Washington, D.C. (June 25, 2011) – Today, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the nation’s largest cross-disability organization, announced the election of five new board members: Merrill Friedman, Stephen Bennett, Jeff Kramer, Christine Griffin, and Deborah L. Rice. Ms. Friedman is vice president of Advocacy for Amerigroup. She also serves as Board Chair of the Michigan Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC), serves on the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary’s Long-Term Care Reform Committee, and the Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Secretary’s Blueprint for Livable Communities Citizen Advisory Group.
Stephen Bennett is President and CEO of United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), a partner and ally in AAPDs civil rights mission. His commitment to public interest work spans three decades, and he has a track record of success in business development, strategic planning, financial management, marketing, event production, and local and national public policy.
Jeff Kramer coordinates public policy initiatives and directs national third party relationships with the senior, disability, and consumer organizations for Verizon Communications. Mr. Kramer played a prominent role in leading to the passage of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act in 2010. He worked to create the National Do Not Call Registry in 2003.
Christine M. Griffin is the Assistant Secretary for Disability Policies and Programs for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services. She is responsible for overseeing the Department of Developmental Services, the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission, the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind, the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and the Soldiers’ Homes in Chelsea and Holyoke. Additionally, she has cross-Secretariat responsibility for disability related policies and programs.
Deborah Rice is Division President of Health Services and Executive Vice President for Highmark Inc. In this role, she is responsible for providing senior leadership and strategic direction for Highmark’s core health insurance business.
“These leaders bring passion, experience, and talent to AAPDs civil rights work. “Said AAPD President and CEO Mark Periello.”
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The American Association of People with Disabilities is a convener, connector, and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power of people with disabilities.