Laurel Powell, MS
Laurel Powell is the program manager of the Family Support Program and the Family Support Network™of NC University Office. Laurel began her career as a special educator in Wake County, North Carolina. Since then, she has worked in the I/DD field in a variety of ways including supporting individuals in finding competitive and integrated employment, supporting families, and authentically connecting with individuals with I/DD and those with behavioral health challenges.
Laurel values supporting individuals and families with a strengths based approach. Laurel is especially interested in the stories that individuals and families have to tell and supporting them in being in positions where their voices are heard. Working within systems to make change for the greater good is Laurel’s main professional goal. Laurel works with state level partners, community partners, and family partners to ensure everyone has a valued seat at the table.
Family Support Specialist
Barbara Leach is a Family Support Specialist and Special Projects Coordinator. She joined the Family Support Program in 2005. She has over 30 years of experience as a child and family advocate for families with children who have mental illnesses, developmental disabilities, and other special needs.
In addition to providing information and referral for families and providers, Ms. Leach serves as a family advisor on multiple state and national committees that work collaboratively to transform systems so that they better meet the needs of children with disabilities and their families. She presents extensively on topics relating to supporting families, family advocacy, family engagement, family/provider partnership, cultural competence, and systems change.
Ms. Leach is passionate about lifting the voices of diverse families and to promoting families as partners to co-create and develop services and systems that improve outcomes so that individuals with disabilities can live their best lives – healthy, independent, and self-determined.
Blaise Morrison, PhD, CRC, PC
Research and Evaluation Coordinator
Blaise Morrison is an assistant professor in the Division of Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling in the UNC School of Medicine. He serves as the research and evaluation coordinator of the Family Support Program and Family Support Network™ of North Carolina (FSNNC) University Office. Dr. Morrison is a rehabilitation psychologist, certified rehabilitation counselor, and licensed mental health counselor who specializes in working with families that have been impacted by chronic illness and disability. In particular, Dr. Morrison provides therapeutic services for families affected by brain injury and related disabilities, facilitates multiple community support groups, and conducts family-directed research to improve outcomes for families and consumers with disabilities. Additionally, his research focuses on caregiver quality of life, family functioning, and psychosocial adjustment after disability onset. Dr. Morrison’s long-term goal is to develop an evidence-based, family-directed treatment program for individuals with brain injuries, so that both the individual and family caregivers can achieve full community inclusion and increased quality of life.
Dr. Morrison also serves as an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and provides weekly clinical services at the UNC Center for Rehabilitation Care. He serves as the Chair of the Continuing Education Committee for Division 22 of the American Psychological Association. As part of his primary appointment, Dr. Morrison teaches a graduate class on Advanced Clinical Rehabilitation and Mental Health Practice with People with Developmental Disabilities and provides clinical supervision for graduate students (Practicum and Internship in Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling).