April 21, 2015


Florence Tate

Executive Director

Ms. Florence Tate commenced as the ABHES Executive Director, effective November 2014.  Ms. Tate, former President of Potomac College, Washington, DC, has worked in postsecondary education for over 30 years.  Previously, she served as Commissioner and Chair of the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET) and has participated in over 300 accreditation evaluation visits for three national accrediting agencies, including ABHES. Ms. Tate has served on several boards, regulatory counsels, and advisory groups, and has been a frequent presenter on issues affecting higher education.

As the Executive Director, Ms. Tate manages the operations of ABHES, including overseeing accreditation activities and staff. She serves as liaison to state and federal regulatory bodies, including the U.S. Department of Education, and works closely with other national accrediting agencies, as well as credentialing agencies in the health care disciplines.  She is the primary liaison to the ABHES Commission and serves as staff liaison to a variety of committees, including the Commissioner Nominating. She also oversees the is primary editor for ABHES’ bi-annual newsletter, The Advantage.

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Education, Notre Dame College, Manchester, NH


India Y. Tips
Assistant Executive Director
Ms. Tips has been with ABHES since 1995.  As the Assistant Executive Director, Ms. Tips is the primary contact for initial and renewal applicants seeking ABHES accreditation, the coordination and management of the ABHES National Conference on Allied Health Education, and development and scheduling of accreditation workshops where she regularly serves as a presenter.  Ms. Tips serves as staff liaison to the Standards Review Committee, Conference Planning Committee and manages the logistical arrangements for Commission meetings. She also oversees on-site evaluation teams on various accreditation visits conducts annual staff in-service training sessions.

Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA


Christy Baily-Byers
Manager of Training & Distance Education Development

Ms. Baily-Byers began with ABHES in January 2011.  Previously, she served as an Accreditation Coordinator for the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) and worked in higher education as a university administrator and faculty member for 20 years.

She is responsible for the oversight of distance education activities, including procurement and training of specialists. Her communications-related activities include oversight of student teach outs, with necessary interaction with federal regulators and state education departments and assisting in the planning and coordination of the annual membership meeting. Ms. Baily-Byers participates in occasional on-site evaluation visits, as staff liaison.  She also serves as the staff liaison to the Distance Education Committee and represents ABHES at various meetings of the Association of Specialized Professional Accreditors (ASPA), for which ABHES is a long-standing member.

Master of Business Administration, Nova Southeastern University, Fort Lauderdale, FL
Bachelor of Arts in Communication/Public Relations, University of Delaware, Newark, DE


Naomi Blake
Accreditation Coordinator

Ms. Blake joined ABHES in June 2014.  Her primary responsibility is to coordinate and conduct on-site evaluation visits with ABHES teams.  Ms. Blake’s professional experience has been in a few fields, including health-related.  The four years before joining ABHES, she was a legal assistant in a law firm located in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Bachelor of Science in Psychology, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland


Eileen M. Brennan
Director of Accreditation

Ms. Brennan joined the ABHES staff in 2007.  Previously, Ms. Brennan was employed at the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) where she served as Associate Director of Quality Assurance and, in earlier years, as an Accreditation Coordinator.   She also served for four years as an Education Analyst for the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

As Director of Accreditation Development, Ms. Brennan oversees the review and resolution of grievances regarding accredited institutions and programs as well as the processing of change in ownership or control applications.  She also serves as liaison to Preliminary Review Committee and manages the Commission’s application agenda.  Ms. Brennan serves as liaison to the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), and the DC Area Accreditors.    

Master of Science in Human Resource Development, Trinity University, Washington, DC
Bachelor of Arts in American Studies, Stonehill College, North Easton, MA


Tammy Bridgeman
Manager of Operations

Ms. Tamara (Tammy) Bridgeman joined ABHES in November 2013.  As the Manager of Operations, Ms. Bridgeman is responsible for ABHES office administration activities; Human Resources and Benefits Administration; General Accounting; Accounts Payable and Receivable; Budget; and Payroll Administration.   Ms. Bridgeman assists the Finance Committee and coordinates external service contracts and facilities management activities.  Prior to joining ABHES, Ms. Bridgeman holds 30 plus years in association, corporation, and small business management and has extensive experience in employee benefits administration, Accounting, and payroll.


Kelly Costello
Accreditation Coordinator

Ms. Costello joined ABHES in June 2013 and serves as an Accreditation Coordinator.  Her primary responsibility is planning on-site evaluation visits and coordinating these visits through travel with the teams. Ms. Costello graduated from University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida,  in 2011 with a BA in History and Psychology.   Prior to joining ABHES, she was a curatorial intern at the Smithsonian and the U.S. Supreme Court.  In February 2012, she continued her penchant for sharing history and has been engaged as a visitor service representative at the Newseum.

Bachelor of Arts in History and Psychology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL


Mary Margaret Coughlin
Accreditation Coordinator

Ms. Coughlin joined ABHES in June 2013 and serves as an Accreditation Coordinator.  Her primary responsibility is planning on-site evaluation visits and coordinating these visits through travel with the teams.  She graduated from Mount St. Mary’s University, Emmitsburg, Maryland, in 2008 with a BA in Communications.   Prior to joining ABHES, she served as a manager’s assistant in the financial services firm Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and for the past year has been employed at Coughlin Transportation Inc., a company that provides private bus services. She managed human resources, processed accounts payable, and planed and organized events, including site research and budget and expense management.

Bachelor of Arts in Communications, Mount St. Mary's University, Emmitsburg, MD


Pete Etchells
Senior Accreditation Coordinator

Mr. Etchells joined ABHES in 2011 and serves as a Senior Accreditation Coordinator. His primary responsibility is planning on-site evaluation visits and coordinating these visits through travel with the teams. He also serves as a staff liaison to the Financial Review Committee and the Association of Specialized Allied Health Professionals (ASAHP).  His other responsibilities include processing change of name and change in location applications and confirming accreditation status.

Master of Science in Global Marketing, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, United Kingdom
Bachelor of Arts in American Studies (Literature), University of Kent, Canterbury, United Kingdom

Joyce E. Laing
Director of Operations and Program Development

Ms. Laing joined ABHES in April 2015 and serves as the Director of Operations and Program Development.  Her primary responsibility is management of the program review process, including the review and approval of program related application documents.  In addition, she assists in the development and implementation of office operations and procedures, attends program-related advisory committees and is a member of the ABHES leadership team.

Over the past 20 years, she has worked in post-secondary education at public and private schools including Fortis Institute-Towson, Kaplan, Potomac College and Montgomery College.  She has held various leadership positions including the Director of Education and interim Executive Director.  She possesses a strong background in program compliance and led the application and review processes on campus for several accreditation visits including ABHES, ACCSC and CODA.  In addition, she was a program evaluator for many years at both the US Government Accountability Office and in the Inspector General’s Office at the US Federal Trade Commission. 

Master of Public Administration, American University, Washington, DC
Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Queens College, NYC, NY


Amanda Ludwa
Program Specialist

Ms. Amanda Ludwa has worked with ABHES since 2011. During her time with ABHES, Amanda worked as an Accreditation Coordinator before assuming the position of Program Specialist in early 2014. As Program Specialist, Amanda’s primary responsibilities are to conduct program-related on-site evaluations, as well as to review and act on program applications including Minor Program Revision, Substantive Program Revision, and New Program Approval. Amanda additionally serves as staff liaison to the Programmatic Accreditation Committee for Surgical Technology (PAC-ST) and the Committee on Competency Based Education, as well as represents ABHES as an active member of the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA). Prior to coming to ABHES, Amanda worked for more than 8 years at a Continuing Education company maintaining recognition and compliance with the American Dental Association and Academy of General Dentistry standards.

Bachelor of Arts, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, IL

Kellie Mullarkey
Accreditation Coordinator

Ms. Mullarkey joined ABHES in October 2013 as an Accreditation Coordinator.  Her primary responsibility is planning on-site evaluation visits and coordinating these visits through travel with the teams. Ms. Mullarkey holds a B.A. in history from the University of Mary Washington.  Prior to coming to ABHES, Ms. Mullarkey worked in various capacities for museums and historic sites, which included serving the state of Delaware on committees that assisted in the process of museum accreditation.

Bachelor of Arts in History, University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, Virginia


Wesley Pope
Accreditation Assistant

Mr. Pope joined ABHES in January 2015 as an Accreditation Assistant. His primary responsibilities include general administrative support to staff, primary contact for all incoming inquiries (phone, mail, info@abhes.org) and workshop and conference preparation. Prior to joining ABHES, Wesley served as an Account Executive at United Business Technologies located in Tysons Corner, VA.

Bachelor of Business Administration, Shenandoah University, Winchester, VA


Amy Rowe
Director of Institutional Review and Development
Ms. Rowe has worked with ABHES since 2003. As Director of Institutional Review and Development, Ms. Rowe is responsible for maintenance of the ABHES website, development of the Accreditation Manual, coordination and analysis of biennial survey on standards, and oversees the activities of institutional and programmatic annual reporting.  She is also responsible for planning and coordinating the evaluation teams for on-site visits and the input and processing of visitation reports.  Ms. Rowe serves as staff liaison to the Annual Report Committee and the Standards Review Committee (SRC).

Bachelor of Science in Family and Consumer Sciences, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV


Holly Viar
Manager of Compliance

Ms. Viar has been with ABHES since May 2010 and now serves as the Manager of Compliance. Her primary responsibilities include maintaining the ABHES database, review and processing of discontinued programs, assisting with the activities of institutional and programmatic annual reporting, and provides support with the preparation of meetings and workshops.  Ms. Viar serves as co-staff liaison to the Annual Report Committee and Outcomes Reporting Committee.

Bachelor of Business Administration with a concentration in Finance, Strayer University, Woodbridge, VA


Michael D. White
Director of Legal and Regulatory Affairs
Mr. White has been on the ABHES staff since 2008. As an attorney, Mr. White was senior counsel for one of the largest Fortune Five Hundred companies in the United States and worked routinely with state and federal regulators.  For 10 years prior to joining ABHES, Mr. White was the Director of Education responsible for all accreditation and state licensing for an ABHES-accredited private postsecondary college with campuses in several states.

Mr. White advises the Commission on both internal legal and regulatory issues and external compliance with laws and regulations impacting its operations as a recognized accrediting agency.  He is active in leading efforts to establish and maintain ABHES accreditation as a sufficient verification of educational quality to allow graduates of ABHES- accredited programs to work and to credential across the country.  He also is also an integral part of show-cause appearance meetings and appeals.

Doctor of Law, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, OH
Master of Science, University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL
Bachelor of Science, Purdue University, Ft. Wayne, IN