For Immediate Release - July 22, 2015

Attorney General Healey announces creation of disability rights advisory committee

Group Will Advise AG and Staff on Issues and Policy; Announcement Part of ADA’s 25th Anniversary Celebration

BOSTON – Continuing her efforts to protect civil rights of all Massachusetts residents, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today the formation of a Disability Rights Advisory Committee as part of the events celebrating the 25th anniversary for the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The committee will be comprised of advocates and experts that will meet on a regular basis to consult with and advise AG Healey and her staff on matters pertaining to inclusion, access, and equality for individuals with disabilities.

“My office is committed to expanding opportunities and enhancing inclusion for individuals with disabilities,” AG Healey said. “I thank the members of the committee for their willingness to work collaboratively with us. I know that our work will be more effective and better informed by direct and regular contact with the advocates who understand these issues intimately.”

The committee will include individuals with a range of backgrounds and experiences, including individuals with hearing, mobility and visual impairments. Their expertise also covers numerous areas of psycho-social disability work from developmental and cognitive impairments to mental illnesses and behavioral health. Some of the members are long-time advocates in the field with a breadth of expertise, while others represent more specialized interests such as architectural access, youth, veterans, and technology.

“I applaud the Attorney General for her long-standing commitment to disability rights,” said Christine Griffin, Executive Director of the Disability Law Center. “I am honored to be serving on this advisory committee and look forward to working closely with the Attorney General to advance the work of the Office on behalf of individuals with disabilities and their families.”

“The Attorney General’s actions speak volumes about her commitment to helping individuals with disabilities,” said Charles Carr, former Commissioner of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission. “I am excited by the opportunity to work with her and this advisory committee. I know that the AG can help make a real and powerful difference in the lives of so many people.”

“As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the ADA, I want to personally thank Attorney General Maura Healey for her outstanding leadership and authentic commitment to the values and mission of the ADA,” said Chris Palames, Executive Director of Independent Living Resources. “I congratulate her wholeheartedly on the action she has taken today in forming the advisory committee to work with the Office to make real the promise of equal rights, empowerment, inclusion and economic opportunity.” 

            Committee members include:

  • Bob Agoglia: President of the Board of Directors of the Center for Public Representation
  • Ann Morrissey Andrew: Volunteer with Decoding Dyslexia and Member of Orton Gillingham Academy
  • Myra Berloff: former Director of the Massachusetts Office on Disability
  • Charles Carr: former Commissioner of the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission
  • Kim Charlson: President of the American Council of the Blind and Director of the Perkins Braille and Talking Book Library
  • Colleen Flanagan: Youth Services Coordinator for Easter Seals
  • Christine Griffin: Executive Director of the Disability Law Center
  • Bill Henning: Executive Director of the Boston Center for Independent Living
  • Kirk Joslin: President and CEO of Easter Seals Massachusetts
  • Jeffrey Keilson: Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning at Advocates
  • Daniel Magoon: Executive Director of Massachusetts Fallen Heroes
  • Laurie Martinelli: Executive Director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Massachusetts
  • Jacqueline Martinez: Mental Health Coordinator for the Dept. of Mental Health, member of the Board of Directors for the Transformation Center
  • Chris Palames: Executive Director of Independent Living Resources
  • Laura Rauscher: Director of Disability Services at Smith College
  • Amy Ruell: President of the National Federation of the Blind of Massachusetts
  • Leo Sarkissian: Executive Director of The Arc of Massachusetts
  • Paul Spooner: Executive Director of the Metrowest Center for Independent Living
  • Laura Stout: Director of Contract Operations and President of the Empowering Abilities Employee Resource Group at Blue Cross Blue Shield Massachusetts
  • Vincent Strully, Jr.: CEO and Founder of the The New England Center for Children
  • Michael Weekes: President and CEO of the Providers’ Council
  • John Winske: Executive Director of Disability Policy Consortium
  • B.J. Wood: former Commissioner of Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing