Faculty and Staff

Paul Wehman

Dr. Paul Wehman, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator


Dr. Wehman has been a Professor of Physical Medicine with joint appointments in the Departments of Rehabilitation Counseling and Special Education / Disability Policy at VCU for over 30 years. He serves as Chairman for the Division of Rehabilitation Research in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and has managed NIDILRR funded RRTCs and DRRPs. He was one of the pioneers in the development of supported employment in the early 1980s and has published over 200 articles and authored/edited 40 books and has served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation,(JVR) since 1991. Dr. Wehman has three adult children with disabilities to include congenital heart disease, severe rheumatoid arthritis and ADHD/LD and brings a strong parental perspective to the project. He has been recognized as one of the 50 most influential people in special education for the millennium and on a daily basis works with PWD, communicates regularly with VA DARS and other VR Directors, policy makers, and professionals related to disability and diversity. Dr. Wehman is active in teaching and mentoring undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students.

Jennifer Todd McDonough

Jennifer Todd McDonough, M.S., C.R.C.

Co-Principal Investigator & Project Director


Jennifer Todd McDonough has been a faculty member at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and working in the field of employment for people with disabilities for over 10 years. She earned her M.S. from the Medical College of Virginia at Virginia Commonwealth University in Rehabilitation Counseling. Ms. McDonough is the Associate Director of Training at VCU-RRTC. She is also the Project Coordinator for the Vocational Rehabilitation Service Models for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders DRRP. Additionally, Ms. McDonough provides technical assistance and disseminates resources nationally to individuals interested in pursuing self-employment. Ms. McDonough is a national expert on Social Security Disability Benefits and Work Incentives. Throughout her career with VCU-RRTC, Ms. McDonough has worked directly with individuals with disabilities assisting them in locating employment and determining accommodation needs.

Alissa Brooke

Alissa Brooke, M.S., CRC, PBSF

Director of Training & Technical Assistance


Alissa Brooke, M.S., CRC, PBSF, has worked for the Virginia Commonwealth University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (VCU-RRTC) since 2008. Alissa has extensive experience supporting individuals with Autism and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) in employment, training them on their jobs, as well as training their colleagues on the best ways to work with them. She has been devoted to developing and honing the skills and techniques required to develop and maintain relationships with employers to result in employment for people with disabilities and disseminating this information to others in the field. Alissa also serves in a leadership role with five Project SEARCH sites in Virginia. She has provided training nationally and internationally to Employment Specialists and other vocational rehabilitation professionals on Supported Employment and Customized Employment.

Lauren Avellone

Lauren Avellone, Ph.D., BCBA, LBA.

Research Associate


Lauren Avellone, Ph.D., BCBA, LBA. is a research associate at the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is also a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. The majority of her clinical and professional career has been spent completing research and providing behavioral analytic services to youth and young adults with autism spectrum disorder. Her research interests include improving transition outcomes for students with intensive disabilities and psychological disorders by developing assessments, and implementing behavior management techniques to reduce maladaptive behaviors for individuals with challenges related to impulse control, self-injurious behavior, and aggression. She graduated with a master’s degree in clinical psychology from University of South Carolina-Aiken and a Ph.D. in special education from Kent State University.

Whitney Ham

Whitney Ham, Ph.D., BCBA, LBA.

Training & Technical Assistance Associate


Whitney Ham, Ph.D., BCBA, LBA., is a Training and Technical Assistance provider for the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center at Virginia Commonwealth University. She is also a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. The majority of her professional and clinical career has been spent engaged in research in supporting adults with developmental disabilities to access competitive integrated employment and also in building the capacity of youth and adult service providers to implement evidence-based practices. Her research interests involve identifying strategies to facilitate employment for individuals with intensive support needs and in building the capacity of stakeholders to support individuals with behavioral challenges. She graduated with her master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling and a Ph.D in Special Education and Disability Policy from Virginia Commonwealth University.