About our Team

Principal Investigator

7F93E810-B1D8-4690-AF4B-2E70110D0C23_1_201_aLaura Foran Lewis, PhD, RN (she/her) is an Assistant Professor in the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at the University of Vermont.  Dr. Lewis completed her Bachelor’s, Masters, and PhD programs at the University of Connecticut, where she studied dementia at the end of life.  During graduate school, she became interested in autism when a family member was diagnosed as an adult.  This experience opened her eyes to a much larger network of adults and family members of autistic adults, the Neurodiversity movement, and opportunities to enhance support and improve quality of life for autistics.  Besides research, Dr. Lewis enjoys spending time with her family, playing piano, and hiking and camping.gor

For more information about Dr. Lewis: Click Here

Autistic Partners

Mel HouserMelissa Houser, M.D. is an autistic/ADHD Board-certified family physician, with a clinical focus on supporting autistic or otherwise neurodivergent children, adults, and multi-generational families.  Dr. Houser recently founded All Brains Belong VT, a nonprofit healthcare organization in Montpelier VT that provides customized, inclusive healthcare, community education, and opportunities for kids and adults using universal design principles. 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 neurodevelopmental differences including autism, ADHD, dyspraxia, and learning differences.  In her spare time, Dr. Houser enjoys philosophical chats with her 5 year old, creating YouTube videos for kids, and connecting with others about her monotropic interest in brains.
For more information about Dr. Houser and All Brains Belong: Click Here
Zeph (they/them) is an adult-diagnosed, queer Autistic disabled with C/PTSD, Agoraphobia, and Functional Neurological Disorder consequent from undiagnosed Autism. First suspecting they were Autistic in 2016 at the age of 51, it would take over two years and Autistic Burnout to receive an Autism diagnosis. It would take another three years to gain access to services for adult-diagnosed Autistics. Zeph is great at finding gaps in services for adult Autistics and welcomes the opportunity to inform and guide PCOR. Research on missed/adult diagnoses, supports for adult-diagnosed Autistics, and adult Autism awareness/identification are of special interest. 

Student Partners

Abby Burfoot (UVM Nursing Class of 2022) 

Julia Carbone is a junior Nursing student, with an interest in pediatrics. She is a member of the National Honor Society of Nursing, and works as a PCA at Massachusetts General Hospital for Children.

Meg Cleary (UVM Nursing Class of 2022) 

Katie Crouch is a Speech-Language Pathologist with 8 years of clinical experience. She is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Interprofessional Health Sciences, focused on the cognitive and emotional impacts of stuttering.

Emma DeBole (she/her) is a junior pursuing a Nursing degree with a particular interest in birth and women’s health. Emma loves hiking and exploring new places in her free time, and she is very excited to be involved in nursing research that supports and learns from the voices of autistic folks.

Mia Layton (UVM Nursing Class of 2022) 

Caroline Mahoney (UVM Nursing Class of 2023)

Molly Page (UVM Nursing Class of 2022)