Council on Leadership in Advocacy (COLA)



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The purpose of the Council on Leadership and Advocacy (COLA) is to enhance the Association of University Centers on Disabilities by fostering current and new leaders with lived experience of disability, including their family members, to promote leadership in their programs and communities. Council membership will expand to include directors, faculty, staff, and advisers at center programs, and CAC members.


How COLA Relates to AUCD and Its Work

COLA works to enhance AUCD by fostering and supporting current and new leaders with lived experience of disability, including their family members in order to promote this same leadership in their programs, communities, and regions, and to serve in liaison roles with local disability leadership. 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 UCEDD Consumer Advisory Committees.
  • 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 AUCD network centers and programs
  • People with disabilities and family members participate in program planning, research, and evaluation.



The Council on Leadership in Advocacy, also known as COLA, is made up of individuals with disabilities and family members from each AUCD network center and program. COLA members are involved in Community Advisory Councils at UCEDDs, AUCD Councils and Committees, AUCD Special Interest Groups, and other advocacy opportunities. Membership is open to anyone in the AUCD network. However, each center will designate an individual representative who will cast one vote when a matter before the Council requires such action.


2018 Focus Areas

The 2018 COLA annual plan has been drafted to align with the AUCD 2018 Strategic Map.


  • Diversity & Equity: Utilize network resources to support COLA membership.
  • Leadership: COLA membership champions and model diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Research: 1) Increase visibility of COLA within AUCD network; 2) COLA is an integral partner to strengthen network engagement and collaboration; 3) People with I/DD &/or family members lead or direct research within AUCD network.
  • Policy: COLA contributes to AUCD network policy, practices, and research.

COLA Leadership




Upcoming Events
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COCA Members

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Communication is Vital: Learn how the WI UCEDD is helping pave the way for intubated COVID-19 patients

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STEP UP Continues Engagement Virtually

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Paths Program

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School for Global Inclusion and Social Development / Asian American Studies

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OHSU UCEDD Research Team Featured by Bloomberg News

The Institute on Development & Disability at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) UCEDD research team specializing in Assistive Technology was featured by Bloomberg News for their groundbreaking Brain-Computer Interface work. The REKNEW lab, led by researcher and UCEDD Co-director, Melanie Fried-Oken, Ph.D., CCC/Sp, specializes in developing technology to address communication needs for people with severe disabilities, such as locked-in syndrome.



The Center for Leadership in Disability Hosts Positive Behavior Support Workshop for Caregivers

The Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD) in partnership with the Georgia Department of Public Health offered a series of Positive Behavior Support Parent Academies for caregivers of children aged three- to five-years-old who engaged in persistent, challenging behaviors. The Positive Behavior Support Parent Academy is facilitated over five in-person sessions and includes between-session assignments. Each session includes didactic content, hands-on activities, group discussions, and peer-to-peer support. This format allows families to connect with and support one another and build relationships with others in their communities.


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