Founder & Executive Director
Melissa Marotta Houser, M.D. (she/they)
Mel Houser, M.D. (she/they) is an autistic/PDA/ADHD/dyslexic/dyspraxic/dyscalculic Board Certified Family Physician. Except for the doctor part, she didn’t know any of these things about herself until age 37. In fact, she was diagnosed autistic on the 2 year anniversary of her child’s diagnosis. “Dr. Mel” is passionate about teaching kids (with all types of brains) about their brains. She loves helping patients of all ages to discover their true selves. She loves empowering patients to become self-actualized self-advocates for what they need in this world. Mel gets dopamine from supporting multigenerational neurodivergent families to overcome society’s broken systems and discover the truth that there is no one “right” way to be a person.
Dr. Houser holds a Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Vermont College of Medicine. They completed residency training in Family Medicine at Middlesex Hospital in Connecticut, where they served as Chief Resident. They also completed a Fellowship in Medical Student Education from the Society of Teachers of Family Medicine, as well as several hundreds of hours of training in neurodevelopment, autism, ADHD, dyspraxia, and learning differences.
Dr. Houser has a monotropic focus on brains. At any given time, Mel is thinking, learning, communicating, making YouTube videos, or otherwise philosophizing about brains. Mel considers herself bilingual: she speaks “neurotypical” (with taxing effort but extensive experience) and her native dopamine-bound tongue. Mel often finds herself in the unique role of “interpreter” between two cultures that do not understand or communicate with one another very well (see also: the Double Empathy problem). From this perspective, she feels uniquely poised to promote her vision of the #LongGame of true inclusion. No “defaults.” No “other.” She looks forward to shifting our community’s lens and understanding of neurodiversity. World Rule: All brains are awesome, and all brains belong.
Governing Board of Directors
Connie Beal (she/her) – Treasurer
Connie Beal is the Director of United Way’s Working Bridges program. Working Bridges partners with employers to support employee retention. She supports a team of Resource Coordinators in workplaces across Northwest, Central, and Northeast Vermont to support employees by addressing access to housing, transportation, healthcare, and so many other fundamental human needs.
Connie believes that neuro-inclusion in the workplace and beyond is a fundamental part of health equity. She believes that all people should be able to show up fully in all the places of their lives — work, healthcare, school. She is passionate about helping ABB meet the deep, critical need in our community. As the parent of two young children, she believes that conversations about neurodiversity and inclusion should begin early on and extend to everyone.
Hannah Bloom, MOTR/L (she/her)
Hannah Bloom is a neurodivergent Occupational Therapist, and a lover of play and meaningful use of play. Her vision for inclusion lies in connection. We can all be in a space together, and hold space for all nervous systems to connect, find community, and meaning. Community engagement and access is one of Hannah’s core values, as this is what affords unlimited possibilities.
Hannah holds a Master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of New Mexico, and received her Sensory Integration Certification from University of Southern California. She also completed a LEND (Leadership & Education in Neurologic Development) interdisciplinary leadership fellowship. While in New Mexico, Hannah taught at the UNM and in community settings for OT graduate students, ran her own OT practice, and worked at an overnight summer camp for autistic children and teens. Hannah currently works as a school-based occupational therapist with dreams of starting a summer camp in Vermont.
Hannah’s world includes her family. She loves to explore the world with her 4 year old, new baby, partner, sister and her family, and her parents. She is living in a multigenerational home and loving the extended connections and multiple ways of navigating the world.
Nadine Budbill (she/her) – Co-Chair
Nadine Budbill is a queer, cis-gender, white, neurodivergent woman and the parent of a non-binary neurodivergent child whom she co-parents with her non-binary butch partner. An experienced fundraiser and communications/outreach expert, Nadine loves sharing her extensive experience in the nonprofit sector with All Brains Belong, having worked in youth-serving organizations for over 20 years, from The Girls Project in New York City, to Girls Inc. in Oakland, CA, to Vermont Works for Women. In 2001, Nadine co-founded an outdoor education program for youth called Dirt Divas, which empowered thousands of girls and gender-expansive youth through mountain biking (one of her favorite activities) over 18 years. Currently she works as the Grants and Communications Manager for Boston area-based Science Club for Girls. Nadine has a B.A. in Race and Gender Studies from Hampshire College and a M.A. in Education from Prescott College.
With two decades of experience in the fields of gender equity, experiential education, positive youth development, fundraising, grant writing, communications, and copywriting, she loves any opportunity that allows her to merge her passion for writing, community-building, and social justice. Nadine is passionate about All Brains Belong’s mission to build a more inclusive world that is truly a safe and healthy place for all.
Winnie Looby, Ph.D. (she/her)
Winnie Looby, Ph.D. is a lecturer and coordinator of academics for the Center on Disability and Community Inclusion (CDCI) at the University of Vermont. Her teaching focuses on disability culture, social justice, and inclusion. What she loves most about her work is the broad network of collaborative relationships that she has formed over the years, with organizations such as the Vermont State Independent Living Council (VTSILC), the Vermont Center for Independent Living (VCIL), Building Flourishing Communities and, of course, All Brains Belong VT.
Winnie has found a holistic synergy in this work in that she is part of a neurodivergent family, and her personal experiences inform her approaches to teaching and advocacy for the rights of disabled people/people with disabilities. She believes that many of our social issues can be solved when people who are often on the margins of the mainstream of society are meaningfully included in interdependent relationships where their strengths are recognized, appreciated, and respected. Nothing about us without us!
Rachel Lovins, MD (she/her) – Co-Secretary
Rachel Lovins, MD is a board certified Internal Medicine Physician, Certified Physician Executive, educator, and professional coach. She has special interest and training in medical ethics, palliative care, wellness, communication, and equity and inclusion. She studied painting as an undergraduate and is fascinated by the way the right brain and left brain work together and the interplay between science art and music. Dr. Lovins completed her Medical School and Residency training in Internal Medicine at Yale University. She received additional training in Palliative Care at Harvard University. She is the former Chair of Medicine at Middlesex Hospital in Connecticut, where she co-founded a multidisciplinary program to support transgender and gender non-conforming patients. Dr. Lovins serves on the faculty of Yale University and Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine. She presently is a Medical Director of a patient education/engagement company which uses microlearning theory to help people with different learning styles.
Dr. Lovins is dedicated to living and helping others live their most authentic lives. She has neurodivergent family members and is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with All Brains Belong on our mission to make the world a safer and more welcoming place for people with every kind of brain. She and her husband have three grown children and enjoy spending time outdoors with their dogs, cat and bees.
Katie Miller (she/her) – Co-Secretary
Katie Miller is a self-titled nonprofit nerd and creator whose superpowers are humor and tenacity. She is the Executive Director of Inclusive Arts Vermont and enjoys bringing together her background as an artist and her management skills to serve the community. Katie has a passion for inclusion and completed her graduate research on how to make the arts more accessible to rural communities. Katie gets really excited by strategic planning, big picture thinking, and trying to make sense of many parts of a whole organization coming together to form a clear(ish) picture.
From the moment Katie heard about ABB, she knew that she needed to put her nonprofit nerdery to use and help somehow. She brings with her many years of nonprofit management experience, as well as lived experience as a neurodivergent human and the parent of an autistic kid.
In her free time, Katie enjoys writing, oil painting, photography, cooking, and spending time with her family.
Matt Mulligan (he/him) – Co-Chair
Matt Mulligan is always trying to find new and different ways to build relationships and support people that are struggling, including the children he worked with in his time as a public school para educator and now his clients as a community based mental health counselor for Washington County Mental Health emergency services.
Born at 28 weeks, having had close to 30 surgeries including 19 brain surgeries, and diagnosed with learning differences at 40, Matt understands what it’s like to move through a normative world in an atypical way.
Matt lives by the philosophy that life is all about the relationships we create. He has lived all over the country including as a professional fundraiser, traveled all over the world, and now resides in his hometown of Barre, Vermont. He loves to cook and bake, is famous for sharing recipes and has long held a fascination with quirky architecture. He is also the author of Tomatoes and Peppers: A Metaphorical Tale, for Anyone Who Cares About Kids.
Matt is glad to serve as a board member for All Brains Belong because he sees ABB as a bridge of understanding between those who struggle and the world around them.
Theresa Murray-Clasen (she/her)
Theresa Murray-Clasen is a social justice advocate who has spent the past 25 years helping Vermonters build strong community relationships that foster inclusive and healthy lives. After serving in the Peace Corps, Theresa initially came to Vermont to head up the Vermont Department of Public Service’s Consumer Advocacy Division. Following the birth of her two (now adult) daughters, Theresa’s work has focused on the environmental impact and intersection of local food systems and education. She has served on numerous non-profit boards focusing on social justice and equity within the community, the environment, sustainable food systems, and public schools. Theresa has also taken her deep and broad statewide Vermont experience and translated it into a successful real estate career.
Theresa is interested in the intersectionality of neurodiversity and race, and brings her social justice perspective to ABB to ensure that we give our multiply marginalized community members a voice in our work.
Many thanks to our founding Governance Board members, who launched ABB into the world, 11/15/2021. Thank you for your service!
- Hannah Bloom, MOTR/L
- Danielle Kent, MS, CCC-SLP
- Theresa Murray-Clasen
- Aimil Parmelee, MOTR/L, CCM
- Hannah Zajac, PT, DPT, NCS, CBIS
Community Advisory Board
- Matthew LeFluer
- Megan Thomas
- Clem Noone
- Sarah Knutson
- Liam Riddle
- Linda Riddle
- Alicia Banach
- Claudia Abbiati
- Nita Hanson
- Hazel Adams
- David Brasure
- Charlie Hohn
- Janelle Starr
- Jessica Macleod
- Amy Noyes
- Joy Redington
- Stephanie Peabody
- José Rivera
- Gray Costin
Professional Advisory Board
- Danielle Kent, M.S., CC-SLP
- Kerry Boyle, L.Ac, M.S.
- Becky Walsh, CFP
- Hannah Zajac PT, DPT, NCS, CBIS
Junior Advisory Council
We currently have a neurodiverse group of 12 kids who help give ideas for programs and teach us various keys to the universe. This is an opportunity for youth under 18 to shape what they’d like the ABB Village to look like. Email if you’re interested.
“It Takes a Village” Scholarship Fund
In April 2022, a group of Community Advisory Board members created the “It Takes a Village Fund,” a donation-based scholarship to support ABB’s patients experiencing challenges with their medical expenses.
“I want to make sure people keep reaching out to get their needs met, without shame. I would love to set a precedent of this community supporting itself and taking care of one another.” – ABB Community Advisory Board member