Public Policy update

PI-GRO staff presented a symposium on women with disabilities and helped replace offensive language in federal law

By Stefanie Reeves, MA

 Stefanie Reeves, MA, CAEPI-GRO Symposium at Inequity to Equity Conference

In October 2011, PI-GRO staff presented a symposium entitled, “Using Public Policy to Promote the Health and Well-Being of Women with Disabilities” at the Inequity to Equity: Promoting the Health and Wellness of Women with Disabilities Conference at Gallaudet University in Washington, DC. The conference was sponsored by APA, Howard University’s Women’s Health Institute, and Gallaudet. The session highlighted key successes in the disability and women’s rights movements as well as APA’s work on federal policy initiatives of relevance to women with disabilities.

Advocacy Success: Rosa’s Law

PI-GRO worked with Division 33 (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities) in developing positions on advocacy activities that aim to replace references to “mentally defective” and “mental retardation” in federal law with language that is less stigmatizing and reflects the current state of knowledge in the fields of mental health and disability. In September 2010, that joint effort let to successful passage of Rosa’s Law (P.L. 111-256), which replaces the term “mental retardation” with “intellectual disability” in federal laws.

Get Involved!

There are a number of ways to get involved with advocacy through APA’s Public interest Government Relations Office including:

  • Sharing research and clinical expertise with policymakers

  • Attending an advocacy workshop and advocacy day

  • Participating in state/district visits with policymakers

  • Testifying or presenting at congressional hearings or briefings

  • Applying for a fellowship or internship in Washington, DC

APA hosts the Public Policy Advocacy Network (PPAN) which allows APA members to take action on the important legislative issues of the day. We encourage you to learn more about PPAN or sign up to receive our alerts.