on the Washington State University research team. Prior to her graduate work, she served as the administrative coordinator for the Washington Rural Health Association, a nonprofit advocacy group.

Noelle Kurth

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Noelle Kurth is a Research Associate at the University of Kansas Institute for Health & Disability Policy Studies, Life Span Institute. Her work in the disability field for over 20 years has included state and federally-funded research projects on improving health, employment, and post-secondary education outcomes for people with disabilities. She has extensive experience conducting survey research, including survey design and multi-modal administration, data collection, management, and analyses. Further, in recent years she has worked to establish strong working relationships with staff in government, community and university agencies to develop increased capacity for data sharing and outcomes analyses. One specific interest is connecting primary data to administrative datasets to more fully measure the longitudinal impact interventions and public policy have on the health and quality of life of people with disabilities.

Years of serving as a caregiver and medical decision-maker for relatives with Huntington’s Disease (HD) gives her much personal experience with the myriad of disabling factors  associated with HD and strengthens her commitment to the disability field.  Her commitment to people with disabilities has taken her to Tanzania, East Africa to volunteer time working in remote, rural villages to help improve access to much needed healthcare services and education for people with disabilities, including HIV/AIDS.

Laura Cupples

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Laura Cupples recently completed a PhD in philosophy from the University of South Carolina, where she held a Presidential Doctoral Teaching Fellowship for Social Advocacy and Ethical Life.  Her primary areas of research are philosophy of medicine, philosophy of science, and applied ethics.  Dr. Cupples’s dissertation research focused on the epistemology of quality of life measurement in medicine.  Her interests moving forward include philosophy of disability, critical metrology, and science and values.

Davi Kallman


Davi Kallman is a graduate student at the Washington State University and is pursuing her doctoral degree in Communication at the Edward R. Murrow School of Communication. She was recently appointed to be the ADVANCE at WSU’s Graduate Assistant housed out of the Provost’s Office and was appointed to the Washington State Governor’s Council for State Independent Living (SILC). Currently she serves as a research assistant in the Murrow Center for Media and Health Promotion under her advisor Erica Austin and as a research assistant for the Collaborative on Health Reform on Independent Living (CHRIL). Her current research focuses on the power of the media to change people’s perceptions of individuals with disabilities. Kallman uses positive deviance, entertainment education, media literacy, and other media-based interventions to break down prejudices and stereotypes in institutional settings.