Lifting Your Voice Through Leadership and Advocacy: Building Community Capacity Through Training and Education

Lifting Your Voice Through Leadership and Advocacy: Building Community Capacity Through Training and Education

Archived Recording
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Tuesday, October 3, 2017
2:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. ET
Location: Webinar

Webinar Descriptions:

The expression, "Nothing About Us Without Us," has been a message often voiced by the disability rights movement to be involved in decisions that affect the lives of people with disabilities (Charlton, 1998). In order to make this expression a reality, the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, along with other national organizations, has placed a focus on increasing leadership and advocacy efforts on the part of individuals with the "lived experience" of disability within and beyond its network. The COLA has assisted AUCD in supporting and enhancing disability leadership and advocacy efforts in the state and localities. In order to further promote leadership primarily on the part of individuals with disabilities but also family members in the network, COLA completed a national survey on AUCD network advocacy activities, researched advocacy focused programs in the network and offered recommendations to the AUCD Leadership and Network.

A Webinar from AUCD's Community Education and Dissemination Council (CEDC)

Webinar Descriptions:

  1. Learn about AUCD network programs that are utilizing the talents of people with disabilities and family members as community educators to deliver community education opportunities for increasing leadership capacity.
  2. Be provided specific recommendations to increase people with disabilities and family in community education efforts in network programs. 
  3. Be introduced to the most recent COLA Paper, "Nothing About Us Without Us: Increasing Leadership Opportunities Through Advocacy for People with Disabilities."


Mark Smith, M.S., an Omaha native, joined the Munroe-Meyer Institute (MMI) in January, 2003 as its Consumer/Family Coordinator. MMI is the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC). He currently serves as an Assistant Professor in the University Center grant program. Mark's educational experience includes earning Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Psychology from the University of Nebraska. He is also the parent of and sibling to family members with intellectual/developmental disabilities. Mark has over 40 years' experience in the Disabilities field.

Mark has been involved in disability-related systems change and program development activities in Nebraska and nationally as the Institute representative and advisor to numerous organizations and efforts, including the Executive Board of the Division for Early Childhood of the Council for Exceptional Children; the Board of the Association of University Centers; federal task forces and standing committees; as a technical advisor on Early Intervention policy and family-centered practices to the Nebraska Department of Education; and as Institute representative to the Nebraska Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities.

Mark has also conducted trainings and presentations to a variety of audiences on disability leadership, advocacy, Special Education and inclusion, parenting children with disabilities, addressing behavior problems, and law enforcement and developmental disabilities. He is also published in peer-reviewed Journals, particularly centering on topics involving the lived experience of disability, and has authored numerous white papers, policy briefs, and other scholarly papers.

Jack Brandt is the Disability Policy Specialist for the Partnership for People with Disabilities at Virginia Commonwealth University, a position he has held since 2010. Mr. Brandt was a Disability Rights Advocate at the Virginia Office for Protection and Advocacy from 2008 to 2010, and a Disability Policy Consultant for the State of Virginia from 2006 to 2008. He was also a Virginia Governor's Fellow at the Office of Community Integration for People with Disabilities in 2006.

Mr. Brandt has served on the Virginia Community Integration Advisory Commission and the Virginia Statewide Independent Living Council. He received the Colorado Award from the Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitation Services in 2013, the Participatory Act ion Research Award from The Arc of the U.S. in 2012, and the Jackie Crews Award for Excellence in Leadership from the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities in 2006. Since 2016, he has served as the Co-Chair of the Council on Community Advocacy within the Association of University Centers on Disabilities. Mr. Brandt was first appointed as a member of the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities in 2010 and he was appointed Chairman in 2016. Mr. Brandt received a B.A. from James Madison University and an M.S. from Virginia Commonwealth University.


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