Julie Bershadsky.

Julie Bershadsky has joined the Institute on Community Integration as a research associate manager and will lead its Community Living and Employment area. She will also co-direct the Research and Training Center on Community Living.

“Julie is well-connected nationally in the field and has a depth of research experience that will open doors to new funding sources,” said ICI Director Amy Hewitt. “She will be engaged in shaping the future of the RTC-CL.”

The move is a homecoming for Bershadsky, a University of Minnesota graduate who came to Minneapolis as a teenager with her family from St. Petersburg, Russia, amid the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. Her father, Boris Bershadsky, now retired, was a longtime professor in the University’s School of Public Health. Two of her academic mentors were Robert L. Kane, former dean of the UMN School of Public Health, and Charlie Lakin, founding director of the RTC on Community Living.

“Everything I have in terms of logical, critical thinking I probably owe to my father,” she said. “Bob challenged everyone, and liked to be challenged in return. And Charlie connected the dots that made my statistical research background have the kind of impact I wanted it to have.”

Bershadsky spent the past 11 years with Human Services Research Institute, a longtime partner of ICI, providing analytic and methodological guidance and expertise to numerous agencies, organizations, and systems. She brings deep expertise in assisting organizations analyze, improve, and monitor the delivery and outcomes of long-term services and supports for people with intellectual, developmental, and other disabilities.

She served as the lead methodologist and analyst for the National Core Indicators (NCI) program, as well as senior director and lead methodologist and analyst for National Core Indicators – Aging and Disabilities (NCI-AD), a multi-state, multi-partner collaboration that measures performance of publicly-funded programs for older adults and adults with disabilities across participating states. In addition to managing program staff in this position, she provided direction, guidance, and oversight to more than 25 state teams, each with up to 100 project staff members.

She holds a doctoral degree in health services research and policy and a bachelor’s degree in statistics from the University of Minnesota.

“In terms of advocacy, the IDD field has historically been ahead of the aging field, but in terms of methodology, the reverse is true,” Bershadsky said. “I’m hoping to help bring methodological rigor and innovation to the IDD field, and ICI is a great place to work on these ideas.”

Particularly during a time of crisis for so many people affected by the pandemic, it is imperative to ask new research questions, use new methods, and communicate the results more effectively, she said.