Delaine Swearman, President
Delaine Swearman is a native of Somerset County, Pennsylvania. She also spent time living and working in Erie after graduating from Gannon University. She moved to Pittsburgh in 2005, and it is here that she is now becoming involved in autism advocacy. She believes that it is important for others, especially those in positions of influence, to recognize that autistic individuals are some of the “colors” that make the “rainbow” of humanity more beautiful. Ideally, she hopes, others will embrace diversity, listen to autistic voices, and help make their “colors” even brighter. Delaine is a writer for Pittverse magazine, a publication written solely by adults on the autism spectrum. She uses her written word as a way to share the autistic experience. She has also done some speaking, and would like to do more of it. She enjoys spending her time working at Bookshelf Cafe, engaging in peer support at the Howard Levin Clubhouse, walking outdoors, practicing yoga, paddling, and attending local craft shows and festivals.
Rachel Kallem Whitman, Secretary
Rachel Kallem Whitman is a doctoral candidate at Duquesne University in the Educational Leadership Program (Ed.D.). Her research focuses on exploring the relationship between disability, identity, narrative, and agency. Rachel earned a B.A. in psychology from the University of Virginia and her M.S.Ed. from Duquesne University. Rachel has worked as an advocate and educator in public school systems, institutions of higher education, and hospital settings supporting youth with disabilities. She has presented to diverse audiences across the country sharing her experience living with bipolar disorder and emphasizing the need to empower young adults with disabilities to become leaders of their own lives. Rachel is an avid writer who has published articles, short stories, poems, essays, and op-eds about our cultural understanding of disability vs. ability and the subsequent consequences of ableism (disability oppression). Rachel’s work has appeared in such publications as The Mighty, Medium, Trib Live, Wordgathering, and What Are You Thinking’s Stigma Project. She has also partnered with Harvard University and the University of Virginia to publish pieces about the power and relevance of disability culture. Rachel credits her success to the support of her loving partner, her everlasting passion for advocacy, a house full of pets, smoked Gouda, and her unshakeable sense of humor.
Dr. Xenia Borue, Treasurer
Dr. Borue is an American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) Board Certified Adult and Board Eligible Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist. After completing her bachelor’s at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, Dr. Borue attended the University of Virginia School of Medicine, Charlottesville, VA. She received her medical and doctoral degrees through their NIH-funded Medical Scientist Training Program. She subsequently completed her General Adult Psychiatry Residency and her Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic/ Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh—University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA.
Dr. Borue’s psychiatric training covered a wide range of psychiatric conditions including; depressive & anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, psychosis, PTSD, eating disorders, gender dysphoria, catatonia, somatic symptom disorders, substance use disorders, neurocognitive disorders, and medically complex populations. In addition to mastering complex psychopharmacology, Dr. Borue gained expertise in interpersonal, family, cognitive behavioral and dialectical behavioral therapies.
Throughout both Residency and Fellowship, Dr. Borue obtained in-depth training in Obsessive Compulsive and Developmental Disorders; including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity, Autism Spectrum, Social Communication, Intellectual Disability.
Dr. Bethany Ziss
Bethany Ziss wears multiple hats relating to disability and refuses to take any of them off. She identifies as disabled and began advocacy as the student concerns representative at Bryn Mawr College. After graduating with a degree in molecular biology, she taught for several years in a residential school for students with ADHD and learning disabilities before enrolling at Jefferson Medical College. She completed her residency in pediatrics at West Virginia University Children’s Hosptial and her fellowship in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at the Greenville Health System in South Carolina, where she also served on the hospital Accessibility Committee.
Dr. Ziss currently works as a Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician at the Children’s Institute, where she cares for children with developmental disabilities. She also serves as secretary for the Alliance for Disability in Health Care Education, an interdisciplinary group of health care providers working to increase disability-related content in health education training programs. Her hobbies include Scottish Country Dance and cooking.
Isaiah Noreiga is a black disabled self-advocate that works to reimagine and rebuild the mental health industrial complex.
Isaiah is a doctoral candidate in Clinical-Community Psychology (Psy.D) at Point Park University.
Isaiah also serves by mentoring the youth, coaching soccer, and collaborating with several grassroots organizations throughout the city of Pittsburgh.