News Releases and Placements

  • Visitation Program at IRI

Effective July 17, 2020 IRI is proud to participate in the OPWDD opt in visitation program and invite parents to call the residence manager and make an appointment to see their loved ones. We have put in place a number of procedures and practices informed by the best guidance and counsel of the CDC, NIH, DOH and the DOH as well as implemented a number of risk mitigation procedures designed by our own health care professionals. Family involvement and contact are critical to good mental health and key to a sense of belonging and connectivity. This is very much in line with the vision of the agency’s founders and is true to our mission. Let’s get together safely by practicing social distancing, wearing our mask correctly, washing our hands, and most importantly if you are not feeling good or feeling sick, please do not visit.

  • A Very Important Workshop

On Friday July 10, 2020 Dr. Springer, IRI President of IRI Board and a physician presented to a group of over 50 staff on what we know, what we think we know and what we do not know about the coronavirus . Dr. Springer is a radiologist whose expertise was in evidence as he took the group through basic anatomy, the body’s immune system and immune response, the challenges with underlining health conditions and their associations with poor outcomes. The session was instructive and accessible. We thank Dr. Springer for his expertise and for taking the time to be with us.

  • We Love Gardening at IRI (June 7, 2020)

Two years ago IRI started a summer initiative that has become one of the most fun team building activities as well as one enjoyed by many of the people we support in homes across Long Island, Queens, Brooklyn and The Bronx. During this pandemic when outside activities are limited, this provide a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the outdoors, get some sun and be engaged in something productive. Gardening is reported to be therapeutic and is reported by the CDC as providing the opportunity for moderate physical level of activity burning 210 and 420 calories. Katie Athanasiadis is the manager of one of our homes and has an impeccable green thumb. Judge for yourself.

  • Supporting Individuals and Their Families in the Community

On March 25, 2020, IRI started a food and support program to help individuals who had been attending our day program and living with their families. This was in line with OPWDD guidance to support through whatever means necessary people who were no longer coming to day programs due to the order of suspension. The program led by Ana Koessler, our Director of Social Services and Community Engagement, has been an incredible success. On a weekly basis we have delivered food to at least a dozen families on Long Island, in the Bronx, and in Queens. Families ask for a number of items such as milk, eggs, juice, meats, cereal, vegetable, rice and beans and we deliver them directly to their homes. We also have been supporting families in getting laundry done, providing masks and sharing resources in the community from food banks to free technology to allow for easy communication with family members who are sheltering in place. This program was made possible through the efforts of our transportation staff and program staff who did the shopping, delivered the goods to the families, communicated with the families and made sure needs were prioritized and responded to timely.

  • Nurse's Week at IRI

On Friday May 15, 2020 IRI celebrated a cadre of nurses whose dedication and skills have been unparalleled. Noelia Mango, Director of Clinical Services hosted the nurses to an intimate luncheon highlighting their contributions and thanking them on behalf of the people we support, our executive staff and our board of directors. This was the culmination of the previous week of thanks and thoughtful notes to this group of compassionate and talented professionals. During these unprecedented times in which our country has been under attack by the virulent COVID-19, the IRI nurses triage, advocate, treat, make the tough calls to secure great care for the people with IDD we support and as importantly model, guide and train our staff in the infection control and universal precautions necessary to contain this pandemic. We congratulate Sonia, Karla, Kimberly, Olu, Marie and most importantly Maag Jean who has lead this team as IRI Director of Nursing Services.

  • Generous Grant from the Robin Hood Foundation

On May 13, 2020 in response to a grant crafted by Cara Levy, our Director of Speech and Community Services, the Robin Hood Foundation awarded $25,000 to Innovative Resources for Independence (IRI) to procure much needed Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for its staff during this coronavirus pandemic. Our direct support staff are the unsung heroes whose devotion and dedication can only be best seen as they put themselves at risk to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. PPEs are critical equipment such as masks, gloves and gowns required to protect oneself and the person being supported from sharing this virus when done in combination with good infection control, universal precautions, and good personal hygiene. IRI remains committed to provide an environment that is safe for both the people it served and its staff and this generous gift will go a long way in doing just that. On behalf of everyone at IRI we thank the Robin Hood Foundation.

  • New Mentoring and Coaching Initiative

On February 23, 2020 IRI kicked off its yearlong coaching and mentoring program aimed at developing young not for profit leaders. As the baby boomers leave the workforce, they are leaving behind tens of thousands of positions, yet the pipeline has not been built particularly in the not for profit arena; particularly in developmental disabilities. Dr. Louis, IRI CEO in collaboration with Lina Saray, Director of Human Resources welcome 4 new college graduates to join the program designed to provide a variety of experiences and learning opportunities to include but not limited to quality assurance, executive management, payroll management, clinical services, social services, outreach, corporate compliance, and entitlement management. This is a very hands on program coupled with workshops, clinics and lectures. The program is directly supervised by Ana Koessler, Director of Social Services and Community Engagement and makes use of temporary assignment and match to all six executive staff for one to one coaching. It is our goal that at the completion of the program, graduates would have demonstrated very broad and specific skill acquisition, a sensitivity to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and be able to contribute at a high level to Innovative Resources for Independence.

  • 2020 Executive Elections

On March 11, 2020 the IRI board held elections for three executive positions to include the President, First Vice-President, and Second Vice-President. Dr. Scott Springer, a practicing radiologist, was elected President; Mr. Gael Monteil, a business owner, was elected First Vice President; and Ms. Eileen Becker, a retiree, was elected Second Vice-President.

The board and the executive staff took time to thank Gael Monteil for six years of strong leadership and for his vision by presenting him with a small token of their appreciation. Mr. Monteil leaves the presidency with confidence that the agency is on solid (financial and operational) ground and will continue his advocacy as First Vice-President. Mr. Monteil thanked the board for their collegiality and support during the past 6 years.

Dr. Springer was welcomed with a small gift and with the stated commitment of the executive staff looking forward to work closely with him. Dr. Springer did not waste anytime and guided his first board meeting (at the helm) with words of appreciation to Mr. Monteil, a recommitment by the board to the agency’s mission, a discussion of planned growth as per our most recent strategic plan, the coronavirus preparedness, a proposed board retreat, and a board self-evaluation. Ms. Sharon Simmonds and Mr. Paul Buffano stepped down from their posts as First and Second Vice-Presidents respectively and remain on the IRI board. Their contribution to the executive committee of the board was unparalleled and for that we salute them.

IRI has a bright future with a board as engaged and as committed to its mission and one that insist on promoting a culture of respect, innovation, integrity, self-improvement, and compassion.

  • Last Board Meeting of 2019

On November 12, 2019 the board of IRI and its executive staff met for its last board meeting of the year and preliminary discussed our investment and business plan to effectuate the strategy work done over the summer. The discussion focused on IRI's growth and the needed investment in its infrastructure to improve care delivery as well as risk assessment, mitigation, and management. The evening ended with dinner and a presentation of the Leadership Award to Mr. Gael Monteil, IRI's board president, who worked tirelessly for the past 15 years as a board member and whose guidance and counsel over the past 18 months were key in supporting the executive staff in delivering on our mission to provide care and supports that are sensible and effective as to allow people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to live the lives they want. Congratulations Mr. Monteil.

  • New Brooklyn Project Executed in Record Time

On September 1, 2019 IRI executed a "change of auspice" of a Brooklyn based home within 30 days of the award. Led by Dr. Corrigan, the IRI team developed a plan, sprang into action, and executed a complicated systems of many moving parts to include but not limited to clinical services, quality assurance, human resources, financial operations, social services and community engagement . Nine people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are now being supported through evidence based practices and are now part of the greater IRI family. This new project now anchors IRI's footprint in Brooklyn and completes a key element of IRI strategic plan. Partnering with OPWDD on this project was both rewarding and exemplified how government and the not for profit sector are able to achieve great results in record time while remaining true to our collective mission; supporting people with intellectual disabilities with dignity and using a person centered and family friendly approach. Congratulations to the IRI executive team.

  • IRI 2019 Annual Picnic
  • It was a perfect day for a walk in the park as more than 400 friends, family, and community members laced up to attend the IRI's Annual Picnic at Cunningham Park in Queens, on Saturday, September 14, 2019. The agency’s goal of the day was to raise awareness in support of people with developmental disabilities who are capable of living, working, and contributing to society in a meaningful way. People gathered to play games, enjoy the BBQ, and listen to good music for a good cause.

  • IRI Celebrates its DSP Workforce

IRI's commitment to being a preferred employer begins by appreciating our team members for their dedication and tireless efforts in ensuring that people with intellectual and developmental disabilities live the best lives that they are able with whatever supports are needed. These supports begin and end with our Direct Support Professionals without whom we could not achieve our mission and goals. We thank these team members who are the backbone of IRI and appreciate them for what they do every day. But this month we (the board of directors at IRI and the leadership team) took special care to say thank you to 16 people whose work anniversary with IRI ranged between 27 years and 15 years by having an incredible extravaganza where all our Direct Support Staff were truly the stars. We laughed, we ate, we danced and played games; and had a good time with each other. Again, thank you for all you do every day. We are proud to be your team members.

  • IRI's New Residential Program

The Office of People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) awarded Innovative Resources for Independence (IRI) an opportunity to manage a home in the East New York section of Brooklyn. On August 30, 2019, IRI will begin to manage the home which supports for eleven people with intellectual disability. IRI intends to work with the community in staffing the home and to do so in partnership with parents, family members and guardians. IRI executive team has been hard at work in ensuring a smooth transition while its board continue to provide instructive guidance as this project gets off the ground. We are committed to ensuring that these eleven people get the opportunity to live the lives they want as full members of society with distinct social and productive roles. Bravo IRI!

  • Teaching Care Management Supervision

On August 12 and 13, 2019 Dr. Gilbert Louis, IRI's Executive Director and Noelia Mango, IRI's Director of Clinical Services (2 of the 3 architects of the Care Management Guide for all Care Coordination Organizations in New York State) through an affiliation with New York Association for Emerging and Multicultural Providers (NYAEMP) presented two day long training workshops in Albany and in Brooklyn to 75 Care Manager Supervisors and Directors of Care Management for Care Design of New York (CDNY); one of the premiers Care Coordination Organization (CCO) in New York State(NYS). CDNY supports 26,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities throughout NYS. The sessions focused on getting the right care and supports, to the right people, at the right time, and from the right providers with particular emphasis on how to use data analyses, develop a sensible care coordination model within the context of health homes, and how to shape sustainable relationships with the provider community. The workshops were interesting in the use of a case study model and the competency based learning approach was well received. There is a buzz about the next two sessions scheduled for September 16 and 23, 2019 in Tarrytown and Queens NY and another 75 people are expected to attend. Dr. Louis and Ms. Mango thank Nancy Shea, CDNY Director of Training for the invitation and this incredible opportunity and Yvette Watts, Executive Director of NYAEMP for hosting and coordinating these training sessions and for her technical support. We look forward to continue working with CDNY and NYAEMP as the field moves to Medicaid Managed Care.

On The Leading Edge of Technology

Proloquo 2

What is it? A fully customizable communication application that interfaces with smart phones and tablets. The app is programmed with picture/icon representations of words and common phrases that the user can string together to communicate a thought.

How does it help? This is an indispensable communication aid for non-verbal individuals

On The Leading Edge of Technology

Telehealth Services

How does it work? Individuals can have their vital signs taken right in their homes. The information is digitally recorded providing personalized biometrics that help detect medical conditions earlier based on trended data. This service also provides virtual intervention between nurses and individuals using a smart tablet.

How does it help? Medical staff is more knowledgeable about patients’ care in between visits. These services also greatly reduce hospitalizations therefore also reducing the number of disruptions for individuals in their homes.

On The Leading Edge of Technology

Pulseox Monitor

How does it work? Remotely monitors oxygen levels of individuals with respiratory issues. Allows nurse to monitor the oxygen level remotely.

How does it help? Helps to remotely monitor blood oxygen levels and send an alert to the nurse if levels are imbalanced.

On The Leading Edge of Technology

GPS Watch

How does it work? Individuals can travel safely and unsupervised. Individuals simply wear the watch that communicates to an app used by IRI staff.

How does it help? This technology prevents individuals from getting lost. Staff can also see where individuals are without having to be there in person.

On The Leading Edge of Technology

Home Sensor Technology

How does it work? A suite of interactive sensors is outfitted on kitchen appliances and above doors. If an individual, living in their own apartment, turns the stove on, then exits the kitchen, IRI will get an alert. If the individual leaves the house at an unusual time, we will also be alerted.

How does it help? This provides un-invasive oversight. Individuals can live independently with confidence. It also reduces the need for in-person staffing.

On The Leading Edge of Technology

Medication Wheel

How does it work? This simple device alerts individuals when a medication dose is due, then opens to dispense medication. If the medication is not taken or the wheel is not closed properly, IRI will be alerted.

How does it help? For those individuals living in apartments or homes, they can now take medication without staff intervention.

On The Leading Edge of Technology

Samsung Galaxy Tablets

How does it work? There are many existing applications, and new ones being developed every day that are targeted to assist disabled individuals in enhancing their abilities

How does it help? Allows us to use a variety of online applications that support the abilities of the users

On The Leading Edge of Technology

Amazon Echo

How does it work? Wirelessly controls lighting and other devices through voice commands.

How does it help? Helps individuals who are otherwise unable to manually operate devices to do so independently.

On The Leading Edge of Technology

Pressure Pads in Beds

How does it work? Allows the staff to monitor bed time routines when people are in and out of bed with a remote monitor; a notification goes to remote staff person when a person has gone to bed and if they get up during the night for an extended period of time.

How does it help? Helps ensure safety by sending staff an alert when an individual is out of bed during the night.