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Kim Moody (executive director of Disability Rights Maine) and Alan Cobo-Lewis (ME UCEDD)   Alt text: Two people, a woman and a man, standing in the White House complex next to an indoor American flag, with the White House shield above their heads.


ME UCEDD Goes to White House to Highlight Impact of Federal Initiatives on Maine's Disability Community

On March 14, 2024, Alan Cobo-Lewis, associate professor of psychology and director of the University of Maine Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies (ME UCEDD), was invited to attend Communities in Action: Building a Better Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, in person at the White House complex. This meeting brought together federal figures with over three dozen local elected officials and community leaders working on behalf of their communities to create opportunities and improve people's everyday lives. Discussions highlighted federal initiatives, especially those funded by the American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA), Inflation Reduction Act, and Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Keynote speaker Ansley Peacock, an adult white woman with shoulder length brown hair, wearing glasses, earrings and a red knit top.


NH-ME LEND Spring Kickoff: Organizing to Influence Your State's Policy

In late January, NH-ME LEND gathered for the annual spring kick-off event: Organizing to Influence Your State's Policy. An inspiring keynote speaker, Ansley Peacock, followed by an informative panel discussion set the stage for the upcoming policy module, and the trainees' participation in the upcoming Disability Policy Seminar (DPS) in Washington, D.C.

Mairead Deacy, Dr. Mirian Ofonedu, Diogo Fortes


2024 Developmental Disabilities Day at the Legislature Reflection

Each year, the Maryland Developmental Disabilities (MDD) Coalition sponsors Developmental Disabilities Day at the Legislature (DD Day), an opportunity for participants to educate state legislators in the capital on crucial issues affecting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), their caregivers and their families. On February 21, 2024, we had the pleasure of attending this year's DD Day as Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities trainees, alongside Kennedy Krieger Institute staff members, other trainees and self-advocates.



Disability in Iowa: Working Together!

In early November, the Center for Disabilities and Development (CDD), home to Iowa's UCEDD, LEND program, and IDDRC, teamed up with our sister organization, the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council, to host "Disability in Iowa: Working Together." Iowa's state legislators were invited to CDD for a learning session to increase their awareness of the work we do on behalf of Iowans with disabilities, and to help them understand more about the experience of living with a disability, including the challenges of access to supports and services.



Are you interested in learning more about and being involved in public policy?

Join AUCD's Public Policy Committee

AUCD's Public Policy Committee typically meets monthly on the second Tuesday of the month at 4:00 pm ET. The Policy Committee is created by the Board of Directors to support the mission, vision, and values of AUCD by supporting AUCD's efforts to advance policies and practices that improve lives of people with disabilities. We welcome any person affiliated with a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities Program, or an Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Center to join.



Oklahoma LEND Graduate Makes it to the State House

Oklahoma LEND graduate, Ellyn Hefner, class of 2014, is elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Prior to being accepted into the OK LEND program, Ellyn was a strong advocate for her son to ensure he would have the same opportunities as his siblings. She graduated from the Oklahoma Partners in Policymaking class sponsored by the Developmental Disability Council of Oklahoma.



Apply Now! Become a 2023 Think College Policy Advocate!

Deadline: April 24, 2023

The Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD) and Think College National Coordinating Center (NCC) are happy to announce this opportunity to learn and practice policy advocacy skills is once again available to students and staff of inclusive higher education programs. If you or someone you know works for or attends a postsecondary education program for students with intellectual disability, you can apply to be a Think College Policy Advocate (TCPA).



NH-ME LEND Spring Kick-Off: Engaging in Advocacy and the Policy Process

In January, NH-ME LEND convened trainees, faculty, and five panelists for a Leadership Intensive: Organizing to Influence Your State's Policy. Panelists represented perspectives on advocacy at the state, local, and personal levels. The Leadership Intensive was the first step in preparing the 2023 LEND cohort for the spring Disability Policy Seminar (DPS) and subsequent meetings with congressional delegations.

Pictured: Dr. Mirian Ofonedu, Martina Penalosa, Melanie Ong


Developmental Disabilities Day at the Legislature Reflection

by Melanie Ong and Martina Penalosa, MCDD Trainees

Every year, the Maryland Developmental Disabilities (MDD) Coalition sponsors DD Day. On this day, participants come together to educate legislators about issues that are important to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and their families.

A woman stands behind a man in a motorized wheelchair and smile as they pose with copies of Kindred Stories to hand out to legislators during Tennessee's Disability Day on the Hill.


Educating Legislators and Policymakers Through Storytelling and Legislative Visits

Each year, the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center's (TN IDDRC, UCEDD, LEND) University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, in collaboration with The Arc Tennessee and AbleVoices, produces a collection of stories and images that highlight the challenges individuals with disabilities and their families face as they navigate service systems and supports in the state of Tennessee. Kindred Stories of Disability highlights a different topic in each issue and is shared with Tennessee legislators and policymakers to educate them with first-hand accounts from constituents in their districts.



Statement of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities on Reproductive Health

In response to the U.S. Supreme Court's decision today in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) issues the following statement. First and foremost, AUCD recognizes the significance and complexity of the impact of the decision on all people, including those with disabilities. For many, this is deeply personal. AUCD fully supports and advocates for people with disabilities to have the right and freedom to make their own decisions about healthcare.



Statement on Gun Violence and Mass Shootings to Ensure the Safety of People with Disabilities

AUCD is concerned about the increased incidence of mass shootings and gun violence in the past few years, and we are grateful for the bipartisan efforts to address it. We recognize this issue is a complex balancing act of personal freedom and collective safety in the United States. However, we must also acknowledge that among developed economies, the United States has the highest level of gun violence, gun shots are the leading cause of death for children, and many of these deaths occur at home or in other homes and not in schools or mass shootings.



NH Leadership Series Graduate Receives SAR-TAC Fellowship

Nathaniel Livernois '22, has received a prestigious fellowship from the Self Advocates Becoming Empowered and ACL's Administration on Disabilities. The fellowship provides full funding for six self-advocates to carry out independently designed self-advocacy leadership and policy-related projects with host organizations.



Self-Advocates from WIHD interviewed by Fox5NY

Hear Our Voices at The Westchester Institute for Human Development (WIHD) has developed a Speaker�s Network of self-advocates who present at local, state, and national conferences. The Speaker's Network offers individualized coaching to young adults with disabilities that want to share their story. The program empowers self-advocates to use their lived experiences to increase disability awareness. After completing the program, participants have a custom professional presentation that reflects their passion on a relevant topic. They have presented at the New York Medical College, the Touro College of Dentistry, Sarah Lawrence College and various statewide and national conferences.



NH-ME LEND Spring Kickoff Event Helps Prepare Trainees for Disability Policy Seminar

In late January, the NH-ME LEND Program hosted a two-state panel discussion and a keynote speaker as part of their virtual Spring Semester Kick Off Event, Organizing to Influence Your State's Policy. The session was designed to help prepare NH and ME trainees to participate in the annual Disability Policy Seminar in Washington, DC on March 28-30, 2022.

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