Click here to download the NCAPPS Overview as a pdf

The National Center on Advancing Person- Centered Practices and Systems (NCAPPS) is an initiative from the Administration for Community Living and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services that helps States, Tribes, and Territories implement person-centered thinking, planning, and practice in line with U.S. Department of Health and Human Services policy.

In the past 30 years, the support systems for older adults and people with disabilities have changed dramatically. In that time, long-term services and supports have generally moved to embrace person-centered values which are dedicated to the idea that individuals should have the power to define and pursue their own vision for a good life. However, many systems still struggle to put person-centered principles into practice and deliver on these commitments.

NCAPPS Activities:

  • In-depth, practical technical assistance to States, Tribes, and Territories
  • Topic-specific learning collaboratives to promote broad-based learning and sharing of best practices
  • Monthly webinars open to the public
  • Maintain a national clearinghouse of actionable, up-to-date resources
  • Continuously work to integrate the voice of people with lived experience of disability and older adults who use long-term services and support

The goal of NCAPPS is to promote systems change that makes person-centered principles not just an aspiration but a reality in the lives of people who require services and supports across the lifespan. NCAPPS will assist States, Tribes, and Territories to transform their service and support systems to implement U.S. Department of Health and Human Services policy on person-centered thinking, planning, and practices. It will support a range of person-centered thinking, planning, and practices, regardless of funding source.

Our NCAPPS Kickoff Webinar offers a detailed overview of the National Center on Advancing Person-Centered Practices and Systems (NCAPPS). The can find the slides here and the transcript here.

What is person-centered thinking, planning, and practice?

  • Person-centered thinking focuses language, values, and actions toward respecting the views of the person and their loved ones. It emphasizes quality of life, well-being, and informed choice.
  • Person-centered planning is directed by the person with helpers they choose. It is a way to learn about the choices and interests that make up a good life and identify the supports (paid and unpaid) needed to achieve it.
  • Person-centered practices are present when people have the full benefit of community living and supports are designed to assist people as they work toward their desired life goals.

What types of technical assistance and resources does NCAPPS offer?

NCAPPS will provide technical assistance to States Tribes and Territories, and produce resources for the public that discuss implementing effective and practical person-centered practices by:

  • Working across systems and programs to integrate rules, regulations, and policies to promote person-centered practices
  • Engaging service users and families to create high expectations for services and supports
  • Adapting payment systems to incentivize person-centered practice
  • Enhancing cultural and linguistic responsiveness
  • Measuring person-centered processes and outcomes to evaluate impacts
  • Using technology to enhance person-centered practices

NCAPPS helps systems make person-centered principles more than just a goal. We want to ensure they are a reality in people’s lives.

Meet the Person-Centered Advisory and Leadership Group

Engaging people with lived experience is at the heart of all NCAPPS activities. A Person-Centered Advisory and Leadership Group composed of national experts with lived experience receiving long-term services and supports oversees and contributes to all aspects of NCAPPS.

Martha Barbone

Martha Barbone served in the U.S. Air Force before being sidelined by a diagnosis of depression and PTSD. After several years including multiple hospitalizations, medications, and other treatments, she was introduced to peer support. This led to newfound hope and discovery of inner strength. Martha has worked as the director of CPS training and provided peer support on an inpatient unit, in a peer-run organization and facilitated groups in the VA. Most recently she served as the Interim Director of Operations for the National Association of Peer Supporters.

Mary Bishop

Mary Bishop, LMSW believes every social work position throughout her career prepared her to be the Texas Health and Human Services’ Person-Centered Practices Team Lead. She has partnered with those living in Intermediate Care Facilities in Michigan, Iowa, and Texas; directed a children’s shelter, nursing communities, hospice, home health, and elders needing behavioral health supports. Mary served as Texas Legislative Aid to a House Member and 21 years with the State of Texas in various advocacy roles. Mary is honored to have worked closely with NCAPPS as part of the first cohort to receive technical assistance. This allowed Mary to present with NCAPPS at the HCBS conference, The Learning Community for Person Centered Practices’ Portland Gathering and co-presenting on the NCAPPS “Person-Centered Systems Change” webinar held June 2021. On a personal note, Mary’s life experiences have offered her the opportunity to be a mother, grandmother, and great grandmother of those who are BIPOC, growing up with domestic abuse and substance abuse, living within kinship care and in foster care. Mary sees these experiences as giving her strong first-hand knowledge, understanding, compassion, drive and fight for social justice for all humans.

Diana Blackwelder

Diana Blackwelder has been successfully living alone with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and Young Onset Alzheimer’s Disease which forced her early retirement in 2017. She performed Information Technology Systems Engineering and was a certified Black Belt in Six Sigma Process Improvement. She now provides care for her two pet cats, travels internationally (on hold due to COVID) and advocates for the betterment of the lives of those living with dementia. Diana is a volunteer researcher at the University of Maryland studying technology and dementia, serves on the Dementia Alliance International (DAI) Board of Directors, represents DAI to the Leaders Against Alzheimer's Disease (LEAD) coalition, is a National Alzheimer’s Association Early Stage Advisor Alumni and consults to the Smithsonian and US Botanical Garden Access Programs for people living with dementia.

Emilie Jennifer Brown

Emilie Jennifer Brown is a passionate advocate with 20 years of experience. Jennifer graduated from The Pennsylvania State University with a BA in Speech Communications. She is currently pursuing a Masters of Legal Studies from Pepperdine University along with a Certificate from Cornell University in the Citizen-Centered Leadership Development program. She holds a paralegal certificate from Fairleigh Dickinson University and is a 2007 graduate of NJ Partners in Policymaking. Brown lives on a little farm in Tewksbury Township, NJ with her husband, her cats & dogs, chickens and Winnie the pig. Her gift of listening deeply and creating space for people to feel safe in expressing their truths comes from being the mom to three exceptional children.

Lydia X. Z. Brown

Lydia X. Z. Brown is a disabled advocate, organizer, strategist, and attorney. For over a decade, their work has focused on interpersonal, institutional, and state violence against multiply-marginalized disabled people, especially at the intersections of race, gender, class, and sexuality. Currently, they are Policy Counsel at the Center for Democracy and Technology, adjunct lecturer in disability studies in Georgetown University’s Department of English, and Policy and Advocacy Associate for the Autistic Women and Nonbinary Network. They are also founding director of the Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment, Commissioner on Disability Rights for the American Bar Association, and board member of the Alliance for Citizen-Directed Supports.

Ryene Fenner

Ryene Fenner has been a direct support provider (DSP) with New Horizons Resources for five years. She is a graduate student in her last semester at SUNY New Paltz working towards a second degree in Adolescent Education, with a concentration in English. Ryene is also an advocate for social justice and spends a lot of her time discussing equality.

Anne Forrest

Anne Forrest is a PhD Economist and an early adopter of technology. After she succeeded in finding sufficient rehabilitation to do so following a “mild” traumatic brain injury, she became an international speaker and advocate for people with brain injury. She has brought her message of brain-rewiring for people with brain injuries to survivors, families, professionals, students, lawmakers. She also speaks about improved cognitive design to digital creatives and educational professionals. She is a leader of other advocates on the Brain Injury Association of America's Brain Injury Advisory Council.

Cyntia Huling Hummel

Rev. Dr. Cynthia Huling Hummel of Elmira NY served as an advisor on the National Council on Alzheimer’s Research, Care and Services. Cynthia maintains a busy schedule as an Alzheimer’s advocate, artist and author speaking nationally about living well with AD. Cynthia sings in a country-rock band and was inducted into the NY State Country Music Hall of Honor. She loves to swim, kayak and travel. Cynthia created a collection of 36 Alzheimer’s masks that were displayed in 2019 at the National Gallery of Art in Stockholm. The masks are featured in her book, “UnMasking Alzheimer’s” (Lulu Press).

Robert Kennedy

Robert A. Kennedy lives in the Washington D.C. area and is currently employed by RCM of Washington where he assists in the Human Resources Department. Previously, he has worked at The National Labor Relations Board. For nearly 40 years, Robert has participated in public speaking engagements, has testified at The Wilson Building (the municipal offices and chambers of the Mayor and the Council of the District of Columbia), and has participated on several Board of Directors including Project Action, The Quality Trust, and The National Children’s Center. Robert is also a certified Person-Centered Training coach. Since 1961, he has participated in the Special Olympics, winning medals in track and field and competing in Bocce ball, bowling, golf and volleyball. In addition, Robert is engaged in attending protests and rallies for folks with disabilities.

Kelly Lang

Kelly Lang received her undergraduate degree from The American University and worked in the insurance and human resources management industries. Kelly’s brain injury advocacy career began after she and her 3-year-old daughter were injured in a horrific car accident in 2001. Kelly has served on the Board of the Brain Injury Association of Virginia and is a member of the Brain Injury Association of America’s Brain Injury Council. She has published articles and spoken to university classes, support groups, and other professionals regarding her family’s experience with brain injury. She presented at the Interagency Task Force Conference in June 2018.

Chacku Mathai

Chacku Mathai is an Indian American, born in Kuwait, who started community organizing around equity, inclusion and mental health when he was only 15 years old. Chacku’s personal experiences as a trauma and suicide attempt survivor and life-changing mental health and substance use challenges, launched Chacku and his family toward a number of efforts to advocate for improved services, social conditions and alternative supports in the community. Chacku has decades of advocacy, peer support and executive management and leadership experience with communities, systems and organizations focused on supporting all people diagnosed with and/or challenged by mental health and substance use conditions to live, learn, work, and play in meaningful, self-directed roles. He is the owner of Chacku Mathai Consulting and currently serves as a board member for the National Association for Rights Protection and Advocacy (NARPA), a founding board member and current President of Friends of Recovery – New York, and is a National Advisory Council Member for the Hogg Foundation of Mental Health in Texas.

Kimberly Mills

Dr. Kimberly Mills is the Executive Director for The Virgin Islands University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (VIUCEDD). She is an Affiliate Faculty with the Center for Disabilities Studies at the University of Hawaii, visiting Professor and Research Center Fellow with Langston University and is a Doctoral-level Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Her research agenda includes best treatment practices for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), technical assistance evaluation, school-to-prison pipeline research, telehealth, cultural and linguistic competence through a behavioral analytic lens and disability employment. Dr. Mills has worked on several national and international policy initiatives including helping to rewrite the Georgia Juvenile Justice Legal codes, advising on changes to special education regulations in the state of Georgia, participation with the National Governors Association of juvenile justice reform efforts in the U.S. Virgin Islands and participated as an article reviewer for the largest worldwide study of effective autism treatments. Dr. Mills helped establish the TriCare Autism Demonstration Project in the U.S. Virgin Islands. She is the creator of the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Research Center (ADDRC) at the University of the Virgin Islands. Dr. Mills participated as a Professional Fellow with the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Anntionete Morgan

Anntionete Morgan a Certified Person-Centered Thinking trainer (CPCTT), has over 17 years of experience as a social worker. Anntionete graduated from the University of Arkansas earning a Bachelor and Master of Social Work. Her experience includes behavioral health with emphasis on substance abuse, medical discharge planning, HIV case management, service coordination, managed care and clinical training. She is a CPCTT that specializes in training medical providers, behavioral health professionals and educators. Anntionete is a motivational speaker as well as an advocate for people living with disabilities and addictions. Her speaking engagements have included The Primary Care Consortium in Austin, Texas, Clay Classical Academy Student Enrichment Gathering, The Texas Friends Gathering for Person for Person-Centered Thinking and the National Association of Social Workers Texas.


Robyn M. Powell Robyn M. Powell is Principal of Robyn Powell Consulting, LLC, a disability law and policy consulting firm. As a disabled woman, Ms. Powell has dedicated her career to advancing the rights of people with disabilities. Most recently, Ms. Powell served as an Attorney Advisor at the National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent federal agency that advises the President and Congress on matters concerning people with disabilities. Ms. Powell is currently pursuing her PhD at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work from Bridgewater State University, a Juris Doctor from Suffolk University Law School, and a Master of Arts in Social Policy from Brandeis University.

Joseph Ray

Joseph Ray was born in Gallup New Mexico. Laguna/Zuni Pueblo and Maidu from California. An advocate for disability services in tribal communities for 10 plus years. Specifically, for Independent Living Services, elder care services, and Vocational Rehabilitation. I currently serve as the National Congress of American Indians disabilities subcommittee chair. The National Congress of American Indians is the oldest advocacy organization established in 1947. I currently reside in Laguna Pueblo, New Mexico.

Sherill Wayland

Sherill Wayland is the Director of National Education Initiatives at SAGE where she directs the operations of programs such as SAGECare, the National Resource Center on LGBT Aging and is the SAGE lead for the Long-term Care Equality Index (LEI) a joint program with the HRC Foundation. Sherrill earned a Master of Social Work degree from the Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis and has over 25 years of professional experience in the fields of education, disability and LGBT older adult advocacy.

NCAPPS is funded by the Administration for Community Living (ACL) and by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). It is run by the Human Services Research Institute (HSRI).

NCAPPS Partner Organizations

  • National Association of State Head Injury Administrators (NASHIA)
  • ADvancing States
  • National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services (NASDDDS)
  • National Association of State Mental Health Program Directors (NASMHPD)
  • National Association of County Behavioral Health and Developmental Disability Directors (NACBHDD)
  • National Association of Medicaid Directors (NAMD)