Founder & Executive Director
Melissa Marotta Houser, M.D. (she/they)
Mel Houser, M.D. 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 so much dopamine from supporting multigenerational dopamine-bound families to overcome society’s Brain Rules and discover the World Rules of there being no one “right” way to be a person.
Dr. Houser holds a Doctorate of Medicine from the University of Vermont College of Medicine, and completed her residency training in Family Medicine at Middlesex Hospital in Connecticut, where she served as Chief Resident. She 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
Hannah Bloom, MOTR/L (she/her/hers)
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)
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.
Danielle Kent, SLP (she/her)
Danielle Kent is a speech language pathologist and executive functions coach in private practice (Piece of Mind Therapy & Consulting, LLC) as well as the Program Director for the Vermont Higher Education Collaborative’s Neurodiversity & Inclusion Program and President of the Vermont Speech-Language Hearing Board of Directors. Danielle is the author of Max Learns to Pause, a children’s book that serves as a resource for caregivers on the power of co-regulation. Danielle is passionate about neurodiversity-affirming practices in the area of self-regulation/executive function skill development, and has presented across the state on these topics. As part of this passion, she also completed the LEND interdisciplinary fellowship in 2016 and is DIR-Floortime certified. She teaches a variety of workshops in early speech/language development for various higher education institutions across Vermont. Her work focuses on equipping students, families, and professionals with tools to support connection, play, and problem solving.
Danielle’s vision for ABB to serve the needs of the community by creating a space where all people can find a place to belong.
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)
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)
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)
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.
Aimil Parmelee, MOTR/L, CCM (she/her)
Aimil Parmelee is an occupational therapist and certified case manager, with over a decade of experience supporting patients with brain-related disabilities. Aimil is interested in systems. She sees the world through the lens of interconnected pieces, and knows that the health of a “system” requires all of its parts working together.
Aimil has particular expertise in brain injury, concussion, dementia, mental health, and home and community interventions. She is currently in a non-traditional position at Central Vermont Home Health & Hospice as their Complex Care Coordinator, working with clinical teams across the agency to support people with complex medical and social needs. She collaborates with various community agencies to address issues such as rehospitalizations, high utilization of the emergency room, medical care for the homeless population, and other areas where there are shortfalls in our current systems. Aimil also serves as the Central Vermont regional representative for the Vermont Occupational Therapy Association.
Aimil’s vision for All Brains Belong VT is an inclusive space from which to build a community, as she sees the need for a space like this on a daily basis in her professional work.
Aimil enjoys spending time with her spouse and their two young children. Together, they particularly love being outdoors, working on renovating their house, and getting lost in play.
Hannah Zajac, PT, DPT, NCS, CBIS (she/her)
Hannah Zajac is a physical therapist and Board Certified Neurologic Specialist with extensive experience in a variety of inpatient and outpatient settings. Hannah has a doctorate in physical therapy from the University of Montana and is a graduate of the Neurological Clinical specialist residency at the Ohio State University. Hannah loves learning about the brain and what makes people’s brains unique and how to help support them to navigate their experiences. In both her experience as a physical therapist and as a parent of a neurodivergent child, Hannah is committed to make life simpler and more supportive for all people. Hannah’s hope as a board member is to help any community member make connections and help support them through their journey.
Community Advisory Board
- Matthew LeFluer
- Megan Thomas
- Clem Noone
- Sarah Knutson
- Liam Riddle
- Linda Riddle
- Alicia Banach
- Claudia Abbiati
- Hazel Adams
- Elizabeth Pieratt
- Charlie Hohn
- Janelle Starr
- Jessica Macleod
- Chris Ahern
- Joy Redington
- Stephanie Peabody
- José Rivera
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
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.