"A timely contribution . . . cover[s] the myriad of conditions and impairments, but still manages to be strengths-based and not simply a litany of deficits."
(Michael L. Wehmeyer, Ph.D., FAAIDD)
Ivan Brown has worked in, and contributed to, the field of disabilities for the past 25 years. He began his work life as an elementary school teacher for 8 years before taking a position with Community Living Toronto, where he worked as a vocational counselor and community living support worker while completing his graduate studies in counseling psychology (M.Ed.) and special education (Ph.D.). In 1991, he took a position as Senior Research Associate with the Centre for Health Promotion, Department of Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto, where he managed a number of large research projects. Several of these addressed quality of life of children with disabilities, adults with developmental disabilities, seniors, and adolescents. He held appointments during the 1990s as Assistant Professor in the Departments of Occupational Therapy and Public Health Sciences, both at the University of Toronto, and taught both in the graduate health promotion program in the Department of Public Health Sciences and in the School of Early Childhood Education at Ryerson University in Toronto, which has a special focus on young children with special needs. Ivan is manager of the Centre of Excellence for Child Welfare, a national body for research and policy development in child welfare, to which he brings an important disability focus. The Centre is housed within the graduate Faculty of Social Work at the University of Toronto, in which Ivan holds an appointment of Associate Professor. Research in disability has been, and continues to be, a critical part of his ongoing work.
Ivan has a strong history of community involvement in disability, serving on numerous government and community agency committees and boards, participating in research projects, and acting in leadership roles with several professional organizations. In particular, he was a longstanding member of the Board of Directors of the Ontario Association on Developmental Disabilities and served as its Chair for a 2-year period. In 2001, he was awarded this Association's highest honor, the Directors' Award of Excellence. He is a fellow of the International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disability and is a long-standing member of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (formerly the American Association on Mental Retardation [AAMR]).
Ivan has contributed substantially to the Canadian and international literature, particularly in the areas of quality of life and intellectual disabilities. He has more than 100 peer-reviewed publications to his credit-in the form of books, book chapters, and journal articles-as well as numerous other articles, editorials, reviews, booklets, scales, and manuals. He has made 112 presentations at academic conferences in the past 10 years, including several keynote speeches. He serves on the review boards of seven academic journals and was co-editor with Maire Percy of the comprehensive text Developmental Disabilities in Ontario, Second Edition (Ontario Association on Developmental Disabilities, 2003). He was the founding editor of the Journal on Developmental Disabilities and still sits as a member of its Chief Editorial Board.
Ivan continues to be personally involved in disability issues, through sharing the lives of many friends with disabilities and through sharing his household with a man who has visual and cognitive impairments. He holds a strong belief that including disability as part of our daily life activities is an enriching experience for us all.
In addition to working at Surrey Place Centre (a Toronto agency providing coordinated service, education, and research in the intellectual disabilities field), Maire Percy is Professor Emeritus of Physiology and Obstetrics &: Gynaecology at the University of Toronto. She holds a bachelor's degree in physiology and biochemistry, a master's degree in medical biophysics, and a doctoral degree in biochemistry, all from the University of Toronto; in addition, she is an Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Music of Toronto (A.R.C.T.). She did postdoctoral training as a Medical Research Council Fellow in immunology at the Agricultural Research Council Institute of Animal Physiology, Babraham, United Kingdom, and in immunology and genetics at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. As National Health Research Scholar (Health Canada), Maire entered the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities after a meeting with Arthur Dalton, then Director of Behavior Research at Surrey Place Centre, who recognized the potential of her multidisciplinary background and creativity for research in intellectual disabilities. In collaboration with Arthur Dalton and Vera Markovic, cytogeneticist at Surrey Place, Maire initiated biochemical and genetic studies of aging and dementia in people with Down syndrome. Research in this field soon took precedence for her, and in 1989 she was invited to join the Department of Biomedical Services and Research at Surrey Place Centre, under the direction of Joseph M. Berg, eminent clinical geneticist and psychiatrist.
Maire's knowledge and expertise in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities continued to expand as the result of her research; her role as Chair of the research ethics board at Surrey Place Centre; and her extensive professional activities in the intellectual disabilities field, which include cofounding the Research Special Interest Group of the Ontario Association on Developmental Disabilities and the Fragile X Research Foundation of Canada, being Chair of the Publication Committee of the Ontario Association on Developmental Disabilities, and being a member of the Chief Editorial Committee of the Journal on Developmental Disabilities. A dedicated teacher, Maire developed a graduate course entitled Neuroscience of the Developmental Disabilities, providing her with the inspiration and background material to produce Developmental Disabilities in Ontario (co-edited with Ivan Brown).
Author of more than 250 published papers, book chapters, and presentations and reviewer of publications and grants for numerous scientific journals and granting agencies, Maire is internationally known for her work on risk factors in serious human disorders and diseases and as an exemplary mentor of students at all levels. In 2004, in recognition for her lifetime contributions to the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities, she received the Research Excellence Award of the Ontario Association on Developmental Disabilities. The asteroid mairepercy is named in honor of her scientific and research contributions.
Maire currently is involved in collaborative studies of vitamin E in older persons with Down syndrome; in collaborative studies of the roles of iron, aluminum, and B vitamins in dementia; and in the development of screening tools to identify support needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She shares her home with her husband John (Professor of Astronomy) and two cats and is the mother of Carol (Professor of English).