Our Team

Mollie MurphyMollie Murphy is a Principal at Applied Self-Direction and is a nationally recognized expert on Financial Management Services (FMS) in self-direction. With over fifteen years’ experience in self-direction, Mollie has assisted state and federal agencies to design and implement self-direction programs with high-performing and compliant FMS. Mollie led FMS Technical Assistance at the National Resource Center for Participant-Directed Services (NRCPDS) at Boston College from 2008 to 2015 and has designed and carried out the only national FMS Conference, which later grew into the Self-Direction Conference, since 2009.  She has worked with states to develop FMS from their inception and to improve services and processes in existing self-direction programs.

Mollie is regularly a presenter at national conferences and has authored several issue briefs for the foundations and other stakeholders. Mollie started and continues to lead membership programs for states, FMS entities, and other stakeholders in self-direction.

Mollie is a Junior Fellow with the Annenburg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania’s National Academy of Political and Social Science and graduated summa cum laude with Highest Honors in Economics from Clark University.


Kate Murray is a Principal at Applied Self-Direction. She has deep expertise relating to regulatory compliance in Medicaid-funded self-direction programs, with a focus on labor and workforce issues. Kate is a nationally recognized expert on the Department of Labor’s Home Care Final Rule that revised Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requirements for home care workers, and she has consulted to numerous state Medicaid agencies and Medicaid managed care organizations on labor and workforce issues.

Kate previously served as a Senior Policy Analyst at the National Resource Center for Participant-Directed Services (NRCPDS) at Boston College, with a focus on innovative, practical technical assistance for self-direction stakeholders.

Prior to working at NRCPDS, Kate worked as a senior medical economist in Medicaid managed care, focusing on LTSS utilization and expenditures among high-risk dual eligible populations. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College with a double major in Government and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.


Casey DeLucaCasey DeLuca, is the Director of Membership and Conferences at Applied Self-Direction. Casey oversees ASD’s membership offerings for state Medicaid agencies administering self-direction programs, Financial Management Services (FMS) entities, and other self-direction stakeholders. Casey is the primary organizer of the biennial Self-Direction Conference, a national event designed for states, providers, and other stakeholders in self-direction.

Prior to her work at ASD, Casey was the Self-Direction Training Manager at the National Resource Center for Participant-Directed Services (NRCPDS) at Boston College and the Cash & Counseling National Program Office, which directed the twelve-state expansion of Cash & Counseling. In this role, Casey developed and implemented self-direction training programs for social workers, practitioners, program participants, and more.

Casey also has clinical social work experience working with adults with disabilities and children and families in hospital settings. Casey graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Home and Community Services from the University of Delaware and a Master of Social Work from Boston College. 


James Toews, is an Executive Technical Assistance Consultant at Applied Self-Direction and the former Acting Principal Deputy Director of the Administration for Community Living (ACL). James started his career in direct services to people with disabilities in community settings. After moving to state government, he was the Director of Developmental Disability Services for the state of Oregon from 1985-2001 and was the Director of Oregon’s state agency for Aging and Disability Services from 2001-2011. From 2011 to 2016, James was a Senior Advisor at ACL and was named acting Deputy Director in 2017. At ACL, James worked concurrently at CMS on implementation of the HCBS settings regulation; at the US Department of Labor on implementation of new FLSA regulations for home care workers; and at the US Department of Justice Civil Rights Division on pending Olmstead litigation in multiple states.

James received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work and Sociology from Goshen College and later did graduate coursework in Guidance and Counseling at Indiana University at South Bend.


Merle Edwards-OrrMerle Edwards-Orr is an Executive Technical Assistance Consultant at Applied Self-Direction. Merle has developed, implemented and managed self-direction programs from within state government and help lead a national self-direction program. With the State of Vermont, Merle ran their Cash & Counseling Program and the quality management efforts for programs serving seniors and adults with disabilities, with a particular focus on case management and adult day services.  In 2012, he moved to the National Resource Center for Participant-Directed Services (NRCPDS) at Boston College to lead development of a self-directed option for all Veterans needing long-term care, on behalf of the Veterans Health Administration.  He moved with NRCPDS to Applied Self-Direction in the fall of 2016. 

Merle received his MSW from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and his Ph.D from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.


Molly MorrisMolly Morris is a Senior Technical Assistance Consultant at Applied Self-Direction. Molly previously spent five years at the National Resource Center for Participant-Directed Services (NRCPDS) at Boston College. At NRCPDS, she managed the Center’s program and Financial Management Services (FMS) membership offerings, which are now available through Applied Self-Direction. Molly also oversaw the development of numerous issue briefs, webinars, and publications on self-direction.

Molly graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Mary Washington and a Master of Social Work, specializing in Older Adults & Families, from Boston College.


Highsmith RichHighsmith Rich is a Research and Technical Assistance Analyst at Applied Self-Direction. She graduated from Boston College with a Master’s degree in mental health counseling, specializing in both quantitative and qualitative research relating to underserved populations. A Certified Options Counselor, her expertise lies in the intersection of mental health and advocacy. She has extensive training and experience working directly with individuals creating individualized treatment and care plans and person-centered therapy. At Applied Self-Direction, Highsmith is involved with research initiatives designed to advance understanding of the self-directed service delivery model and enhance service delivery to individuals receiving self-directed services.

Highsmith completed her undergraduate degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, receiving the Kimball King Research Grant and President’s Scholarship to pursue research in the race-related mental health stress and psychological development.


Laura MauldinLaura Astor Mauldin is a Financial Management Services (FMS) Analyst at Applied Self-Direction.  Laura's tax and labor law research and operational procedures have established best practices for FMS around the country.  Additionally, she has worked extensively with individuals who self-direct during program enrollment and coordinated quality assurance activities for self-direction programs.  She currently serves on her local Bike-Pedestrian Committee.

Laura received her Bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University with a double major in Economics and Politics, and a minor in Business and Managerial Economics.


Linda LeidingLinda Leiding is a Readiness Review Specialist at Applied Self-Direction. She has been an advocate for people with disabilities throughout her career and has managed residential, vocational, and participant directed programs. Linda was an early collaborator of participant direction in MN and was among the first providers in that state to offer fiscal services in 1998. Linda has also worked nationally as a surveyor that accredits health and human service providers. In addition, she serves on her local School Board and is active in other community organizations.

Linda has a Bachelor of Science in Therapeutic Recreation and a Master of Public Administration from Minnesota State University, Mankato.