ABOUT FAST Foundation for Autism Support and Training

FAST's Board of Directors

Karen Kaye-Beall, Chairperson/Treasurer

Experience and Qualifications: Executive Director, FAST; Executive Director, Center for Autism Support and Training.

M.A., Clinical Psychology, Licensed Marriage, Family and Child Therapist (CA, MD, VA, DC), Licensed since 1979 as a Clinical Marriage and Family Counselor with 25+ years experience providing training and conducting marriage, family and child therapy. In addition, served as Executive Director for several counseling programs and clinics including: Center for Autism Support and Training; Autism Speech, Communication & Reading Center; Career Changers & Co.; Concord Youth & Family Services; Parenting Skills Training; and University Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention Program.

Approved as Family Trainer for Medicaid Autism Waiver Program, 2002 #4010221 00; Founder/Director of the Center for Autism Support and Training (CAST), 2003. Approved by Medicaid #610043100; Provider of Intensive Individual Autism Support Services, Respite and Family Training for the Home and Community-Based Services Waiver for Families with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Participating member of Autism Society of America, MCASA, National Alliance for Autism Research, and Autism Research Institute.

Clinical Director, Counseling for Parents of Children with Autism (Autism CPC), Silver Spring, MD (1998 - Present) Provides autism treatment and life planning services for parents of adults with autism; individual counseling; marriage counseling; and family training to parents of children diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum/PDD. Conducts in-service training programs for medical and special educational professionals on topics related to understanding many facets of autism treatment including the development of community homes for adults with autism.

Allan Y. Cohen, Ph.D, Vice Chair

Dr. Cohen is a licensed Clinical Psychologist with an M.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University and a robust background in clinical work, research and teaching. Having held teaching, counseling and/or administrative positions, at Harvard, The University of California (Berkeley) and John F. Kennedy University, Cohen was co-founder of the Pacific Institute for Research & Evaluation (PIRE). At PIRE, one the nation’s largest independent nonprofit organizations in public health research and program development, he has served as Executive Director, Senior Project Manager, Emeritus Board member and currently Director of the Center for Advanced Planning and Evaluation. As a psychotherapist, Dr. Cohen has broad experience with children, adolescents and families diagnosed with a wide range of developmental disabilities, substance abuse and delinquent behavior. With the Center for Autism Support and Training (2002-2005), he acted as a supervising psychologist, providing family training to parents of children with autism spectrum disorder, supervising the intensive individual support staff, who work directly with the children.

Ann E. Gillespie

Trained in gerontology and urban planning at Georgetown and Miami (Oh) Universities, Ms. Gillespie has senior-level experience and expertise in organizational development and educational programs on a national level. Former professional staff to the US Senate Special Committee on Aging and a national expert on residential care for seniors, she served as Senior Vice President for Shared Learning and Leadership Development at the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging. As Founding Executive Director of the Continuing CARE Accreditation Commission (CCAC), she led a national campaign for providers and consumers to build public awareness of the importance of the CCAC seal of approval. Ms. Gillespie is expert in diverse aspects of quality-of-life issues among the disabled, especially those related to residential care and residential services.

Gwendolyn G. Hamilton, M.D., F.A.A.P.

With 20+ years experience developing multidisciplinary clinical services for the assessment and medical management of neurodevelopment disorders (e.g. autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, learning disorders, and developmental coordination disorders), Dr. Hamilton serves as Medical Director of the Child Health and Disability Prevention Program in the Contra Costa County Department of Public Health. As former Medical Director of the Child Development Clinic at Contra Costa’s Regional Medical Center, she developed and directed multidisciplinary clinical services for the assessment and medical management of neurodevelopmental disorders including autism and pervasive developmental disorders and a full range of developmental disabilities. A nationally respected pediatrician expert in infant care and in services for disadvantaged families, she has consulted across a wide array of public health issues, including determination of medical eligibility, health care for children with catastrophic illness and staff development for community heath care services.


Nancy J. Wilson, M.D., M.P.H.

Dr. Nancy J. Wilson is Senior Advisor to the Director of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and leads the Agency’s work with such national public private alliances as the National Quality Forum, the Hospital Quality Alliance, and the AQA.  She also facilitates and strategically leads collaborative quality improvement and data sharing among state Medicaid programs through an AHRQ sponsored Medicaid Medical Directors Network.  During the past few years she also led the Office of the Secretary for Health and Human Services Value-driven Healthcare Initiative to establish multi-stakeholder community collaboratives working to improve healthcare services and population health nation-wide.  Recently Dr. Wilson and her teammates received the HHS Hubert H. Humphrey Service to America Award for their efforts.

Prior to joining the Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Wilson was Vice President and Medical Director for VHA, Inc., a nationwide network of 2,200 leading community-owned health care organizations and their affiliated physicians.  Dr. Wilson designed and developed all national clinical quality improvement products and services.  She led nation-wide collaboratives that translated evidence-based practices into improved patient outcomes.  Her accomplishments included Critical Care improvements that resulted in decreased ventilator associated pneumonia rates (10 to 0 per 1,000 ventilator days); patient and family satisfaction scores over 90%; and a 37% drop in direct cost per ICU admission.  She also designed and engaged over 600 hospitals in nationwide patient safety initiatives targeted toward hospital leadership, boards of directors, physicians, and frontline employees.  She defined and incorporated dimensions of safety in drug and device contract specifications and was instrumental in establishing an Issue Resolution System to identify, communicate, and act on clinician-observed drug and device safety problems.  For all her work in patient safety, Dr. Wilson was awarded VHA’s first annual President’s Council Leadership Award. 

Before joining VHA, Dr. Wilson was Director of the Office of Performance and Quality for the Veterans Health Administration. As director, Dr. Wilson was responsible for assuring quality of patient care in the nation’s largest integrated health care system.  Among her accomplishments Dr. Wilson designed and implemented a new comprehensive performance management system that 1) aligned VA’s vision, mission, and goals with quantifiable strategic objectives; 2) defined measures to track progress in meeting those goals and objectives; and 3) held management accountable for results achieved.  During her tenure, bed-days of care per 1000 patients decreased 62%--from 3,530 to 1,333; ambulatory surgeries increased from 35% to 82% with increased surgical productivity and reduced mortality; and patient-reported problems in timeliness of access, courtesy, and coordination of care were cut in half to match external benchmark performance.  Dr. Wilson also created and implemented indexes for Preventive Care, Chronic Disease Care, and Palliative Care that resulted in dramatic improvements in care of patients with hypertension, COPD, diabetes, obesity, and acute myocardial infarction.  Screening and counseling for substance use, cancer prevention, and vaccinations substantially increased, and over 90% of eligible patients began receiving palliative care services.

Dr. Wilson is a 1976 BSN honors graduate of the University of Pittsburgh.  She received her MD from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in 1986 where she also completed her medical internship and residency in 1989.  In 1994 she completed a General Medicine/Health Services Research Fellowship at Harvard Medical School while obtaining her MPH in Health Care Management at the Harvard School of Public Health.  During her fellowship she designed a patient satisfaction survey system for the VA that culminated in the creation of VA’s National Customer Feedback Center.  This work resulted in receipt of the Vice-Presidential Hammer Award for Reinventing Government. 

Dr. Wilson is currently an advisor to the Partnership for Patient Safety, the National Association for Healthcare Quality, and a founding designer and judge for the AHA Quest for Quality Award.  She is also a member of several professional societies including the Society of General Internal Medicine, the American College of Physicians, American College of Physician Executives, and the American Public Health Association.