My name is John Cardinale. They call my office partner and me the “mad scientists” of the New York Department of Health and Human Services. I received a PhD in quantitative methods in social service research from City University. I’m working on a very new initiative to help fathers who have violations because they’re not paying child support. They might have gotten out of jail, they may have disabilities, or they’re having trouble getting work. And, the mothers of their children are mostly single parents. The data we’re looking at helps us understand why they’re failing. The program can be restructured and tailored for each person so that he can get back on his feet if he tails the first time. The majority succeed the second time. It saves taxpayers’ money and helps put people back on their feet. I think it can show what is possible with innovative public programs that are customized for individual people’s needs.

I have multiple sclerosis: MS. It’s a neurological disease that affects every nerve of the body in some way. It’s very unpredictable. I’ve experienced depression, weakness in my limbs — for a time I couldn’t walk well. Eye issues, like seeing double, are the most common symptoms. I have special glasses that are on an angle so I can see straight. Luckily, I haven’t had to wear them in a while. And fatigue: the disease and medication sometimes makes me quite tired. I have to push through it, though. I’m stable and doing well.