Speakers & Events

Plenary Speakers

EtchellsMichael Bach Phd
Managing Director,
IRIS – Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society
Adjunct Professor, Disability Studies
Ryerson University
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Michael Bach is Managing Director of IRIS – Institute for Research and Development on Inclusion and Society, and Adjunct Professor in Disability Studies at Ryerson University. For the past 30 years, he has undertaken research and development in Canada and internationally on ways to advance the full inclusion and human rights of persons with intellectual disabilities.  His publications cover disability theory, policy and practice in a range of areas including legal capacity, education, employment, and individualized funding and delivery of community-based supports.  He has recently completed an Open Society Foundations Fellowship, which continued his international comparative research on the right to legal capacity for people with significant intellectual disabilities.

CoffeyElisabeth Dykens PhD
Annette Schaffer Eskind Chair
Director, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center
Professor, Psychology and Human Development, Psychiatry, and Pediatrics
Nashville, Tennessee, USA

Elisabeth Dykens, Ph.D., is Director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development, a Eunice Kennedy Shriver Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center; and she is Co-Director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. She is Annette Schaffer Eskind Chair and Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry, and Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University.

Dr. Dykens received a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Kansas. She completed a predoctoral internship and a postdoctoral fellowship at Yale University’s School of Medicine, Child Study Center. She served on the junior faculty at the Yale Child Study Center for seven years. In 1995, she joined the faculty of University of California Los Angeles where she was Associate Professor and then Professor-in-Residence at the Neuropsychiatric Institute, and Associate Director for Research and Training at UCLA’s Tarjan Center for Excellence on Developmental Disabilities. She directed the UCLA Lili Claire Family Resource Center and was Co-Director of out-patient clinics for persons with both intellectual disabilities and mental health concerns. She joined the Vanderbilt University faculty in 2003.

Dr. Dykens’s research examines psychopathology and areas of strength in persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities, especially those with genetic syndromes. Her studies focus on the development and correlates of psychopathology and behavioral problems in Prader-Willi syndrome, Williams syndrome, and Down syndrome. These include marked obsessive-compulsive behaviors in Prader-Willi syndrome, heightened anxiety in Williams syndrome, and increased withdrawal and depression in Down syndrome. Dykens also examines profiles of neurocognitive and adaptive strengths and weaknesses in these disorders, and how these unusual profiles refine treatment and shed light on typical development. A related area of research is stress, coping, and positive outcomes in families of persons with developmental disabilities.

Plenary Panelists

To be determined.


To be determined.

Faculty Disclosure

It is the policy of University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine, Continuing Professional Development to ensure balance, independence, objectivity, and scientific rigor in all its individually accredited or jointly accredited educational programs. Speakers and/or planning committee members, participating in University of Toronto accredited programs, are expected to disclose to the program audience any real or apparent conflict(s) of interest that may have a direct bearing on the subject matter of the continuing education program. This pertains to relationships within the last FIVE (5) years with pharmaceutical companies, biomedical device manufacturers, or other corporations whose products or services are related to the subject matter of the presentation topic. The intent of this policy is not to prevent a speaker with a potential conflict of interest from making a presentation. It is merely intended that any potential conflict should be identified openly so that the listeners may form their own judgments about the presentation with the full disclosure of facts. It remains for the audience to determine whether the speaker’s outside interests may reflect a possible bias in either the exposition or the conclusions presented.