IOA Professional Development Committee (PDC)

About this Committee & Their Mission

The Professional Development Committee is responsible for developing and providing coursework that supports the mission of IOA and the training and development needs of IOA members. 



  • Tessa Byer, Clemson University
  • Dr. Ernestine AW Duncan, Norfolk State University

Board Liaison

  • Jennifer Mahony, Boston Children's Hospital

Committee Members

  • Sonja Trent-Brown, Hope College
  • Michelle Horvath, University of Alabama - Birmingham 
  • Erica Katherine, U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  • Donna Louden, National Renewable Energy Lab
  • Lisa Yamagata-Lynch, University of Tennessee 
  • Hannah Pilla, Consultant
  • Sylvie Richard, Health Canada and Public Health Agency of Canada


  • To ensure proper marketing of all IOA training.
  • To ensure Foundations coursework is offered multiple times annually and in appropriate geographic locations.
  • To ensure six new online and relevant courses are offered on an annual basis.
  • To ensure the development of replicable courses that enhance the skillset for new and tenured ombuds.
  • To establish an infrastructure that will support future trainings in non-US regions.
  • To ensure that new Foundations facilitators are certified each year.
  • To ensure that course content is updated as needed.

Accomplishments 2019-2020

  • Held many successful programs including 2 core courses, 1 specialized course, 6 webinars, and 6 sold-out Foundations Courses
  • Partnered with International Outreach Committee to hold a sold-out Foundations Course in Colombia 
  • Assessed educational needs and gaps and
  • Launched online speaker and facilitator interest forms

To Join the Committee

If you are interested in joining this or any other committee, please visit our Volunteer Opportunities page to learn more about available positions and complete our Volunteer Interest Form.

Volunteer Interest Form