Leslie Cohen, JD, Inducted as President of AUCD

December 4, 2013

Leslie Cohen, JD (right) accepts the gavel from outgoing AUCD President Julie Fodor, PhD at the 2013 AUCD Conference.
Leslie Cohen, JD (right) accepts the gavel from outgoing AUCD President Julie Fodor, PhD at the 2013 AUCD Conference.

The Association of University Centers on Disabilities welcomed Leslie Cohen, JD, as President of the Board of Directors at the AUCD 2013 Conference November 18-20 in Washington, DC. Ms. Cohen is Director of the Sonoran UCEDD at the University of Arizona and will serve as President of the AUCD Board for the 2013-2014 year.

The Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) is a membership organization that supports and promotes a national network of university-based interdisciplinary programs conducting research, training graduate students, and serving people with disabilities and their families. Network members include 67 University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), funded by the Administration on Intellectual Developmental Disabilities (AIDD), 43 Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Programs funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), 15 Developmental Disability Research Centers (IDDRC), most of which are funded by the National Institute for Child Health and Development (NICHD), and their faculty, staff, and fellows.

"AUCD is poised to be a national leader in creating meaningful change in the lives of people with developmental and other disabilities, and I am so pleased and honored to be part of its leadership," said Ms. Cohen. "Our strengths and expertise as a network in disability related research, education, model services and supports, and policy continues to grow." 

Located in every U.S. state and territory, AUCD members are all part of universities or medical centers. They serve as a bridge between the university and the community, bringing together the resources of both to achieve meaningful change.

Ms. Cohen graduated with a bachelor's degree from Washington University in St. Louis and a juris doctor degree from the University of New Mexico School of Law.  She practiced law in the area of civil litigation for many years in both the private and public sectors.  She brings to her Center and AUCD extensive experience in developmental disabilities advocacy and policy as well as broad based community connections with stakeholders in government agencies, self-advocacy and family groups, provider agencies and network partners. She is a member of the Advisory Council for the Institute for Human Development at Northern Arizona University; Board of Directors of the Primavera Foundation and Linkages Arizona.  Ms. Cohen is Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine and adjunct faculty at the Rogers College of Law, University of Arizona.

Ms. Cohen cited building on and expanding current network initiatives of increasing diversity and inclusion as some of the goals she has for the Board and Association in 2014. She was welcomed as President in a ceremony at the closing plenary of the AUCD 2013 Conference, "Promoting Inclusion in an Increasingly Diverse World."