Dr. O’Hara joined WIHD as Associate Director in 1987 and served as Acting Director from 1993 to 1994. He was the Chief Operating Officer from 2008 to 2015, and then acted as Interim President and CEO from February 2015 to June 2016. From 1993 to 2003, Dr. O’Hara served as the Program Director for the Assistive Technology Certificate program in the NYMC School of Health Sciences and Practice. Dr. O’Hara also served as the interim Executive Director of the Virgin Islands, UCEDD in 2004.Dr. O’Hara served on the AUCD Board of Directors for several years. He is the current co-chair of the International Committee and past chair the Interdisciplinary Council. Dr. O’Hara has been a member of UCEDD site visit teams and a consultant to the Universities of Hawaii, Maine, and the Virgin Islands in developing applications to become new UCEDD programs. From 1988-1990, he was the co-chair of the NYS Department of Health, Commissioner’s Advisory Council on Children with Special Health Care Needs. He has served as the chair of grant review panels for the Administration on Children and Families and as a grant reviewer for the MCHB.
Dr. O’Hara has a longstanding interest in the health care needs of children in foster care and was a member of a special task force created by the American Academy of Pediatrics, District II, New York State, which authored a nationally adopted set of standards for health care providers for children in foster care, Fostering Health: Health Care for Children in Foster Care. He has served as a consultant to the Government of Dubai assisting with the planning for the creation of a Center of Excellence for Individuals with Disabilities. Currently Dr. O’Hara conducts research on the health disparities of individuals with intellectual disabilities and the potential of new smart assistive technologies to create better access to more effective health care and improved outcomes. He is currently working to develop accessible models of health education to create functional health literacy for individuals with intellectual disabilities and accessible self-report surveys on patient satisfaction with their health care experience.
Dr. O’Hara has recently been selected as a Health Information Technology (HIT) Fellow by the Office of the National Coordinator of HIT at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Dr. O’Hara was nominated by consultants from the Regional Extension Center on HIT for New York State, based on the innovative work being done at WIHD on accessible patient experience surveys, and health education and health promotion materials for use on smart technologies, such as iPads and Android devices. Dr. O’Hara is one of just 12 fellows selected for 2014-2015.