Dr. Joan Beasley is a licensed mental health counselor and holds a Ph.D. in Social Policy from the Heller School at Brandeis University. Her research focused on mental health service experiences of people with Intellectual Disabilities. Dr. Beasley has worked to promote the development of effective services for people with disabilities and their families for more than 30 years, and is the recipient of the 2010 Frank J. Menolascino Award for Excellence from the NADD.
She is the author and co-founder of the START program, first implemented in 1989. In 2001, START was identified in the US Surgeon General's report as a national model. Dr. Beasley is a Research Associate professor at the University of New Hampshire and serves as the Director of the National Center for START Services at the University of New Hampshire's Institute on Disability UCED. The Center is a national learning and teaching center for the development of the START model dedicated to evidence-based development and implementation of effective services and supports to individuals with developmental/intellectual disabilities and behavioral health care needs and their families.
Dr. Beasley has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, and has provided training throughout the US and Canada. She serves on the National Board of Directors of NADD, is co-chair of the Behavioral Health Special Interest Group of AUCD and serves on the Mental Health Advisory Committee of the International Special Olympics. She has been the editor of "The US Public Policy Update" an ongoing contribution to the NADD Bulletin, since 2003.