Georgia Disability Community Oral History ProjectGeorgia Disability Community Oral History Project

Georgia Disability Community Oral History Project

Descriptive Summary

Title: Georgia Disability Community Oral History Project
Dates: 2015-2017
Extent: 17.0 interviews
Collection Number: RBRL/391/GDC
Repository: Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies

Collection Description

Biographical Note

The Georgia Disability Community Oral History Project began in 2015 when the Richard B. Russell Library organized the “Georgia Disability History Symposium: Stories of Advocacy and Action” to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Interviews have been recorded in the Athens and Atlanta areas.

Scope and Content

The Georgia Disability Community Oral History contains interviews documenting the work of disability advocates, current and former mental health professionals in Georgia, as well as the experiences of parents of children with autism.

Please reference the Georgia Disability History Archive, which contains paper collections from well-known Georgia disability advocates and professionals, some of whom also have interviews in this collection.


Administrative Information and Restrictions

Preferred citation

Georgia Disability Community Oral History Project, Richard B. Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, University of Georgia Libraries, Athens, Georgia, 30602-1641.

Processing Information note

Original media for this collection include digital audio and video files.

Copyright Information

Resources may be used under the guidelines described by the U.S. Copyright Office in Section 107, Title 17, United States Code (Fair use). Parties interested in production or commercial use of the resources should contact the Russell Library for a fee schedule.

Finding Aid Publication

Finding aid prepared by Russell staff, 2017.

Updated digital access links and descriptive metadata, February 2019.


Related Materials

Related Collections in this Repository

Georgia Disability History Archive


Series Descriptions and Folder Listing

 

GDC-001 Tom Olin interviewed by Mat Darby and Mark Johnson

Extent: 1.0 moving image 132 minutes
GDC-001 Tom Olin video interview and index in OHMS Access Online
GDC-001 Tom Olin audio on SoundCloud Access Online
 

GDC-002 Kacy Tedder interviewed by Taylor Eget and Alison Greene

Extent: 1.0 sound recording 75 minutes
GDC-002 Kacy Tedder audio interview and index in OHMS Access Online
GDC-002 Kacy Tedder audio on SoundCloud Access Online
 

GDC-003 Teresa Heard interviewed by Maddie Curlew, Brent Hadden, and Peter Sigmon

Extent: 1.0 sound recording 58 minutes
GDC-003 Teresa Heard audio interview and index in OHMS Access Online
GDC-003 Teresa Heard audio on SoundCloud Access Online
 

GDC-004 Eva Bowen interviewed by Kendall Jolly, Brent Hadden, and Madison Price

Extent: 1.0 sound recording 94 minutes
GDC-004 Eva Bowen audio interview and index in OHMS Access Online
GDC-004 Eva Bowen audio on SoundCloud Access Online
 

GDC-005 Bill Bowen interviewed by Hannah Douglas, Dennis Conway, and Julia Chung

Extent: 1.0 sound recording 84 minutes
Abstract: Bill Bowen lives in Watkinsville, Georgia in Oconee County. He lives with his wife Eva Bowen and is the father of his only son, Billy Bowen, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s during the fifth grade. Bill works as a video editor for CNN. Bowen discusses the timeline of his son’s diagnosis of Asperger’s. He gives insight into the diagnosis process, starting at the initial signs of his son’s condition. Bowen provides information on Billy’s behavioral patterns and tendencies and relates them to the symptoms of Asperger’s. He gives advice to other parents with children diagnosed with autism, as he urges the importance of patience and understanding.
GDC-005 Bill Bowen audio interview and index in OHMS Access Online
GDC-005 Bill Bowen audio on SoundCloud Access Online
 

GDC-006 Dina Canup interviewed by Tatiana Anthony, Skye Hinteregger, and Julia Hip

Extent: 1.0 sound recording
GDC-006 Dina Canup audio on Kaltura Access Online
GDC-006 Dina Canup audio on SoundCloud
 

GDC-007 Tatiana Anthony interviewed by Catherine Johnson, Charlsie Griffin, and Joe Luo

Extent: 1.0 sound recording 21 minutes
Abstract: Tatiana Anthony was born in Decatur, Georgia and attends the University of Georgia as a full time student. Tatiana Anthony discusses living with her younger brother, Jacob, who was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. She gives insight into how she and her family operate as a single-parent household in order to ensure proper care for her brother. Anthony describes her future wishes for her brother, including her wish for him to eventually achieve independence.
GDC-007 Tatiana Anthony audio interview and index in OHMS Access Online
GDC-007 Tatiana Anthony audio on SoundCloud Access Online
 

GDC-008 Tom Graf interviewed by Mark Crenshaw

Extent: 1.0 moving image 80 minutes
Scope and Content: Tom Graf reflects on his life work in providing change for those who suffer from mental disabilities. Graf describes his early life as a blue-collar worker, before his eventual change of path into providing care for the mentally disabled. Graf discusses the condition of Atlanta’s mental institutions after moving to Atlanta from Ohio in the early 1970s. Graf reflects on the steps he took to build up his non-profit, the Atlanta Alliance on Developmental Disabilities (AADD), and the parents and politicians who supported his mission. He acknowledges the change that resulted from AADD’s advocacy, including the passing of legislation and redevelopment of Georgia’s care for the mentally disabled.
Biographical Note: Tom Graf was born in Lancaster, Ohio, where he attended Catholic school until high school. After high school, Graf worked a variety of jobs, including at an ice plant and in construction. After deciding to quite blue-collar work, Graf attended Ohio State University on a scholarship where he wrestled, played football, and majored in physical education. After college, Graf worked as a physical education teacher in a school that provided education for the mentally disabled. Graf eventually went back to Ohio State University to receive his masters in special education in 1962. From there, Graf became director of the Happy Hearts School for the mentally disabled, where he provided funding for Happy Hearts through bond issues, and eventually moved to Atlanta in 1965, where he joined the board of many schools that specialized in providing education for the mentally disabled. Later, Graf became the executive director of the Atlanta Alliance on Developmental Disabilities, where he implemented many policies with the goal of ensuring the proper treatment of those with mental disabilities.
GDC-008 Tom Graf video interview and index in OHMS Access Online
GDC-008 Tom Graf audio on SoundCloud Access Online
 

GDC-009 Eve Byrd interviewed by Lei Ellingson

Extent: 1.0 sound recording 38 minutes
Scope and Content: Eve Byrd talks about her and Tom Bornemann’s reaction to the series of exposé articles published in The Atlanta-Journal Constitution over the care of patients in Georgia mental state hospitals. Byrd describes her experience working with Dr. William McDonald, chair of the Fuqua Center for Late-Life Depression, as a supporter of the conversation between stakeholders, medical professionals, and community leaders. Byrd explains how mental health representatives on behalf of the State Department of Georgia partnered with the Fuqua Center for Late-Life Depression at Emory University in the efforts to reform parts of the mental healthcare system of Georgia. Byrd explains her present work as the Director of The Carter Center for Mental Health programs. Byrd reflects how the settlement agreement was carried out in a timely and effective manner, and she gives special recognition to the officials of The Carter Center Mental Health Program who assisted in beneficial developments for patients and stakeholders despite political tensions.
Biographical note: Eve Byrd earned a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Nursing, a master’s degree in Psychosocial Nursing from Florida State University, and a master’s in Public Health from Emory University. yrd was a faculty member at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University. She held the position of executive director of the Fuqua Center for Late-Life Depression before she became the director of The Carter Center’s Mental Health Program in February 2017. Additionally, Byrd has experience with behavioral health policy as a consultant to the Georgia Division of Aging, the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, and the Atlanta Regional Commissioner.
Eve Byrd's role during the settlement agreement between the Georgia State Mental Health Program and the Department of Justice was in engaging stakeholders and supporting the Special Advisor to the Governor on Mental Health.
GDC-009 Eve Byrd audio interview and index in OHMS Access Online
GDC-009 Eve Byrd audio on SoundCloud Access Online
 

GDC-010 Ruby Moore interviewed by Alison Barkoff

Extent: 1.0 sound recording 38 minutes
Scope and Content: Ruby Moore talks about her experience investigating the death of 14–year old Sarah Crider, who was under the care of a Georgia state hospital when she died. Moore talks about the settlement agreement reached between the State of Georgia and the Department of Justice against the wishes of stakeholders and advocacy groups. Moore talks about how advice and contributions from out-of-state resources assisted in the reform of the Georgia mental health care system. Moore describes the shortcomings of the settlement agreement, including the lack of litigation to improve conditions specifically for those with developmental disabilities.
Biographical note: Ruby Moore has more than thirty years of experience in assisting people with disabilities to obtain jobs and careers. Previously, Moore has worked on projects that involve setting up and providing national and state employment technical assistance in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Connecticut. Moore also ran a demonstration model program in New England designed to help people with dual-sensory impairments attain employment. At the time of the interview, Ruby Moore served in as executive directory of the Georgia Advocacy Office, part of the larger implemnentation of the Protection as Advocacy System (P&A) for people with disabilities.
GDC-010 Ruby Moore audio interview and index in OHMS Access Online
GDC-010 Ruby Moore audio on SoundCloud Access Online
 

GDC-011 Thomas Bornemann interviewed by Lei Ellingson

Extent: 1.0 sound recording 33 minutes
Scope and Content: Thomas Bornemann discusses his reaction to the series of articles published by The Atlanta-Journal Constitution. The interviewer, Lei Ellingson, and Bornemann discuss meetings held with advocates from the Georgia mental healthcare system with the initial goal of pursuing litigation against the State of Georgia for the conditions of their state run mental health institutions. Bornemann talks about the process of creating official goals for advocacy groups. Bornemann and Ellingson describe the reaction by stakeholders and advocacy groups to the settlement agreement. Bornemann and Ellingson describe the first meeting held among advocacy groups, and they credit public officials for their part in facilitating the reform. Bornemann and Ellingson talk about their regrets of not also focusing on major reform for people with developmental disabilities. Bornemann ends the interview with his reflection on the cooperation of Georgia citizens during the reformation of the state mental health care system.
Biographical note: Dr. Thomas H. Bornemann has served in a variety of positions throughout his career including, Chief of the refugee program at the Office of International Health; leading the design and developmental team that created patient care services at the National Institute of Mental Health; mental health advisor in the Department of Mental Health and Substance Dependence of the World Health Organization. Dr. Bornemann has had experience in many concentrations including: research, clinical practice, administration, and policy development. Presently, Dr. Bornemann serves as the director of The Carter Center’s Mental Health Program, a position he has held since 2002.
GDC-011 Thomas Bornemann audio interview and index in OHMS Access Online
GDC-011 Thomas Bornemann audio on SoundCloud Access Online
 

GDC-012 Joshua Norris interviewed by Mat Darby

Extent: 1.0 sound recording 53 minutes
Scope and Content: Joshua Norris discusses the interactions between the Department of Justice and the Georgia Advocacy Office over the expośe articles written by The Atlanta-Journal Constitution concerning the treatment of patients at Georgia state mental health hospitals. Norris shares the initial reaction of advocacy groups and stakeholders to the settlement agreement reached by the State of Georgia and the Department of Justice. He explains the process of creating the amici of the court in advance of the settlement hearing. Norris talks about the specifics of the settlement hearings and explains which organizations made up the amici. Norris describes the shortcomings of the settlement agreement in reforming conditions of care for people with developmental disabilities, and explains why litigation against the state of Georgia was only pursued in mental health care. Norris shares his regrets over the lack of specific measures to address children's needs in the rulings concerning the reform of the Georgia mental health care system.
Biographical note: Joshua Norris worked as a lawyer at the Georgia Advocacy Office (GAO) and later as Deputy Legal Directory of Children's Rights at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Norris also operates his own law practice, Joshua H. Norris LLC, where he litigates cases relating to Medicaid benefits and services on behalf of people with disabilities.
GDC-012 Joshua Norris audio and interview index in OHMS Access Online
GDC-012 Joshua Norris audio on SoundCloud Access Online
 

GDC-013 Doug Scott interviewed by Talley Wells

Extent: 1.0 sound recording 42 minutes
Scope and Content: Doug Scott discusses the definition of Supportive Housing, and explains the status of chronic homelessness. Scott compares the societal cost of chronic homelessness vs. supportive permanent housing. Scott and the interviewer, Talley Wells, talk about how supportive housing was eventually integrated into Georgia to carry out Georgia’s Olmstead Plan. Scott talks about his previous experience in creating housing plans. Scott recalls his initial days on the job as the Director of Supportive Housing in the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities. Talley Wells discusses previous attempts by the State of Georgia to implement housing plans to assist the chronically homeless. Scott and Wells explain the model used for the development of permanent housing in Georgia and the adaptation of bridge funding as the method to provide money for the development of such housing. Scott talks about his wish for research to be conducted concerning the effects of permanent supportive housing on the individual.
Biographical note: Doug Scott now serves as the Director of Supportive Housing in the Georgia Department of Developmental Disabilities. In this position, Scott has been accredited with many of the housing plans created to support the integration of mental health patients into the community; including the creation of the tenant-based housing model used to provide housing for recent release patients. Previously, Scott worked as the director of CHRISkids, Atlanta (now known as CHRIS180), a program which focused on aiding young adults in the transition stage between foster care and full independence. Additionally, Doug Scott has served as the administrator of federal funds in the Georgia Department of Community Affairs.
GDC-013 Doug Scott audio and interview index in OHMS Access Online
GDC-013 Doug Scott audio on SoundCloud Access Online
 

GDC-014 Sue Smith and Sue Jamieson interviewed by Cynthia Wainscott

Extent: 1.0 sound recording 47 minutes
Scope and Content: Sue Smith, Sue Jamieson, and the interviewer, Cynthia Wainscott discuss their experience working together prior to the Georgia vs. Department of Justice hearing. Smith and Jamieson discuss the shortcomings of the settlement agreement that was reached as a result. Smith and Jamieson talk about the process of the advocacy groups becoming amici of the court to advocate for revising the settlement agreement through Judge Charles Pannell, the presiding judge over the settlement agreement. Jamieson talks about the shortcomings of the second settlement agreement, which failed to provide changes to the care of children with both developmental disabilities and mental illnesses. Smith, Jamieson, and Wainscott discuss the de-institutionalization movement of the 1980s. Smith, Jamieson, and Wainscott talk about the lack of resources in Georgia to provide adequate housing and care for the large population of those with mental illnesses and developmental disabilities. They discuss the impact of the Department of Justice’s involvement in the settlement agreement. Jamieson and Wainscott talk about the lasting impact of their work on the settlement agreement, including the creation of relationships and long-lasting friendships among those involved.
Biographical note: Sue Jamieson worked at Jacksonville Area Legal Aid and Legal Services of North Carolina, before her career at the Atlanta Legal Aid Society where she serves as the Project Director of the Mental Health and Disability Rights Project. Much of Jamieson’s work focused on providing legal advice for those with disabilities. Jamieson served as lead counsel in the Olmsted vs. L.C. Supreme Court Case of 1999 which ruled that unjustified segregation of persons with disabilities constitutes discrimination in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and that people with disabilities have a qualified right to receive state-funded support and services in the community rather than institutions.
Sue Smith has served as the CEO of the Georgia Parent Support Network (GPSN) since 1987, a grassroots family-run nonprofit organization established in 1989 to help address the needs of children with mental illness, emotional disturbances and behavioral differences and their families.
GDC-014 Sue Smith and Sue Jamieson audio and interview index in OHMS Access Online
GDC-014 Sue Smith and Sue Jamieson audio on SoundCloud Access Online
 

GDC-015 Talley Wells interviewed by Susan Goico

Extent: 1.0 sound recording 45 minutes
Scope and Content: Talley Wells talks about his work in the Disability Integration Project as part of Atlanta Legal Aid. Wells talks about the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service's mandate for Georgia to develop an Olmstead Plan in order to adhere to the requirements set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act. Wells recalls the process of appeals to the court by advocacy groups to allow for the modification of the settlement agreement reached between the Department of Justice and the state of Georgia. Wells explains the process of formulating a system of housing vouchers to aid in the transition and integration of those with mental disabilities into the community. Wells talks about his concerns over the revised settlement agreement. Wells explains the reasons behind the lack of integration services provided by the state. Wells talks about the need for a common goal concerning institutionalized care in the state of Georgia.
Biographical note: Talley Wells earned his Bachelor’s degree and a Juris Doctorate from Duke University School of Law and his Master’s in Education at Harvard University. In 2003, Wells and his wife, Laura helped launch L’Arche Atlanta, an organization started with the mission of developing a community focused on the friendships formed between those with and without developmental disabilities. Wells has also served on leadership boards for The Center for Working Families (2009 to 2017) and the Georgia Supportive Housing Association, during which time he assisted with the development of Permanent Supportive Housing for the state of Georgia. Wells came to work at Atlanta Legal Aid in 2000 before he was eventually promoted to the position of Director of the Disability Integration Project. During his time at Atlanta Legal Aid, Wells served as an advocate in the Department of Justice vs. Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities settlement agreement. Wells has written a series of articles about Olmstead legal services various news outlets. Wells is also the creator of a website known as Olmsteadrights.org, which offers tools and information regarding the rights assured to people with disabilities through Olmstead v. L.C Supreme Court case. Since January 2018, Wells works as the Executive Director of the Georgia Appleseed Center for Law and Justice.
GDC-015 Talley Wells audio and interview index in OHMS Access Online
GDC-015 Talley Wells audio on SoundCloud Access Online
 

GDC-016 Gab Rich interviewed by Susan Goico

Extent: 1.0 sound recording 46 minutes
Scope and Content: Gab Rich talks about her position at Atlanta Legal Aid as a paralegal in the Disability Integration Project. Rich recalls the early days of the Nick Project, a committee-led social project with the mission of providing services to people with mental disabilities who were institutionalized in Georgia State Forensic Hospitals. Rich talks about her initial involvement in the Nick Project and the ways in which the Nick Project has impacted the lives of individuals who suffer from mental illnesses. Nick explains the challenges faced in the managing the operations of the Nick Project, including the provision of adequate housing and challenges of confronting the stigmas associated with providing care for those with mental illnesses. Rich talks about the need for greater community awareness about mental illness.
Biographical note: Gab Rich graduated with a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Emory University and a Master's of Social Work and Community Partnerships from the University of Georgia. Rich has served in a variety of positions focused on the care of those with disabilities and child social work. From 2014-2017, Rich served as a paralegal in the Atlanta Legal Aid Society Disability Integration Project. There, she worked as part of legal team where she provided representation to those with developmental disabilities and mental illnesses. During her time at Atlanta Legal Aid, Rich was also involved in the Nick Project, a committee-led social project that was missioned with the purpose of providing services for those with mental disabilities being held in Georgia state forensic hospitals. Rich presently works as a member of an Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) Team, where she acts as a behavioral health clinician and provides therapeutic counseling for those receiving ACT team services.
GDC-016 Gab Rich audio and interview index in OHMS Access Online
GDC-016 Gab Rich audio on SoundCloud Access Online
 

GDC-017 Harriet Van Norte interviewed by Charles Hopkins and Bob Herrin

Extent: 1.0 moving image 54 minutes
Scope and Content: Harriet Van Norte talks about how she came to work in the Department of Public Health as the admissions coordinator of the state mental health hospitals, and remembers the growth in community services in the early 1970s. Van Norte talks about how she used the relationships formed throughout her career to develop the Georgia mental health department, especially in terms of fundraising for program development. Van Norte describes the training programs held across the state of Georgia to educate practitioners about community-based care as a result of deinstitutionalization movement of the 1980s. Van Norte talks about the in- and out-of-state assistance provided to the state of Georgia in order to promote the de-institutionalization movement. The interviewers conclude by highlighting the impact that Van Norte had on the state of Georgia and about her contribution to the quality of Georgia's disability services.
Biographical/Historical note: Harriet Van Norte moved to Georgia in the 1970’s, where she worked for one year as a before she began working as the Admission Coordinator at the Department of Public, and where she later served as the Director of Residential Services overseeing the state mental health hospitals. Van Norte later worked as the Director of Consumer Affairs at the Georgia Public Service Commission, where, after work hours, she worked to secure funding for projects to help people with developmental disabilities.
GDC-017 Harriet Van Norte video and interview index in OHMS Access Online
GDC-017 Harriet Van Norte audio on SoundCloud Access Online