Skip to Main Content

Meet The Team

Kelby Brick, Esq., CDI

Director

“Kelby Brick has dedicated his entire career to ensuring that Deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals have the same opportunities and access as everyone else,” said Governor Larry Hogan. “Kelby is a tireless leader and advocate for individuals with disabilities and there is no one more qualified to take the helm at ODHH.”

Kelby led efforts in 2001 to establish ODHH, and his appointment represents a “return to home” for him. “I’ve come full circle here and am excited about this opportunity to work with the governor to take ODHH to the next level,” Kelby said.

In 2013, Kelby founded Brick Advantage, a consulting firm that works with and advises corporations and nonprofits. Prior to that, he was a vice president of Purple Communications, Inc., where he led the company’s regulatory and strategic policy to break down communication barriers for deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals.

While at Purple, Kelby transformed the telecommunications relay services industry—which provides full telephone accessibility to people who are deaf, hard of hearing, or speech-disabled—by establishing a system (later adopted by the Federal Communications Commission) that enables relay equipment to be interoperable and accessible with real local phone numbers and emergency access.

Prior to joining Purple, Kelby was the director for law and advocacy at the National Association of the Deaf (NAD). As director, Kelby successfully mobilized NAD in establishing precedents and landmark decisions in litigation and legislative and regulatory areas while increasing NAD’s profile.

Kelby is active in numerous advocacy organizations and served as a board member of the American Association of People with Disabilities as well as on various federal and local advisory groups.

In 2011, Brick was the first recipient of the Governor’s Kelby Brick Community Leadership Award, which has been given annually ever since. Brick has a Bachelor of Arts in government from Gallaudet University and a law degree from the Temple University Beasley School of Law. He is the first deaf graduate of the law school. He is also a Certified Deaf Interpreter.

Kelby resides in Catonsville with his wife, Jill, and their four teenagers.

Deborah Nathanson

Policy Manager

For more than twenty years, Nathanson has been involved in the fields of deafness, sign language interpreting, and disabilities. She co-founded L5, LLC, a firm that offers consultancy, advocacy, and professional development training and education services in the fields of hearing loss, disabilities, and sign language interpreting in the public and private sectors. She was previously the coordinator of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Domestic Violence Program in Minnesota, and a specialist at the Missouri Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. Nathanson has served as adjunct faculty at several universities, most recently at Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. She earned a master’s degree from University of Texas-Austin and a bachelor’s degree from Gallaudet University. She has also earned numerous certifications and graduate credits in the fields of Disability Studies, Non-profit/For-profit organizational management, and Museum/Archival Studies.

Allysa Dittmar

Communications and Policy Manager

Dittmar recently earned her master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health where she was a clinical research intern at the Kennedy Krieger Institute (Johns Hopkins Medicine) and graduated with highest honors. Dittmar co-founded the Deaf Health Initiative, a Maryland non-profit organization dedicated to transforming healthcare for the Deaf and hard of hearing. Dittmar’s main research focus is on improving the health and wellbeing of the Deaf and hard of hearing community. Her other research interests include pediatrics, minority health disparities, patient-physician communication, neuropsychology and mental health. She earned dual bachelor degrees with honors as the first deaf graduate from Johns Hopkins University and previously worked at the Johns Hopkins Environment, Energy, Sustainability & Health Institute.