Joan Beasley, PhD

Research Associate Professor & Director of the Center for START Services


  • Ph.D., Social Policy, The Heller School at Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, 2000

  • M.Ed., Community Mental Health Counseling, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, 1981

Professional Background

Dr. Joan Beasley is a Research Associate Professor and Director of the Center for START Services at the UNH Institute on Disability. She holds a Ph.D. in Social Policy from the Heller School at Brandeis University, and a Master’s degree in Community Mental Health Counseling from Northeastern University. Dr. Beasley has authored and co-authored numerous publications in the field of MHIDD, and provides training in the US, Canada and Europe. She serves as co-chair of the Mental Health Special Interest Group of AUCD.

Dr. Beasley is the author and co-founder of the START program, first implemented in 1988, and has worked to promote the development of effective services for people with disabilities and their families for more than 35 years. START is a nationally implemented evidence informed model that focuses on evaluation and research of best practices. It was cited as a model program in the 2002 U.S. Surgeon General’s Report on mental health disparities for persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities. In 2016 START was identified as best practice by the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine.


START is a research-based model of services and supports for individuals with an intellectual/developmental disability (IDD) ages six and older who also have a mental health (MH) diagnosis or behavioral health needs.

Dr. Joan Beasley
(603) 228-2085 ext 38
Curriculum Vitae: 
Institute on Disability
57 Regional Drive, Unit 8
Concord, NH 03301