VETERAN DISABILITY RIGHTS ADVOCATE TO FORM NEW POLICY SHOP AT UNITED CEREBRAL PALSY

CONTACTS:
Lauren Cozzi: 202-973-7114, LCozzi@ucp.org
Alicia Kubert Smith, 202-973-7168, akubertsmith@ucp.org
VETERAN DISABILITY RIGHTS ADVOCATE TO FORM NEW POLICY SHOP AT UNITED CEREBRAL PALSY
Garner joins UCP as Executive Vice President of Policy in late January
Washington, DC (February 6, 2012) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP), an international service provider and advocate for children and adults with a spectrum of disabilities, has appointed Connie Garner its new Executive Vice President for Public Policy. Garner assumes her new role on January 30, 2012.
Garner comes to UCP from Foley Hoag, where she served as Policy Director in the Government Strategies Practice Group, and as Executive Director of Advance CLASS, Inc., a position she will continue to hold while assuming her duties at UCP.
For 17 years prior to her work at Foley Hoag, Garner was Policy Director, Disability and Special Populations, to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee (HELP), where she served Chairman Harkin, Senator Dodd, and the late Senator Kennedy. In that role, she was the lead Democratic Committee architect for the CLASS Act, the major long-term care legislation that is part of health care reform; enactment of the landmark Mental Health Parity Act 2008; the 2006 and 2009 reauthorizations of the $2 billion Ryan White CARE Act; the Family Opportunity Act of 2006 and the 2005 reauthorization of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act  (IDEA), the Special Education Law; and the 1999 Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act.
Garner also served in the U.S. Department of Education, as Director of the Federal Interagency Coordinating Council for Children with Disabilities and the Secretary of Education’s principal liaison on all interagency health care matters, including health care reform.
“We are thrilled to welcome someone with Connie’s knowledge and experience to create a new policy operation for UCP,” said Stephen Bennett, UCP’s former President and Chief Executive Officer. “Connie has been at the center of some of the most important legislative advances for people with disabilities for more than two decades. She brings those experiences plus her sensibility as a nurse and a mother of a child with a disability to UCP as she helps us craft the strongest possible advocacy platform for people with disabilities in the nation.”
Garner has been tasked with creating a fresh approach to public policy and advocacy for UCP, one that combines traditional federal-level advocacy with grassroots work at the state level and creating tools for self-advocates to have stronger voices in their own communities. She has been serving as a UCP policy consultant for the past year, helping to create a new strategic plan for UCP’s work in the policy and advocacy arena.”
“I have had the privilege of visiting with UCP affiliates across the nation for the past year, listening to the ways that laws, regulations and health care systems are impacting people with disabilities in communities across America,” Garner said. “UCP is unique, with its focus on helping people with disabilities and their families transition through major moments in life. I look forward to working with UCP, its affiliates and its partners to amplify their voices here in Washington and beyond.”
Prior to her work with the Federal government, Garner provided clinical nurse specialist services in both urban and rural public health settings as well as inpatient hospital settings, and managed several large maternal-child health inpatient hospital units in both Philadelphia and the Washington, DC area. She continues to work as a practicing nurse on a monthly basis.
Garner has a B.S. in Nursing (University of Pennsylvania, 1979) and M.S. in Nursing (George Mason University, 1982), an Ed.S. in Special Education (George Washington University, 2000), and her Doctoral work is in both Health and Education Public Policy (George Washington University, 2001). She is also certified as a Pediatric and Neonatal Nurse Practitioner.
About United Cerebral Palsy
United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) educates, advocates and provides support services to ensure a life without limits for people with a spectrum of disabilities. Together with nearly 100 affiliates, UCP has a mission to advance the independence, productivity and full citizenship of people with disabilities by supporting more than 176,000 children and adults every day—one person at a time, one family at a time. UCP works to enact real change—to revolutionize care, raise standards of living and create opportunities—impacting the lives of millions living with disabilities. For more than 60 years, UCP has worked to ensure the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in every facet of society. Together, with parents and caregivers, UCP will continue to push for the social, legal and technological changes that increase accessibility and independence, allowing people with disabilities to dream their own dreams, for the next 60 years, and beyond. For more information, please visit www.ucp.org.
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