NCD Council Members
The Council Members of NCD live across the country and each brings a unique perspective informed by varied personal and professional experiences. Council Members are people with disabilities, parents or guardians of people with disabilities, or other people who have substantial knowledge or experience of disability policy or programs. NCD Council Members are appointed to represent people with disabilities, national organizations concerned with disabilities, providers and administrators of services to people with disabilities, people engaged in conducting medical or scientific research related to disabilities, business concerns, and labor organizations. A majority of NCD Council Members are people with disabilities.
Jeff Rosen is a third generation deaf person active in the disability movement. Mr. Rosen is the General Counsel and Chief Strategic Officer for Convo Relay, a company that provides video interpreting services and products. Prior to joining Convo, Mr. Rosen served as the General Counsel to ZVRS from 2011 until 2014 and as the General Counsel and Vice President of Government Relations of Snap!VRS from 2007 until 2011. Previously, he served as the General Counsel and Director of Policy for the National Council on Disability from 2000 to 2007. He was an attorney at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from 1987 to 2000. Mr. Rosen is a Board Member of the United States International Council on Disabilities, a Member of the National Association of the Deaf Employment Task Force, and serves as an advisor to the World Federation of the Deaf. Mr. Rosen attended Gallaudet University and received a B.A. and a J.D. from the University of Washington.
Katherine D. Seelman, Ph.D. is associate dean of disability programs and professor of rehabilitation science and technology at the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Pittsburgh. She holds secondary appointments in the School of Public Health and the Center for Bioethics, an adjunct position at Xian Jiatong University, China and is senior policy adviser for the National Science Foundation-supported Quality of Life Technology Engineering Research Center. She was the recipient of the University of Pittsburgh Chancellor’s Distinguished Service Award in 2007. Dr. Seelman, who is hard-of-hearing, serves as adviser to the University’s Students for Disability Advocacy and is co-chair of the City of Pittsburgh-Allegheny County Task Force on Disability. She was one of two from the U.S. serving on the World Health Organization’s 9-member international editorial committee to guide the development of the first World Report on Disability and presented a chapter of the Report, for which she was a principal author, in 2011 at the United Nations. During the Clinton Administration, she served for seven years as the Director of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research in Washington, D.C. She is widely published and the recipient of many awards.
Royal P. Walker, Jr., recently retired after 22 years of service as associate director then executive director of the Institute for Disability Studies at The University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. Upon retirement, Mr. Walker has joined the private sector. Mr. Walker was the first executive director of the Gaming Commission of the Mississippi State Tax Commission from 1991 to 1992, and director of the Division of Budget and Policy Development at the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration from 1990 to 1991. Walker is a past president and Outstanding Achievement Award recipient of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, a past chair of the Mississippi March of Dimes, and former vice president of Family Voices of Mississippi. He has served on the board of directors of the American Task Force for the Homeless, the Governor’s Interagency Coordinating Council for Children with Special Needs, and the Mississippi Council on Developmental Disabilities. He received a B.A. from Jackson State University and a J.D. from the Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University.
Mr. Blumenthal is the President and CEO for the Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers (ADDP), which aims to promote and ensure the health of the community-based organizations that provide supports and services for individuals with developmental disabilities. He also served as the Executive Director for the Alta California Regional Center, which oversees service delivery for children and adults with developmental disabilities in the Sacramento region. Previously, Mr. Blumenthal was the Wichita Regional Director for the Kansas State Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services, CEO for the Florida State Protection and Advocacy Programs for People with Developmental Disabilities, and Director of the President's Committee on Mental Retardation during the Clinton administration. Mr. Blumenthal was also a member of the Kansas State House of Representatives for 11 years. He was an American Government teacher in the Shawnee Mission Public Schools in Overland Park, Kansas for 12 years. Mr. Blumenthal a graduate of the University of Kansas, Lawrence and the University of Missouri, Kansas City.
Chester Finn of New York is a Special Assistant in the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities, a position he has held since 1997. He was first appointed to the National Council on Disability by President Obama in 2010. In 2008, Mr. Finn, who is blind and developmentally disabled, co-founded the Community Empowerment Programs Incorporated, which provides community services and educational programing for people with disabilities. He served as President and Chairman of the National Self Advocates Becoming Empowered from 2002 to 2006 and then again from 2009 to 2011. In 1995, he received the New York State Self Advocate of the Year Award. Mr. Finn received an A.A. from Genessee Community College.
Ms. Gelser currently serves as State Representative for the citizens of Corvallis and Philomath in the Oregon State House of Representatives. The youngest woman in the Oregon State Legislature, she also serves as Assistant Majority Leader and chairs the House Education Committee. Previously Ms. Gelser served as the Children with Disabilities and Family Support Coordinator for the Oregon State Department of Human Services. Additionally, she served as a regional coordinator for the Oregon Parent Training and Information Center, where she provided training to parents, educators and administrators about the implementation of special education law. Ms. Gelser is the founder of the FG Syndrome Family Alliance, a non-profit organization serving families and medical professionals dealing with FG Syndrome, a rare developmental disability. Ms. Gelser and her husband Peter have three daughters, Ellie, Nicole, and Maia, and they have a teenaged son, Sam, who has FG Syndrome.
Captain Jonathan Kuniholm is the President and Founder of the Open Prosthetics Project, and the Founder of StumpworX, Inc., a prosthetic arm manufacturing company. Captain Kuniholm served in the United States Marine Corps from 1997 to 2006. He served as a combat engineer officer and platoon commander for the 1st Marine Division in Operation Iraqi Freedom II. In 2006, he was honorably discharged after being wounded in combat and losing his right forearm. He is a Member of the Board of the Given Limb Foundation, and is an advisor and past Chair of the Board of Able Flight. In 2009, he received the DESIGNsmith award from North Carolina State University, and received a fellowship from the National Science Foundation’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship Program in 2003. Mr. Kuniholm received an A.B. from Dartmouth College, and a B.S., M.S., and M.I.D. from North Carolina State University.
San Francisco, CA
Janice Lehrer-Stein is a member of the Board of Directors of Medical Research Charities -- a national federation of research focused non-profits, which solicits and directs employee donations to the Combined Federal and State Campaigns. She is a National Trustee of the Foundation Fighting Blindness and was Chair of the 2010 and 2011 Dining in the Dark dinner in San Francisco, which increased awareness about people with blindness and low vision. A board member of Disability Rights Advocates, a non-profit law firm working to improve access and secure the civil rights of individuals with disabilities, Lehrer-Stein holds a Juris Doctor degree from University of Toronto and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Yale. She was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa in 1982 and is legally blind.
Kamilah Oni Martin-Proctor is the founder and Executive Director of the Martin Multiple Sclerosis Alliance Foundation (MMSAF). Mrs. Martin-Proctor was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis when she was sixteen. She founded the MMSAF in 2004 in an effort to promote symptom awareness and education about Multiple Sclerosis in historically under represented and underserved populations. Prior to this, she was a Program Administrator for the Charles B. Rangel International Affairs Program at Howard University since 2003. Mrs. Martin-Proctor worked for the District of Columbia’s Government Neighborhood Services Initiative from 2000 until 2002. She has worked as a Staff Assistant and Legislative Correspondent for Congresswoman Shelia Jackson Lee and also as an Executive Assistant in Senator Robert Menendez’s office. Mrs. Martin-Proctor received a B.A. in Political Science and an M.A. in Organizational and Cultural Communication from Howard University.
Silver Spring, MD
Mr. Ne'eman is the President and co-founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, an advocacy organization run by and for Autistic adults seeking to increase the representation of Autistic people across society. He serves as Entitlements Committee Chair for the Council. In his policy work, Ari has worked on a wide variety of disability rights related legislation relating to education, transition, employment, rights protection and other areas. Ari also served as a public member of the Inter-Agency Autism Coordinating Committee, a Federal advisory committee that coordinates all efforts within the Department of Health and Human Services concerning autism, from April 2010-2012. Previously, Ari served as Vice Chair of the New Jersey Adults with Autism Task Force, where he represented autistic adults in reviewing the state's autism services. He also served on the New Jersey Special Education Review Commission, where he authored a minority report on the topic of aversives, restraint and seclusion.
Benro T. Ogunyipe is an Accessibility Specialist for the Illinois Department of Human Services (DHS), a position he has held since 2004. In his capacity of the position, he directs and administers the program activities with special emphasis on Titles I-IV of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), as amended and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act at the DHS Bureau of Accessibility and Job Accommodation in Chicago. He also serves as a bureau legislative liaison and communications access trainer. He is a frequent presenter of sessions at national, regional, and state conferences on the topic of employment rights and responsibilities of deaf and hard of hearing individuals under the provisions of Title I of the ADA. He served as President of the National Black Deaf Advocates, Inc. from 2011 to 2013, and served as Vice President and Chairman of the Board from 2007 to 2011. He was a Commissioner and Vice Chair of the Illinois Deaf and Hard of Hearing Commission from 2007 to 2012. Mr. Ogunyipe received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Gallaudet University and a Master of Public Administration (M.P.A.) from the School of Public Service at DePaul University.
Stephanie Orlando is the Director of YOUTH POWER! of Families Together in New York State, a state advocacy network comprised of young people with disabilities with experience in state child-serving systems. After receiving children's mental health, special education and residential services herself, Ms. Orlando has become a strong advocate for youth with disabilities on county, state and national levels. Beginning in 2006, she served a term as Chairperson of the Youth Advisory Committee to the National Council on Disability. Ms. Orlando serves on the New York State Commissioners' Committee on Cross-Systems Services for Children & Youth, the New York State Commissioner's Advisory Panel for Special Education Services, the New York Mental Health Services Planning Council, and the Board of Directors of the Children's Mental Health Coalition of Western New York. She received the Diana Vietz Award in 2008 from the National Council on Independent Living, the mpower Award in 2006 from Mental Health America (formerly National Mental Health Association) and the 2004 Erie County Executive Award for Disability Employment Awareness Month. Ms. Orlando earned her Bachelor of Arts in 2005 from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Lynnae Ruttledge is a disability policy advisor to an Irish-based international research institute, DOCTRID (Daughters of Charity, Technology Research Into Disability). Ms. Ruttledge served as Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration with the U.S. Department of Education from 2010 to 2012. From 2005 to 2009, she served as the Director of the Washington Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. Previously, Ms. Ruttledge held executive level leadership positions in the Oregon Department of Human Services, Office of Vocational Rehabilitation Services. Committed to international diplomacy and goodwill, she has been affiliated with Mobility International USA since 1988. In 2000, Ms. Ruttledge was honored with the Governor's Award as Disabled Oregonian of the Year. In 2007, she received the Washington Governor’s Award for Leadership in Management. Ms. Ruttledge received a Bachelor of Science degree from Northern Michigan University.
Clyde E. Terry is the Chief Executive Officer of Granite State Independent Living in Concord, NH. Previously, Terry was the Executive Director of the New Hampshire Developmental Disabilities Council. His work has included spearheading a national coalition of disability organizations on election reform and election accessibility. In this role, he co-authored "Voters Denied Equal Access at the Polls; A Status Report of the Accessibility of Polling Places in the United States" in 2001. Terry received his B.S. from Emerson College and his J.D. from the Franklin Pierce Law Center, now the University Of New Hampshire School of Law.
San Francisco, California
Alice Wong is a Staff Research Associate for the Community Living Policy Center at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). The Center is focused on identifying methods of improving the long-term services and support (LTSS) system in the states, improving data collection on community living policy, and developing a strategic plan for community living research. She is an Advisory Board Member of Asians and Pacific Islanders with Disabilities of California (APIDC) and served as Vice Chair of the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Disability Issues at UCSF from 2006 to 2009. She received the Mayor’s Disability Council Beacon Award in 2010, the 2010 Chancellor’s Disability Service Award, and the 2007 Martin Luther King, Jr. Award at UCSF for leadership on behalf of the disability community. Ms. Wong received a B.A. from Indiana University-Indianapolis and an M.S. from the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of California, San Francisco.