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About Us

The Center on Knowledge Translation for Employment Research (CeKTER) is funded by National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) and our goal is to generate new materials and methods for greater utilization of knowledge translation in services and policies to successfully promote employment outcomes for people with disabilities. CeKTER is co-located in the Boston University Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation (BU CPR) and the Implementation Science and Practice Advances Research Center (iSPARC) at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Knowledge translation (KT) refers to strategies that move research into practice by improving the relevance, reporting, accessibility, interpretation, and application of research results. We recognize that there are a wide range of stakeholders or target audiences for NIDILRR-funded disability employment research, including policy makers, professionals, persons with lived experience, family members, researchers, and industry, so messaging and delivery method of findings must be tailored.

CeKTER utilizes the expertise of an advisory council comprised of professionals in implementation science, representatives of national associations of people with disabilities, as well as prominent NIDILRR disability employment researchers.

To help stakeholders meet their identified needs within those areas, CeKTER investigates and tests knowledge translation (KT) strategies. CeKTER also provides technical assistance to grantees to plan and engage in KT activities. Other Center activities include developing and evaluating a capacity building strategy to strengthen knowledge translation expertise and delivering this strategy for broader utilization and conducting communities of practice with NIDILRR employment research grantees.

The Center aims to enhance grantees' understanding of KT strategies, and then support them to conduct their own research, development, and dissemination. Dissemination activities highlight the NIDILRR grantees’ work, and the Center actively promotes CeKTER activities and products to ensure utilization.

Learn about our team

  • Marianne Farkas

    Marianne Farkas, Sc.D.

    Co-Principal Investigator

    Dr. Farkas is the Co-Principal Investigator of the Research and Training Center and Professor in Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at Boston University. She is a nationally and internationally recognized educator and innovator with over 100 published articles, 10 textbooks and training curricula, and 7 multi-media training packages to her name, with both academic and professional awards for her work, particularly in the area of psychiatric rehabilitation, recovery oriented practice and employment. She has developed processes for Implementation and Knowledge Translation throughout her career, particularly with respect to systematic end user involvement, workforce development and conceptualization of scaling up approaches. 

  • Marsha Langer Ellison

    Marsha Langer Ellison, Ph.D.

    Co-Principal Investigator

    Dr. Ellison brings over 30 years of expertise in rehabilitation research, during which she co-authored A Handbook for Participatory Action Researchers, the first of its kind in psychiatric disabilities. As Deputy Director for KT for the NIDILRR-funded Learning and Working During the Transition to Adulthood RRTC, she has led the development of the RRTC’s robust program of TA, dissemination, and training, which fully uses end-user voice in their design.

  • Melissa L. Anderson, Ph.D.

    Senior Advisor

    Dr. Melissa L. Anderson, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry (UMMS), will be a Senior Advisor on our comparative effectiveness research study and our dissemination efforts. She is the Co-Director of the Stakeholder Engagement Program at iSPARC and Director of the DeafYES! Center for Deaf Empowerment and Recovery. Infusing participatory action principles throughout her work, studies, and products led by Dr. Anderson are consistently co-produced by Deaf professionals and laypersons, ensuring its relevance and accessibility.

  • Phillipe Bloch, M.Ed.

    Senior Research Coordinator

    Mr. Bloch has been employed by the BU-CPR for many years and has extensive experience in coordinating research activities for randomized trials, recruiting, and screening participants for research studies, quantitative data collection, Institutional Review Board applications, data monitoring, and quality control of data collection. He will assist Drs. Gidugu and Russinova in data management and extraction on for the systematic scoping review.

  • Zachary Cutler, M.B.A.

    Marketing and Technology Administrator

    Mr. Cutler brings expertise in cognitive remediation research, Business and Marketing, as well as technology use and development to the KT Center.  He will help to create technology relevant to training and coaching as well as contribute to appropriate web pages and social media marketing, as needed by the development, utilization, and training projects.

  • Vasudha Gidugu, Ph.D.

    Senior Research Scientist

    Dr. Gidugu will be co-Project Director of the scoping review of NIDILRR employment research project. She has extensive experience as a project manager at the BU CPR and is well versed in procedures for successfully mounting rigorous clinical trials, and in qualitative research methodologies focused on improving outcomes for people with disabilities.

  • Gretchen Grappone, MSW, LICSW

    Senior Training Associate

    Ms. Grappone has worked over the past two decades in clinical, research, and training settings with emphasis on the importance of providing effective employment services for people living with disabilities. She will assist in setting up and teaching in the KT Academy, as well as contributing to the development and delivery of coaching materials. Ms. Grappone has written training curricula and facilitated training on the topic of motivational strategies for engaging people receiving disability benefits in employment services.

  • Lyn Legere, M.S.

    Senior Training Associate

    Ms. Legere will bring her expertise as a nationally recognized peer leader, trainer, and advocate to her role on our utilization project. As an expert in developing and implementing training, particularly peer coaching, certification and benefits counseling, Ms. Legere will participate in delivering coaching services, as well as teach in the KT Academy.

  • Deirdre (Dee) Logan, B.A.

    Site Project Director

    Dee Logan will be the Site Project Director for the comparative effectiveness research study, our dissemination efforts, our Technical Assistance program, and collaboration efforts. For over six years, she has led the KT activities of the NIDILRR-funded Learning and Working During the Transition to Adulthood RRTC and iSPARC, including printed materials, video production, social media, webinars, and e-newsletters/e-blasts, including developing an informational comic for youth and young adults with psychiatric disabilities.

  • Joe Marrone, M.S.

    Project Director

    Mr. Marrone was the Senior Program Manager for Training/Technical Assistance Policy, at the Institute for Community Inclusion, Center on State Systems and Employment (RRTC) and the National Center for Workforce and Disability UMass for over 25 years. He has extensive experience implementing employment programs and consulting to state VR systems. Well respected nationally and highly knowledgeable about employment issues, he is ideally suited for his role as co-Project Director providing technical assistance as well as coaching.

  • Alexandra (Ally) Murray, MPA

    Web Development Specialist

    Alexandra Murray will be responsible for developing and maintaining our user-friendly and accessible website. She will design our written products, posters, and advertisements. Ms. Murray is the web/graphic designer at iSPARC and the Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research. She has extensive experience in web and written product design, HTML, CSS, data management, knowledge of web-accessibility standards, and is comfortable working with a wide array of technological platforms.

  • Morgan Rao, B.A.

    Research Coordinator

    Morgan Rao is a Research Coordinator at iSPARC. Her work with CeKTER includes assisting with literature reviews, research synthesis, technical writing, and general project management.

  • Melody Riefer, MSW

    Senior Training Associate

    Ms. Riefer is a nationally recognized peer leader, trainer, and advocate working extensively in policy and curriculum development, as well as in the expansion of the peer workforce across healthcare. Ms. Riefer has worked extensively with employment initiatives and benefits programs. As an experienced trainer, implementation specialist, and systems-level consultant, she will assist in setting up and teaching in the KT Academy, as well as contributing to the development and delivery of the coaching strategy.

  • Zlatka Russinova, Ph.D.

    Research Associate Professor

    Dr. Russinova will be the second co-Project Director of the scoping review research project. She has extensive experience developing and managing successful grants and innovative research studies. Dr. Russinova has published extensively about employment for individuals with psychiatric disabilities, with significant experience in developing and testing new interventions in vocational services and outcomes.

  • Bo Wang, Ph.D., MPH


    Dr. Bo Wang, Associate Professor (UMMS) will be the Statistician on comparative effectiveness research study and our dissemination efforts. He has received extensive training in epidemiology and biostatistics. He has significant expertise in intervention studies utilizing state-of-the-art research designs (MOST/SMART) and advanced statistical methods.

  • Jean Wnuk, B.A., MBA

    Social Media Specialist

    Jean Wnuk will work on several projects within CeKTER and manage the Center’s social media platforms. She plans and manages social media for iSPARC and the Transitions to Adulthood Center for Research. Prior to joining iSPARC, Ms. Wnuk had been in the e-commerce world for 20 years, including owning her own online business, which she grew to a $1.6 million-dollar business, using social media, email marketing, and other online forms of communication to develop brands, communicate information, and strengthen relationships with key stakeholders.

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