Board Member Duncan Munn Finds Passion in I/DD Services

Duncan Munn, at left, poses in the snow with his wife, Marsha.

Duncan Munn with his wife, Marsha, while visiting a national park in the Canadian Rockies and receiving a warm welcome from an Arctic wolf.

If fate and true love hadn’t intervened, Monarch Board Member Duncan Munn might be residing in the colder clime of Canada instead of seasonally mild North Carolina.

Munn was born and raised in Canada and headed to North Carolina as a college freshman at Duke University, where he earned undergraduate degrees in French Literature and History. For over 50 years, he has called North Carolina home.

Munn took a year off following graduation from Duke to be a direct support professional (DSP) with an agency that served adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). He originally had intentions of returning to Canada to pursue a law degree.

It was in the DSP role that he felt he had found his passion for helping others with I/DD and returned to college to earn his master’s degree in Special Education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While he was an area Developmental Disabilities Coordinator for a North Carolina managed care organization (MCO), Munn met his future wife, Marsha, who worked in the child development field. At the time, they worked together on a community inclusion project

Through the years, Munn has held many titles including Director of Recreation Programs for Arc; state and regional coordinator for Long-term Services and Supports (LTSS) with the Division of Mental Health, Developmental Disabilities and Substance Abuse Services; program manager for LTSS residential supports; and finally as Director of Early Intervention for young children with disabilities for the Division of North Carolina’s Public Health.

A recent retiree, Munn has been a member of the Monarch Board since 2015, and was drawn back into the I/DD field to share his knowledge with the University of North Carolina Greensboro’s Beyond Academics Comprehensive Transition program, an integrative, post-secondary studies program for students with I/DD.

Munn finds his Monarch board member role challenging, rewarding and inspiring. “I am very proud to be affiliated with organizations that represent and replicate good practices,” he noted. “I see the positive effects on the children and adults that we serve and how their lives are changed. That is a tremendously rewarding feeling.”

Munn is the chairperson of the Monarch’s Board Development Committee, chairperson of the Club Horizon Board and a member of the Executive Committee. He is currently a board member on North Carolina First and Families and the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, based out of UNC Chapel Hill, and is a board member emeritus on the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation.

Currently there are many developments in the I/DD field that affect Monarch staff such as administrative and policy changes within the state’s system, Munn commented. Despite these changes within the I/DD and mental health field, Munn said he enjoys hearing about the confidence of Monarch staff and their skills, compassion and commitment through the services provided.

“It really is the staff that keep us together and focused on quality and core values. It sounds simplistic but it’s true,” he expressed. “Our staff need to realize that they are the linchpin of our services and I greatly appreciate that. I want to support our staff in any way that I can.”

The Munns, who reside in the Raleigh area, enjoy traveling across North Carolina as well as internationally. Prior to the pandemic, Munn has served as a volunteer for the past 15 years through the UNC Medical Center at Chapel Hill where he helps rock newborn infants in the neonatal intensive care unit.

Posted on: Monday June 21, 2021