Brown Selected to Lead Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing

October 30, 2023

St. John Fisher University has appointed Dr. Holly Brown as the new executive director of the Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing.

Holly Brown

Established in 2018 through the generosity of the Golisano Foundation and B. Thomas Golisano, the Institute transforms the quality of care and support for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) regionally, nationally, and internationally by training nursing professionals in field-specific skills and knowledge. 

Brown succeeds Dr. Dianne Cooney Miner, founding director of the Institute, who has moved into the role of senior advisor. Brown joined the Institute in fall 2019 as the associate director and also serves as an associate professor in the Wegmans School of Nursing. Additionally, she maintains part-time clinical practice as the senior psychiatric nurse practitioner at Hillside serving youth diagnosed with intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD) and mental health conditions and their families.

“The Golisano Institute is committed to integrating scholarship, clinical practice, and service to transform the training and clinical experiences of nurses and the health care experience for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Brown. “It has been the highlight of my career to serve as the associate director for the Institute, and I am honored to step into this new leadership role.”

A nationally certified family psychiatric nurse practitioner, Brown is one of a small number of psychiatric nurse practitioners in the Rochester region who specialize in the care of people with IDD and one of an even smaller number working with children and youth, specifically. In 2010, she completed the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program, which focuses on improving the health of children and youth with disabilities by preparing diverse professional disciplines with leadership skill development and interdisciplinary clinical competence.

With the Institute, Brown has served as the primary investigator on a number of grants, bringing in more than $475,000 in funding for the Institute. Two grants from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation supported the program, Optimizing Outcomes for Hospitalized Patients with IDD. A grant from the Special Olympics Inclusive Health Innovation program funded the development of an inclusive health primary care residency curriculum designed for integration into existing nurse practitioner residency programs.

 “We’ve been very successful in fostering relationships with community agencies and partners including Rochester Regional Health, Highland Family Medicine, Hillside, and the Mary Cariola Center, where we can collaboratively develop, test, and refine our curriculum,” said Brown. “These local partnerships—paired with our international network and signature Golisano Fellows program—all contribute to our goal of positioning the Institute as the premier provider of nursing education around the health and care of people with IDD. We are poised to do that given our work over the last five years and the team we have in place to move our mission forward.”

In addition to her teaching and clinical practice, Brown is committed to the dissemination of scholarship regarding the domains for care for those with IDD as well as mental health. She contributed three co-authored book chapters to the edited book, A Practical Guide to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Screening, Early Intervention and Health Promotion, intended for primary care providers seeking guidance and resources in behavioral health.

Most recently, Brown collaborated with Dr. Sarah Ailey, professor at Rush University’s College of Nursing, to participate in manuscript development and publication on the topic of older adults with IDD. They also contributed two opinion pieces to the literature, one exploring poor outcomes for people with IDD in acute care settings and another on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education’s requirement changes for developmental pediatricians.

In addition to actively publishing and presenting on research, she has served as a reviewer for the Worldviews on Evidence-Based Nursing for the past eight years.

“It was clear to me from my first meeting with Dr. Brown that she had both the vision and expertise to be the next leader of the Institute,” said Cooney Miner. “As the new executive director, she will expand the impact of our mission through her skillful integration of expert practice, scholarship, and thought leadership.”

Brown is a member of several international, national, and local professional organizations, including the Alliance for Disability in Health Care Education; American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities; American Nurses Association; American Psychiatric Nurses Association; and Developmental Disabilities Nurses Association, among others.

Brown is currently an elected member of the Board of Directors for the Mary Cariola Center, serving on its Quality/Compliance Committee. She also serves as a member of the IDD subcommittee of the Community Services Board for Monroe County. Prior to that, she served a five-year term on the advisory board for the Monroe County Director of Mental Health.        

Brown holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing and a master’s degree in psychiatric/mental health nursing from the State University of New York at Stony Brook School of Nursing, as well as her Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of Rochester School of Nursing. 

For more information about Golisano Institute, visit the