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Meet the NARIC Staff

The NARIC team includes nine staff members with more than 50 combined years of time and experience working on disability and rehabilitation issues.

Mark X. Odum, Project Director
Mark has been a part of the NARIC project since its earliest days at Catholic University. He became Project Director in 1987. Under Mark's leadership, NARIC has been at the forefront of evolving library technology including bulletin board systems, packaged and online databases, user-friendly websites, and virtual reference. In addition to his NARIC work, Mark is actively involved in the spinal cord injury community, serving as director of the National Spinal Cord Injury Association from 1986 to 2001, as well as accessibility and policy boards for the Baltimore Orioles and Ravens. Mark completed his Masters of Business Administration at the University of Maryland in 2001.

Jessica H. Chaiken, Media and Information Services Manager
Jess joined NARIC in 1996 after completing a Masters in American Sign Language Linguistics at Gallaudet University. As a member and leader of the Media Team, Jess developed NARIC's web presence, including the move to online databases. She introduced virtual reference, social media, and push/alert services. Jess completed her Master of Library and Information Services at Drexel University in 2012.

Natalie J. Collier, Library and Acquisitions Manager
Natalie joined NARIC in 1996 following her work at the National Library of Education and the Library at the Goddard Space Flight Center. As manager of NARIC's library services, Natalie initiated the digital collection. Through acquisitions and document scanning, the digital collection now includes more than 17,000 journal articles, reports, books, and multimedia items. Natalie is completing the Project Management Professional program from the Project Management Institute.

Tamara J. Pyle, Library and Information Services Coordinator
Tamie joined NARIC in 2002 as it transitioned to HeiTech Services, Inc. She is our lead information specialist, assisting callers to find the agencies and organizations best suited to assist them in accessing programs and services. She spearheads our multimedia collection development and archive scanning project. Tamie is an AIRS-Certified Information and Referral Specialist and a Certified Resource Specialist.

Catherine E. Graves, Media/Information Specialist
Catherine joined the NARIC team in 2005 after working in case management for clients with traumatic brain injuries. She developed and implemented reSearch a regular, topic-oriented publication that dives deep into REHABDATA and other databases. She works with more than 250 NIDILRR grantees manage project information and collect materials for acquisition into the NARIC library. Catherine is an AIRS-Certified Information and Referral Specialist.

Marta P. Garcia, Bilingual Media/Information Specialist
Marta joined NARIC in 2010. They bring a strong background in recreational therapy for both pediatric and geriatric populations. They provide information services in English and Spanish and translates all original material from NARIC. Marta is an AIRS-Certified Information and Referral Specialist.

Sheila Turner, Abstractor
Sheila also joined NARIC in 2002 following a long tenure as a technical writer in the medical and insurance fields. As the main abstractor, Sheila adds and indexes more than 3,000 abstracts to REHABDATA each year.

Birgitta Chaiken, Research Associate
Birgitta joined the NARIC family through our sister project, AbleData, where she served as abstractor from 2007 to 2013. As Research Associate, she assists in data collection and analysis of grantee literature, and serves as abstractor for NARIC's international literature collection. As Assistant Director of the Chemotherapy Foundation, she worked on both the grantee and patron sides of the Foundation: organizing annual fundraising events and coordinating the Foundation's scientific symposium. Birgitta holds a Masters in Foreign Language Literature and Linguistics from West Virginia University.

Hafsa Abdirahman, MPH

Hafsa joined NARIC in 2022, contributing to our Research In Focus series. She is a public health scientist and freelance medical writer and editor. She believes that access to evidence-based, quality health information can save lives and she’s worked throughout her career to put this belief into practice.