Council on Community Advocacy (COCA)


About COCA

The AUCD Board of Directors has established a number of Councils and Committees that are made up of experts in the field to help the Board address emerging trends and issues, and to facilitate communication across and beyond the AUCD network. The Council on Community Advocacy, also known as COCA, is made up of individuals with disabilities and family members from each University Center across the AUCD network.

COCA assists AUCD to advance policy and practice for and with people with disabilities, their families and communities. The Council helps the association to:

  • Build effective partnerships with other AUCD Councils and Committees, federal agencies, and other national disability groups.
  • Build the capacity of local University Center Consumer Advisory Committees (CACs), including identifying needs for assistance, providing technical assistance, and disseminating information about exemplary and innovative practices.
  • Envision, actively advocate for, and disseminate information about the next generation of policy and practice that will help make the promise of full participation a reality.
  • Develop leaders and mentors that build the capacity of the network to affect change at the local, state, and national levels.
  • Assist in the development of standards for participation of people with disabilities and family members in UCEDD education, research, and service programs and in AUCD functions.
  • Serve as a model and resource for others desiring to infuse the participation people with disabilities and family members into program planning, research, and evaluation.

The Council on Consumer Affairs first convened in the fall of 1994. The Council was formed as a result of AUCD's (formerly AAUAP) increasing recognition of the importance of receiving consistent and ongoing consumer feedback. Start-up activities were funded by the Administration on Developmental Disabilities, through a Project of National Significance entitled "Leadership and Choices." Principle support was provided by Bruce Eddy of AUCD and Carl Calkins of the University of Missouri/Kansas City, Missouri's UCEDD.

The Council leadership structure includes several internal committees and two co-chairs. 1998 By-Laws stipulate that one co-chair must be an individual with a disability, and the other be the family member of an individual with a disability. The three-year, staggered co-chair positions carry with them a slot on AUCD's Board of Directors.

Full Council membership consists of one representative of each UCEDD, designated by that UCEDD's director. The Council continues to strive to meet its long-term goal of full membership.

In 2003-2004, AUCD made a commitment to revitalize the role of COCA within the network. Past President of AUCD, David Johnson appointed an ad hoc COCA Workgroup. This workgroup, chaired by Carl Calkins, solicited feedback from the AUCD network and met several times to develop a renewed vision to strengthen the role of COCA. A final set of recommendations was produced and presented to the board and UCEDD Directors at the UCEDD Directors' retreat May 2-3, 2005 in Chicago, IL.


New on the COCA Web Pages



Nominate a Colleague for an AUCD Award

Deadline: June 30

We know the depth, breadth, and expertise of our trainees, advocates, professionals, and partners is extraordinary and deserving of recognition. In preparation for this year's conference, we invite you to Lift Your Voice and nominate someone who truly inspires you.



Tuesdays with Liz: Why Medicaid is Important

In this week's edition of Tuesdays with Liz: Disability Policy for All Liz interviews Evan Nodvin about why Medicaid is important in his life. In case you missed it last week, Liz interviewed Timotheus Gordon, LEND fellow in Illinois, about the development of an online study that he developed about people with Autism and who are also people with color.



'Just Kids' Photography-based Exhibit Features Children with Disabilities (GA UCEDD)

Georgia Libraries for Accessible Statewide Services (GLASS) exhibits its first photography-based art exhibition - "Just Kids", a documentary and portraiture style look into the lives of families and their loved ones who have an intellectual or developmental disability. The "Just Kids" exhibit, created by photographer Ryan Johnson, who served as community support specialist at the Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD), includes 18 portraits, five of which are of families that are members of the Chattahoochee Valley Down Syndrome Association.



AIR-B3 Leverages Community Collaborations to Improve Interventions for Under-Resourced Communities

The AIR-B3 network - UCLA, UC Davis, University of Pennsylvania, University of Rochester, and Drexel University - has continued to develop strong partnerships within our local communities. Understanding the importance of community collaboration to design effective interventions for under-resourced communities, the network continues to collaborate and disseminate information about autism through community conferences, community involvement, and direct participation in community organizations.




It's the day before the big show, and Cadie Albin is drawing applause from fellow cast members as she pirouettes and pops to the music playing on the loudspeaker. WhyArts artist Courtney Stein is bopping her head in appreciation of the tune as she, her fellow WhyArts volunteers and members of the MMI staff coordinate a big dance number.



RFK UCEDD Supports Local DD Council NYS and NYC Local Legislative Education Efforts

On Friday, March 3, 2017 over 350 family members, government officials, legislators and community agencies participated in the Bronx Developmental Disabilities (DD) Council's Annual Legislative Education Breakfast under the leadership of Joanne Siegel, Associate Director of the Rose F Kennedy Center University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (RFK UCEDD) at Albert Einstein College of Medicine/Montefiore Medical Center who currently serves as the President of the Council. The purpose of this event was to bring together legislators, parents, advocates, consumers and professionals concerned with the needs of people with developmental disabilities who reside in the Bronx. In order to address the needs of all of New York City, this event was also simultaneously planned throughout all of the 5 New York City boroughs.



AUCD 2017: Lift Your Voice

You're Invited!

The power of our collective voices working together to sustain vital supports and services for people with disabilities and their families cannot be denied. The AUCD Conference brings us together to discuss the strategies, innovations, and systems that will allow us to continue to move the needle forward. Join us at the 2017 AUCD Conference as we celebrate successes, learn from past efforts, seek opportunities in the present, and innovate for the future.



Submit a Proposal for AUCD 2017 Today

Deadline: June 1

The AUCD Conference is one of the nation's premier places to highlight your work. Over 200 different presentations will be accepted to the conference in several different types of sessions, formatted for maximum visibility and interaction with attendees. Proposals are encouraged from students, self-advocates, family leaders, clinicians, and researchers in over 25 topics. Don't miss your chance: submit a proposal today!



APHA Disability Section Call for 2017 Awards Nominations

Deadline Extended - April 18th

Do you know someone who has made a significant contribution through scholarship, teaching, practice and/or advocacy to advance the health and quality of life of people with disabilities or an especially dedicated student? Now is the time to nominate a colleague for one of the 2017 APHA Disability Section Awards!



Family and Individual Needs for Disability Supports Survey

Deadline Extended: April 30th

The Arc, in collaboration with the Research and Training Center on Community Living at the University of Minnesota (MN LEND), has launched the 2017 Family and Individual Needs for Disability Supports Survey which seeks to capture perceptions of family caregivers of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) on a range of life-span issues.



Family and Individual Needs for Disability Supports (FINDS) Survey

From The Arc

The 2017 FINDS survey aims is to learn more about the experiences of parents and family members who provide support to a family member with an intellectual or developmental disability. To participate, the caregiver must be 18 years or older and provide primary paid/unpaid and frequent support to a family member or friend with an intellectual or developmental disability living in the United States (and U.S. territories). This survey is not for direct support professionals�we need the perspective of family caregivers, paid or unpaid.



Announcing National Disability Voter Registration Week 2017

The REV UP Campaign coordinates National Disability Voter Registration Week each year to increase the political power of people with disabilities while also engaging candidates and the media to recognize the disability community. This year, National Disability Voter Registration Week will be held on July 17-21, 2017.



UC UCEDD takes part in Cincinnati Reelabilities Film Festival to Reach 12,000+ with Films on Disability

This year, March 9-12 marks the fourth year University of Cincinnati UCEDD will participate in the Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival. ReelAbilities presents award-winning films by and about people with disabilities, while also planning initiatives around town related to accessibility and inclusion. The film has grown exponentially in recent years to expand to year-round programming that has led to city-wide discussions around employment of people with disabilities to school-based film screenings to promote inclusion of students with disabilities.



A Personal Story of a Cultural Broker (MA UCEDD/LEND)

By Oanh Thi Thu Bui, Diversity Fellow, Institute for Community Inclusion, UMass Boston

To increase equity and access while respecting the unique cultural values of families from diverse communities, service providers must reach out to and reciprocally engage parents. By building mutual relationships and offering appropriate materials, cultural brokering groups like mine can empower parents and ensure service provision is culturally and linguistically appropriate.



Disability Advocates Warn Against Overturning Education Rules

AUCDs Kim Musheno quoted in Disability Scoop

Many disability advocates oppose a resolution under consideration in Congress that would do away with education regulations finalized last year by the Obama administration.



2016-17 MNLEND Fellow Publishes!

Jack Reagan, current 2016-17 MNLEND Fellow recently co-published a brief based on the FINDS 2010 data surveying family caregivers. The data he analyzed within the FINDS survey focused on the emotional and physical markers affecting family caregivers. These markers have both positive and negative association to their related outcomes for family caregivers.


Upcoming Events
of Interest to
COCA Members

AUCD Leadership Academy - Deadline Extended  Copy to Calendar
Sunday, June 25, 2017 - Friday, June 30, 2017

More Events >