April 10, 2006 • Volume 6, Number 60


AUCD has been very busy with work on the Hill this past month. I had the privilege of representing AUCD in providing testimony before the House subcommittee with responsibility for deciding annual appropriations for AUCD programs. I was fortunate to be joined by a parent, Victoria Sulerzyski, with a child with multiple developmental disabilities who is getting services at the Maryland UCEDD-the Kennedy Krieger Institute. Labor, HHS, ED Subcommittee Chairman Ralph Regula (R-OH) was very engaged asking questions of both of us. AUCD also provided written testimony on behalf of the UCEDDs and LENDs. Staff also submitted testimony developed by Steve Warren, Director, Kansas Mental Retardation Developmental Disabilities Research Center, and Marsha Seltzer, Director, Waisman Center, on behalf of the Developmental Disabilities Research Centers (DDRCs). Copies of the testimonies are available on the AUCD website.

Another recent activity was the AUCD Congressional Briefing on March 16. The briefing was held in conjunction with the External Partners Group of the National Center for Birth Defects and Development Disabilities (NCBDDD). Congressman Langevin (D-RI), co-chair the House Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus with Congressmen Ramstad (R-MN), spoke on the topical nature of the briefing. A panel of speakers provided information regarding health disparities found among people with disabilities, obstacles to health care access for people with disabilities, and efforts funded by NCBDDD to address these challenges.

The speakers were Dr. José Cordero, Assistant Surgeon General and Director of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Dr. Glenn Fujiura, Associate Professor in the Department of Disability and Human Development, College of Allied Health Science, University of Illinois at Chicago; Catherine Leigh Graham, Rehabilitation Engineer, University of South Carolina School of Medicine; Dr. James H. Rimmer, Professor in the Department of Disability and Human Development, College of Allied Health Science, University of Illinois at Chicago; and John E. Crews, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. George Jesien , Past Chair of the External Partners' Group and Executive Director of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) moderated the briefing. For more information about the Congressional briefing, visit the AUCD website.  

Finally, I want to thank Royal Walker, AUCD President Elect and Associate Director of the Institute for Disability Studies (MS UCEDD) for coming to Washington and meeting with House and Senate staff members regarding AUCD appropriations priorities. He had a series of successful meetings that were facilitated by AUCD legislative staff and coordinated through Cornerstone Governmental Affairs.

I also want to thank all the other members of AUCD that have been responding to the calls for action and legislative alerts in this very busy legislative period. Your work is having a direct impact on the lives of people with disabilities, their families and those who work on their behalf. It is critical that we continue to educate policy makers about the needs we observe daily in our work and the potential impact of policies under consideration on the lives of people with disabilities. As always please feel free to send me your comments and suggestions.


Lu Zeph, AUCD Board President