meet our team!
Alysse Einbender, a wheelchair-user for 16 years has served as Board and Chapter president of the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the United Spinal Association since its founding in 2012. She was a director on the Board of Trustees of Inglis for three consecutive terms and has been a member of the MossRehab Advisory Board since 2009. With over 20 years of combined experience as a landscape architectural designer, graphic print artist and fine art exhibition manager for artists with physical disabilities she consults, advocates and designs landscapes and interior spaces that are barrier-free and inclusive of persons of all abilities. She teaches wheelchair ballroom dancing to students at Widener Memorial High School and volunteers as a peer mentor supporting newly injured persons with their transition to life following physical rehabilitation. She appears in MossRehab’s educational videos for persons with SCI and helped develop the content for It’s Just Respect, a disability etiquette program presented on-site to organizations and/or businesses that seek to be more inclusive. Other volunteer activities include cuddling babies born to mothers with substance addiction at Einstein’s NICU. The rest of Ms. Einbender’s hours are spent in the ceramic studio creating fine art sculpture that she looks forward to showing and selling in the near future.
Marie Protesto has been coordinator of the Spinal Cord Injury Peer Mentor Program at Magee Rehabilitation since 1999 and living with a spinal cord injury for over 30 years. Since her disability, she has been involved with a number of organizations striving to better the lives of people with disabilities such as Barrier Awareness of Delaware County, Global Abilities Foundation, Patients with Disabilities as Teachers (P-DAT) at Thomas Jefferson University and Inglis Foundation.
Janet Parker, a physical therapist at MossRehab Hospital, has served as a Board member on the Greater Philadelphia Chapter of the United Spinal Association since its founding in 2012. Janet graduated from Arcadia University in 1994 with a Masters in Physical Therapy and has spent 25 years at MossRehab primarily specializing in caring for individuals with spinal cord injuries. She regularly lectures and mentors other health care professionals on spinal cord injury related topics. Janet understands many of the challenges that individuals with spinal cord injuries face particularly when they are newly injured and values her role in assisting them to return to a full and meaningful life. She sees her activities on the United Spinal Association Chapter as a continuum of this work, allowing her to support and advocate for individuals with spinal cord injuries and other neurologic conditions who are living in the Greater Philadelphia community.
Beth is one of the founding members of our Philadelphia Chapter and enjoys advocating for individuals living their lives with spinal dysfunction. Professionally she has been working in rehabilitation medicine for 42 years and is currently the coordinator of the Spinal Cord Specialty Program at MossRehab. Beth has supported individuals clinically, emotionally and socially from onset of disability through their lifetime in her role as a nurse. She feels blessed to advocate for the SCI/D community.
Wendy Elliott-Vandivier is a certified SPHR (Senior Professional in Human Resources) with a diverse background in government civil rights enforcement, managing human resources in private industry, and community advocacy. Elliott-Vandivier has been a leader in the disability civil rights community for over 30 years. In her professional work, she has successfully managed human resources, employee relations, EEO, Affirmative Action and Diversity issues for several large businesses.
Before joining the private sector, Elliott-Vandivier worked for nine years for the Office for Civil Rights, U.S. Department of Education, where she managed the agency’s Regional Technical Assistance Staff. She played a lead role in the implementation of federal civil rights statutes in a six-state region.
Her strong commitment to enhancing opportunities for women, minorities and people with disabilities extends beyond her professional experience. She is a former Board Member of the American Association of People with Disabilities, and the former Chair of the Philadelphia Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities, where she advised the Mayor and Assistant Deputy Mayor with respect to existing and proposed policies, programs, and services for people with disabilities, and informed the public at large about the needs of the disability community. She was also the Co-founder of MOM Center (Making Options for Motherhood) at Thomas Jefferson University.
Elliott-Vandivier has a BFA from Temple University, Tyler School of Art. Her paintings explore issues of family, memory and experiences as a disabled woman. Her autobiographical cartoons focus on attitudinal barriers and stereotypes regarding disabilities, and some of the micro-aggressions that disabled people experience while living normal, un-inspirational lives. She is also a photographer of micro-scale monuments in nature, and is often inspired by close-up images that people often do not notice in daily life – tree bark, dead leaves, flower anatomy, and water.
Shayla Gaither has been with United Spinal Greater Philadelphia Chapter for over two years. She had the pleasure to assist with social media and graphic design. In her free-time Shayla like to be creative in various facets and advocate for her community. Shayla with graduate college in May 2021 and is excited for a career in commercial advertising.
Vince Long has been working as a Physical therapist at MossRehab in Elkins Park for over 8 years with experience in both inpatient and outpatient settings. He has an advanced certification in Neurological Rehabilitation, and currently works in a specialized outpatient spinal cord injury program. At MossRehab, Vince specializes in the prescription of manual wheelchairs and the performance of wheelchair skills for community mobility. He enjoys helping to empower other to help regain their mobility and confidence after injury along with returning to previous life roles. He also serves as a mentor to Physical Therapists who are pursuing specialization in neurological rehabilitation. Vince has been a board member since 2016, and has been involved with chapter activities such as our chapter’s Wash’N’Tune since starting at MossRehab.
My name is Alan Bronstein. I’m a T-3 para due to an auto accident in January, 1985. I’m married with 2 adult sons, a lawyer in NYC and a brewer in St. Croix, USVI. My wife is a still practicing accountant. After my injury I played “independent investor/trader” for a couple of years, but then decided I had to get out of the house and be around people. Long story – short: I became a chemistry teacher and drama sponsor at my old high school in Philly. Over the 25 years I taught I was honored with 2 teaching awards (picture attached of my presentation for the Freida J. Riley Award) both of which I feel very honored to have received.
After retiring 7 years ago, I found I missed the kids. So, now I volunteer and substitute at the school. I also join some professors at Temple U. each December to perform a “demothon,” i.e. putting on a show of chemical demonstrations for middle school kids.
Perhaps it was because I was the Drama sponsor, I began to view teaching as putting on a new show everyday for 180 days . . . and since I was teaching chemistry, it could be (sometimes) a magic show, as well – as demonstrated in the pic below as I let the genie out of the bottle. I tried to make it interesting for me as well as for the kids. Maybe that’s why I’ve missed it – it was fun.
People have told me I don’t behave like a person in a wheelchair. I guess I don’t know how we wheelers are supposed to behave.
Dave Driscoll is a survivor of a spinal cord injury following surgery to his cervical spine. After spending time at Moss Rehab in both the inpatient and outpatient settings, both Dave and his wife have become peer mentors at Moss. Being a peer mentor has allowed Dave to help others with their disability.
Dave is a 30 year employee of PECO Energy with his current position as a foreman in the emergency department. Dave has also held board positions on local little league and youth basketball organizations in his township, having held the position of President of the basketball program.
Dave enjoys spending time with his wife and two sons.