Bryan O’Malley, Executive Director

Bryan has been the Executive Director of the Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Association of New York State (CDPAANYS) since March of 2011. As Executive Director, he has been successful in not only protecting, but leading efforts to strengthen Consumer Directed Personal Assistance (CDPA) by protecting the rights of those who use the program, ensuring the ongoing fiscal strength of fiscal intermediaries, and working alongside the Department of Health and managed care organizations to further expand CDPA in New York State. Bryan is strongly committed to the basic civil rights that are at the core of the disability rights movement and the Olmstead decision.

Immediately before coming to CDPAANYS, Bryan was Deputy Director for Health and Human Services for the New York State Senate. Prior to working in the Senate, Bryan worked for Assembly Health Committee Chair Richard Gottfried. He also spent time with the Mental Health Association of New York State, where he was the organizational campaign manager on Timothy’s Law. 

Bryan received his Master’s in Social Work from SUNY Albany and his undergraduate from Providence College. When he actually gets free time, he spends as much of it as possible playing with his two children, wife and dog.

An Asian woman with black hair wearing a black shirt

 Laura Cardwell, Director of Operations & Events

Laura oversees CDPAANYS’ financial, personnel and administrative functions. She was brought on to CDPAANYS in early 2012 as the first permanent non-executive director staff member of the Association.

Laura is responsible for membership recruitment & retention, coordinating Board, staff & committee activities, and organizational record maintenance & bookkeeping. In addition, she also oversees the planning & execution of CDPAANYS’ Annual Conferences, CDANY’s Annual Gala, regional provider and community organizing sessions, and other events throughout the state. 

A native of the Capital Region residing in Troy, NY, Laura is an outdoor enthusiast and music nut. In her free time, she can usually be found on a mountain somewhere with her husband and her dog.

Julia Battista, Policy Associate

Julia joined CDPAANYS in 2018 as the organization’s first Policy Associate. She is responsible for government relations analysis and engagement, acting as a liaison with the state legislature, state agencies, and grassroots partners, identifying and developing annual priorities and agendas, and composing written communications for multiple audiences.

Julia brought to CDPAANYS extensive experience in public policy and communications, having previously worked for both houses of the New York State Legislature, as well as for the City of Chicago. She spends her free time traveling, kayaking, skiing, and playing the cello.


Jose Hernandez, New York City Community Organizer

José Hernandez is a C-5 quadriplegic due to a spinal cord injury sustained when he was 15 years old. After his injury, he developed a passion for mentoring others with similar disabilities, including individuals in nursing homes and in rehabilitation centers. In 2011, Jose had the opportunity to go to Washington DC as part of United Spinal’s Roll on Capitol Hill annual event. This trip ignited an interest in advocacy, and he has been back to DC frequently as well as advocating on state and city issues.

In 2019, Jose was appointed by Mayor Bill DeBlasio to be a Commissioner of the NYC Civic Engagement Commission to ensure that the city includes individuals with disabilities in all aspects of civic engagement.

A white man with dark hair and a beard smiling

Dr. Gregg Beratan, Program Manager 

Gregg Beratan is CDPAANYS’ Program Manager. Gregg has previously served on CDPAANYS’ board, while filling numerous roles at the Center for Disability Rights. In these roles he was deeply involved in the #SaveCDPA campaign and the fight for #FairPay4HomeCare. He is a nationally recognized Disabled Activist and one of the co-founders and organizers of #CripTheVote. 

Gregg has worked in support of the Disability Community while living in India, Poland, the UK and the United States. He received his PhD and Masters degrees from University College London, and his Bachelor’s degree from Bard College. He lives in West Henrietta with his wife and four children.


Sandra Lamb, Peer Mentor

Athena Savides, Peer Mentor

Joanne Taveras, Peer Mentor