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Community Living for All: Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of the Olmstead Decision

June 20, 2019

Please join the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living and Office for Civil Rights on Tuesday, June 25, 2019 from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. for a celebration of a historic victory for inclusion and community living. 

You are invited to join us at the Barbara Jordan Conference Center in Washington, DC (near Metro Center) or watch live online.

Please RSVP to attend in person at

If you cannot attend in person, you can register here to watch the event via livestreaming.

Follow the event on Facebook or Twitter at ACLgov or #Olmstead.

Guests will hear about the importance of Olmstead from people with disabilities who will share some of their own experiences. The event also will feature remarks from HHS leaders and national experts who will discuss the impact of Olmstead for individuals with disabilities and the future of inclusive communities — including universal design, livable communities, and strategies for planning for and adapting to changing individual needs. 

Registration is required and space is limited. CART and ASL interpreters will be provided and additional accommodations can be requested when you RSVP. 

If you have any questions, please contact us at

We hope to see you there!


Event Materials

Event Program

Background on Olmstead

Amy Hewitt presentation slides:

Speaker Bios

Julie Hocker, Commissioner, Administration on Disabilities, Administration for Community Living (ACL), HHS

Julie Hocker joined ACL as the Commissioner of the Administration on Disabilities on October 1, 2018. Hocker brings to the role extensive experience in operational process improvement, risk management, and effectiveness assessment. 

Ms. Hocker joins ACL from the Charles Koch Foundation, where has served as a senior manager since 2016. In that role, she has led several key initiatives to improve the foundation’s operations, including development of an integrated technology and data solution for fundraising, grantmaking and expenditures; redesigning process to improve investment tracking and enable better analysis of effectiveness; and creation and implementation of risk-management processes. 

Previously, she served in a variety of roles with The Vanguard Group and as an analyst for the Administration for Children and Families. In addition, she has been a senior policy fellow for the Center for Human Dignity at the American Conservative Union Foundation since 2015. Ms. Hocker earned an undergraduate degree in economics and political science from St. Mary's College of Maryland and Master of Business Administration from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Roger Severino, Director, Office for Civil Rights, HHS

Roger Severino is the Director of the Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Prior to joining the Department, Mr. Severino served as Director of the DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society in the Institute for Family, Community, and Opportunity at The Heritage Foundation.

Before joining Heritage in 2015, Mr. Severino was a trial attorney for seven years in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division where he enforced the Fair Housing Act, the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, and Title II and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

He has litigated cases under sex, race, national origin, religion, disability, and familial status discrimination and served as the Housing and Civil Enforcement Section's E-discovery officer as well as attorney advisor to the fair housing testing program.

Mr. Severino was previously chief operations officer and legal counsel for the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty.

Mr. Severino holds a J.D. from Harvard Law School, received a master’s degree in public policy, with highest distinction, from Carnegie Mellon University, and has a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Southern California, where he was a National Merit Scholar.

Eric Hargan, Deputy Secretary, HHS

Eric D. Hargan is the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). HHS is dedicated to promoting and enhancing the health and well-being of the American people, and as the largest department in the federal government has an annual budget in excess of $1.3 trillion and over 80,000 employees across 26 divisions. As Deputy Secretary, he is the Chief Operating Officer and is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations and management of the department in addition to leading policy and strategy development.

Mr. Hargan was sworn into office as Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services on October 6, 2017. He immediately served as Acting Secretary of HHS from October 2017 to January 2018.

From 2003 to 2007, Mr. Hargan served at HHS in a variety of capacities, including holding the position of Acting Deputy Secretary. During his tenure at HHS, Mr. Hargan also served as the Department’s Regulatory Policy Officer, where he oversaw the development and approval of all HHS, CMS, and FDA regulations and significant guidances.

He received his B.A. cum laude from Harvard University, and his J.D. from Columbia University Law School, where he was Senior Editor of the Columbia Law Review. In between his tours of duty at HHS Mr. Hargan taught at Loyola Law School in Chicago, focusing on administrative law and healthcare regulations.

Mr. Hargan was born and raised in Mounds, Illinois, a small town of approximately 800 located in the southern county of Pulaski. He currently lives in Virginia with his wife and their two sons.

Amy Hewitt, Director, Institute for Community Integration, University of Minnesota

Amy Hewitt, PhD, has an extensive background and work history in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities and has worked in various positions over the past 30+ years to improve community inclusion and quality of life for children and adults with disabilities and their families. At the University of Minnesota, she is the director of the Institute on Community Integration. Dr. Hewitt directs several federal and state research, evaluation and demonstration projects in the area of community long-term services and supports for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism. She currently has research projects that focus on community living, autism, outcome measurement, direct support workforce development, person centered planning/thinking and positive behavior support. Dr. Hewitt has authored and co-authored numerous journal articles, curriculum, technical reports, and she co-authored books entitled, Staff Recruitment, Retention and Training and Critical Issues in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: Contemporary Research, Practice and Policy and a soon-to-be-published book called, Community for All: Community Living and Participation for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Dr. Hewitt is on the editorial board of Inclusion and an associate editor of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, both journals of the AAIDD. She is a past president of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) and is the vice president of the board of directors for the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, and a past board member of Arc Minnesota. Dr. Hewitt earned a BS in political science and psychology at Indiana University; a Master's degree in social work at Indiana University; and a PhD in social work at the University of Minnesota.

Melissa Harris, Acting Deputy Director, Disabled and Elderly Health Programs Group, Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, HHS

Melissa Harris has been with CMS since the summer of 1995, and is currently the Acting Deputy Director for the Disabled and Elderly Health Programs Group (DEHPG). Prior to this role, Melissa was a Senior Policy Advisor in DEHPG, developing and implementing a myriad of policies advancing home and community-based services as an alternative to institutional placement.

Before joining the Office of the Group Director, she was the Director of the Division of Benefits and Coverage from 2012 to 2015, in which she was responsible for overseeing implementation of most Medicaid benefits, including benefits provided to individuals in the Medicaid expansion population, and the establishment of national benefit policy.

Kimberly Tissot, CEO/Executive Director, Able SC

Kimberly Tissot is the CEO/Executive Director of Able SC, a Center for Independent Living based out of Columbia, SC and provides services to over half of the state. She guides the staff in applying the philosophy of independent living to real-life situations. Under Kimberly’s leadership, Able SC has experienced consecutive years of growth and success. Kimberly holds a Bachelor of Science degree in human development from Boston University, Wheelock College of Education and a Master of Social Work from the University of South Carolina. Kimberly has developed several innovative independent living and disability rights programs to reach all populations. In 2017, Kimberly led the efforts in the passing of progressive legislation in South Carolina, “Persons with Disabilities Right to Parent Act” and in 2018, the SC Employment First Initiative Study Committee. Kimberly mentors other Centers for Independent Living across the nation due to her marked success in the field. She also serves as an Executive Director mentor to other South Carolina nonprofit organizations via the state’s nonprofit association. In addition to Kimberly’s role at Able SC, she is Governor appointed to the SC Statewide Independent Living Council; appointed by the SC House Speaker of the House of Representative to serve on the SC Employment First Study Committee; appointed by the SC State Superintendent of Education to the SC Advisory Council on the Education of Students with Disabilities where she serves as Chair; and serves on the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living’s Board of Directors; co-chairs the National Council on Independent Living’s (NCIL) ADA and Civil Rights Committee, as well as co-chairs the NCIL Parenting Rights Task Force.

Kayla McKeon, Manager of Grassroots Advocacy, National Down Syndrome Society

Kayla is the Manager of Grassroots Advocacy for the National Down Syndrome Society. She resides in Syracuse, New York. Kayla is a Special Olympics athlete and Ambassador. In 2011, she competed in the Special Olympic World games in Athens, Greece winning a silver and gold medal in International competition. Kayla attends Onondaga Community College, where she has successfully completed 40 credits toward her Associates degree. She is active in her church and an avid reader. Kayla is the 2016 recipient of the National Down Syndrome Society Self Advocate of the Year award and a member of the National Down Syndrome Self Advocacy Advisory Board. Prior to joining the NDSS team, she interned for Congressman John Katko (R-NY). Kayla is best known as the first registered lobbyist with Down Syndrome.

Elizabeth Weintraub, Senior Advocacy Specialist, Association of University Centers on Disabilities

Liz Weintraub has a long history of leadership in self advocacy, and has held many board and advisory positions at state and national organizations. Liz is the Senior Advocacy Specialist. And a full time member of the AUCD's policy team and also the host of Tuesdays With Liz: Disability Policy For All, where she attempts to make polices in accessible language so policies is accessible to all.

Liz also had a fellowship with Senator Casey of Pennsylvania.

Prior to coming to AUCD, Liz worked for the Council on Quality & Leadership (CQL). Liz is a past trainee alumni from Georgia State University. Liz was a past chair of the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council. Liz received the Dr. Cathy Pratt award for Professional of the Year award.

Eric Dreiband, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division, Department of Justice

Eric S. Dreiband currently serves as the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice.

Before arriving at the Justice Department, Mr. Dreiband was a partner at a major international law firm.

Mr. Dreiband also served as the general counsel of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). He directed the federal government's litigation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and several other federal employment antidiscrimination laws. He also issued the Regional Attorneys' Manual, which established the policies of EEOC's litigation program.

Prior to his EEOC service, Mr. Dreiband also served as deputy administrator of the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division. He directed the federal government's enforcement of the Fair Labor Standards Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and other laws.

From 1997 to 2000, Mr. Dreiband served in the Office of Independent Counsel Kenneth W. Starr.

Mr. Dreiband received his law degree with honors, from Northwestern University of Law, a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School, and his undergraduate degree from Princeton University. After graduating from law school, he spent two years as a law clerk to the Honorable William J. Bauer of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.

Lance Robertson, ACL Administrator, HHS

Lance Robertson was appointed to serve as Assistant Secretary for Aging and ACL's Administrator on August 11, 2017.

His vision for ACL focuses on five pillars: supporting families and caregivers, protecting rights and preventing abuse, connecting people to resources, expanding employment opportunities, and strengthening the aging and disability networks.

His leadership in the fields of aging and disability began in Oklahoma, where he served for 10 years as the Director of Aging Services within the state’s Department of Human Services. Prior to that, he spent 12 years at Oklahoma State University, where he co-founded the Gerontology Institute and served as the executive director of the nation's largest regional gerontology association.

Asst. Sec. Robertson earned his undergraduate degree from Oklahoma State University and a master of public administration degree from the University of Central Oklahoma, and he is a veteran of the United States Army.


On June 22, 1999, the Supreme Court ruled in Olmstead v. L.C. that unjustified segregation of people with disabilities is a form of unlawful discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The ADA was the result of decades of efforts by disability rights advocates to raise awareness of the injustices and prejudice the disability community so often experienced, change public perceptions of disability, and demand the full rights of citizenship.  Since 1990, the law has improved access to businesses, public spaces, transportation, communication, and employment and protected people with disabilities from discrimination.

The Olmstead decision required states to ensure that people with disabilities can receive services in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs, thereby opening the doors to community inclusion and integration for even more people with disabilities.


Last modified on 10/29/2020

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