Nancy Thaler to Receive COMPASS Award

 The NASDDDS Board has voted to present Ms. Nancy Thaler with the 2019 Robert M. Gettings Compass Award. This award is presented to individuals who, while working in the private sector, have made a significant contribution to the development of publicly funded state service systems for people with developmental disabilities through research, the design of new service models, training, technical assistance, and consultation.

     Ms. Thaler’ s career began in 1971 serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities both in the private sector and in the public sector. She began working in Pennsylvania provider agencies in the early years of community services as a direct care worker, a houseparent and in a range of supervisory positions. In 1987, Ms. Thaler joined Pennsylvania state government and served until 2003, for the last ten of those years as the Deputy Secretary of what is now the Office of Developmental Programs.  She returned to the position and served again from 2015 through 2018.   Between her two stints as Pa.’s state director, Ms. Thaler served as the Director of Quality Improvement for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from 2003-2006 and was responsible for developing federal waiver application and oversight of state-operated Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services Waiver programs. From 2007 – 2016 she served as the Executive Director of the National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services.

Mrs. Thaler is currently working as a Special Assistant to the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Dept. of Human Services to expand and develop services for children with complex medical care needs so they can live at home with family.

Ms. Thaler has a Bachelor of Arts and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, Honoria Causa from College Misericordia and a Master of Human Organization Science/Public Administration from Villanova University. Ms. Thaler and her husband are the parents of an adult son with developmental disabilities.