The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID)

It is estimated that between seven and eight million Americans of all ages, or 3% of the general population, experience intellectual disabilities. Nearly one in ten families in the U.S. are directly affected by a person with intellectual disabilities at some point in their lifetimes.

In 1966, President Lyndon B. Johnson established The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID), formerly The President's Committee on Mental Retardation, to ensure the right of a “decent, dignified place in society” for people with intellectual disabilities. Since that time, PCPID has served as a federal advisor to the President and the Secretary of Health and Human Services on matters relating to persons with intellectual disabilities.

PCPID promotes policies and initiatives that support independence and lifelong community inclusion. ACL provides oversight and support for PCPID.

As an advisory committee, PCPID does not receive an appropriation from Congress to administer federal funds. Thus, it does not administer grants nor does it provide financial or technical assistance to individuals, groups, agencies, or organizations.


PCPID aims to provide advice and assistance to the President of the U.S. and the Secretary of Health and Human Services on a broad range of topics that impact people with intellectual disabilities as well as the field of intellectual disabilities. The foundation of this mission is a goal to improve the quality of life experienced by people with intellectual disabilities by upholding their full citizenship rights, independence, self-determination, and lifelong participation in their  communities.

Membership and Activities

The PCPID has 21 members: 8 citizens, and 13 ex officio (federal government) members. A maximum of 21 citizen members is allowed. Citizen members are appointed by the President and serve for a maximum of two years. A variety of individuals are appointed as citizen members, including parents of individuals with intellectual disabilities, scientists and professionals from the field, community and business representatives, and systems advocates.

The 13 government members include the secretaries of the Departments of Health and Human Services, Education, Labor, Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, Transportation, the Interior, and Homeland Security; the U.S. Attorney General; the President and CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service; the Chairs of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and National Council on Disability; and the Commissioner of the Social Security Administration. PCPID is also supported by a team of federal employees.

Formal meetings are held at least twice per fiscal year and the Committee convenes informally throughout the year. In addition, PCPID is mandated to submit an annual report to the President. This report is the vehicle through which members provide advice and recommendations pertaining to intellectual disabilities.

Citizen Members

Chris G. Neeley, Chair

Chris G. Neeley was nominated and appointed Chairman of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID) by President Donald J. Trump in 2018.

Neeley is currently the Executive Director of the Meyer Center for Special Children in Greenville, SC where he leads one of the oldest non-profit schools in the United States that provides an inclusive developmental education and therapy services for children with special needs.  Prior to serving at the Meyer Center, Neeley worked from 2014 through 2016 as Executive Vice President of Made in USA Works! where he managed business development and international relations with more than 40 foreign trade offices and embassies.  He was responsible for negotiating and establishing with the Vietnamese government their first trade office in the United States after the passage of the Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) in 2015. Neeley previously managed public affairs and government relations for Walmart Stores, Inc. in the Southeast and Midwest from 2008 through 2014 where he championed hunger initiatives, US Manufacturing, Sustainability and workforce development.

In response to the attacks on the United States on 9/11, Neeley volunteered to serve in the military at the age of thirty-four.  He is a veteran of both the United States Navy and United States Army and currently serves as a Major in the South Carolina Army National Guard.  In 2010 he served in Afghanistan with the 1-178th Field Artillery Battalion where he conducted Counterinsurgency Operations (COIN) in villages across three provinces.  During his deployment, Neeley and his team of six were recognized by former Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai for their effectiveness in carrying out COIN in Kabul, Afghanistan.  He was awarded the Bronze Star.

In 2018 Neeley was appointed by South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster and confirmed by the South Carolina Senate as Commissioner of the South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs (DDSN).  Neeley is a member of the St. Francis Forum at Bon Secours Hospital, serves on the Executive Committee for the Blue Ridge Council of the Boy Scouts of America and is actively involved with Boy Scout Troop 9 in Greenville, SC.  Neeley is a graduate of the University of South Carolina, the United States Army Command and General Staff College, United States Army Air Defense Artillery School, United States Defense Information School and is currently earning a Masters of Public Administration (MPA) at Clemson University.
Neeley resides in Greenville, SC with his wife Janie and three children.  His youngest child has Down Syndrome and is the inspiration for his work in special education and disability rights.  Neeley is an Eagle Scout and former Boy Scout of the Year for the State of South Carolina in 1985.

VijayaLakshmi Appareddy, MD

Dr. Appareddy is board certified in child, adolescent, adult psychiatry and addiction medicine. She is the president of Tristate psychiatric services.  Her continuum of service to the medical profession has spanned over two decades. Her multifaceted career includes being on faculty at Brown University Medical School and University of Tennessee, Delegate / Delegate (A) to the AMA from 2007 through the present , Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the largest ethnic medical organization in the country (American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin), Representative for AMA-Organized Medical Staff Section (OMSS), liaison to AMA- Women Physicians Section (WPS), Board member of hospitals, past president of Chattanooga Chapter of American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA). She is the past Chairperson of the AMA- International Medical Graduates (IMG) Governing Council and represented AMA-IMG section at the Commission to end healthcare disparities.

In 2002, she also had the honor of being sworn in as Vice-Chairperson of the U.S. President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities at a White House ceremony by Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tommy Thompson.  She also served for a second term on the PCPID from 2004 to 2006.
She currently serves on the American Psychiatric Association (APA) steering committee on faith and mental health. She is also a member of the APA committee on funding for advocacy and legislation. She is a member of American Medical Political Action Committee (AMPAC) and also a graduate of AMPAC candidate workshop. She was on the AMA Foundation President’s Circle and the recipient of several awards including the AMA Foundation leadership award, HCA Humanitarian Award, and State of Tennessee senate joint resolution.

She have a proven record of dedicated leadership, strong commitment and advocacy experience. She has advocated for women physicians, women, children and the underserved throughout her career.

Olegario “Ollie” D. Cantos

Blind since birth, Ollie Cantos has dedicated more than 28 years of his life helping to advance equality of opportunity and access for this nation's more than 50 million Americans with disabilities.  An attorney, public speaker, advocate, connector, and leader, his efforts to foster change stem from actions to bring together key influencers via a collaborative process to maximize community impact and promote full participation of children and adults with all types of disabilities in every aspect of societal life.  
Cantos has the unique distinction of being both a presidential appointee and career Federal Government official concurrently while dedicating time to grassroots community involvement.  In addition to serving as a  Citizen Member of PCPID, he is also Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education, Member of the National Advisory Board at Respect Ability, Chairman of the Board of Advisors at Scholarships for Eagles, Attorney Mentor for the American Bar Association Commission on Disability Rights, Member of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary with the leadership rank equivalent of Lieutenant Commander, and elementary school mentor to kids with intellectual disabilities.
With a Juris Doctor degree from Loyola Law School (Los Angeles) and a  BA in Political Science from Loyola Marymount University, past roles include Mentor at Best Buddies International, Big Brother at Catholic Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Member of the Committee for Scouts with Disabilities at the National Capital Area Council of Boys Scouts of America, Staff Attorney and Director of Outreach and Education at the Disability Rights Legal Center, General Counsel and Director of Programs at the American Association of People with Disabilities, Special Assistant and later Special Counsel to the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice, Vice Chairman of PCPID, District Legal Officer for the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, and Associate Director for Domestic Policy at the White House under President George W. Bush.
Over his lifetime thus far, Cantos has spoken to audiences totaling more than 58,000 on civil rights issues including adoption, assistive technology, criminal justice (victims' side), education, emergency preparedness, employment, entrepreneurship, independent living, leadership development, mentoring, parenting, physical accessibility, and transportation. Media appearances include National Public Radio, PEOPLE Magazine, USA Today, Fox News, NBC, CBS, ABC’s World News Tonight with David Muir, and others. He is an adoptive Dad to Leo, Nick, and Steven, the first blind triplets in Scouting history ever to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.

Emily Colson

Emily Colson is a nationally known author, speaker, and advocate for people with disabilities and their families. A frequent keynote speaker for conferences, Emily is passionate about engaging churches on behalf of families living with disability, affirming the value of life, and supporting families and individuals living with disability. Emily has appeared on numerous media outlets including Focus on the Family and the Huckabee Show. 

In her book Dancing with Max, Emily and her father, Chuck Colson, share the struggle and beauty of life with Max, Emily’s now 27-year-old son with autism. In 2011, the Autism Society of America awarded Dancing with Max Literary Work of the Year. Through her message of hope, Emily has inspired many to persevere through their own challenges and see the gift of every life. As a single mother for most of Max’s 27 years, Emily has experience with hard-fought lessons in faith, life, and love. 

A graduate of Miami University with a degree in Fine Arts, Emily’s prior experience as a Creative Director is reflected in her unique approach to the challenges of disability. Emily serves on several non-profit boards including The Colson Center for Worldview, and Your Options Medical. She often partners with Joni and Friends and is a regular contributor to Key Ministry’s Special Needs Parenting blog.  

Claudia B. Horn

Claudia B. Horn is President of Performance Results, Inc. (PRI) a Washington D.C based program evaluation firm.   In 2013, Claudia served as Senior Director for Employment Services with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.  In this capacity, Ms. Horn was responsible for four major divisions serving people with disabilities in the state; the divisions of Vocational Rehabilitation, Services for the Blind, Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, and the state’s Disability Determination Services.

Ms. Horn has more than 20 years of experience serving in leadership roles for concerns and clients in the fields of program evaluation, strategic planning, education and staff development. Performance Results provides technical assistance and training in program evaluation design, outcomes measurement, community needs assessment, and team-building and strategic planning.  Performance Results, Inc. has provided services to Federal and State agencies, large nonprofit entities and professional associations, including such major agencies as the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the U.S. Department of Justice, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the National Endowment for the Arts, and many other agencies across the country. 

Ms. Horn received her M.S. from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in Rehabilitation Administration and Evaluation; she received her B.A. in Psychology from American University in Washington D.C.  

Stephanie Opdahl Hubach

Stephanie Hubach is a Research Fellow in Disability Ministries and a Visiting Instructor in affiliation with Covenant Theological Seminary. From 2007-2016 she served as Mission to North America’s Special Needs Ministries Director. Mission to North America (MNA) is associated with the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA).  Steph is also a founding member of the Lancaster Christian Council on Disability (LCCD) and formerly volunteered as a member of the board of directors for The Arc of Lancaster County, a member of the advisory board of Chosen Families, chairperson of the Lancaster County Mental Health/Mental Retardation Advisory Board, and president of the board of directors for the Infant Evaluation Program of State College, PA. 

Steph is the author of Same Lake, Different Boat: Coming Alongside People Touched by Disability (P&R Publishers, September 2006), director of a Christian Education DVD series by the same title, and author of All Things Possible: Calling Your Church Leadership to Embrace Disability Ministry (Joni and Friends, August 2007). She has been published in ByFaith magazine, Covenant magazine, Focus on the Family magazine, and Breakpoint online magazine. Steph has written for, a blog for parents of children with special needs, and coordinated a writing team for Christianity Today to provide a Disability Ministry Track in The Ministry Essentials Bible, which was released in September 2014. 

Stephanie is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of McDaniel College (formerly Western Maryland College), has an M.A. in Economics from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and is currently in the process of completing the M.A.T.S. at Covenant Theological Seminary. 

Steph and her husband Fred have been married for 35 years. They have two deeply loved sons: Fred and Tim, the younger of whom has Down syndrome. The family resides in Lancaster County, PA.

Annette Liike

Annette Liike, is a Youth and Family Caseworker for the Oakland County Circuit Court in Pontiac, Michigan. She has been in this position for 4 years. Before this, Annette was a Permanency Coordinator for Oakland County Circuit Court. She has also worked for the State of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services as an Adult Protective Service Worker and Foster Care Worker. Annette is on the Detroit Catholic Central High School Mother’s Club Board as their Vice President. She is the wife of Thomas and the mother of 3 sons, one who has an intellectual disability. She is a member of the Down Syndrome Guild of Southeastern Michigan.  She received a B.A. from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. When Annette has some down time she enjoys relaxing poolside with her 6 month old grand-daughter.

Annette’s passion is helping individuals with intellectual disabilities to embrace their talents and goals and achieve their dreams through hard work, creativity and education. She believes that Individuals with intellectual disabilities do not need to sit home and be cared for by others because they can create their own great life with the help of their community and businesses. Technology has helped to open their world to infinite possibilities. Annette is trying to get rid of the old stereotypes and judgments that limit individuals with intellectual disabilities so those individuals can shine their light on the world to help make it a better place.

Karen Moderow 

Karen Moderow became an advocate for persons with brain injury after her eighteen-year-old son was injured in an auto accident in 1996. She then spearheaded the development of the Brain Injury Resource Foundation website ( dedicated to making resources available to people with brain injuries as they and their families moved through the many phases of recovery. This site was later integrated into the resources of the national Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA).

Karen graduated magna cum laude from California State University at Long Beach in 1973 with a BA in English Literature. In 2015, she earned a Masters in Creative Writing (MFA) from Chapman University and a Masters of Arts in Theology (MAT) in 2017 from Fuller Seminary. Karen has been published by numerous Inspirational publications including Moody Magazine, the Christianity Today family (Today's Christian Woman, Leadership) and Plus, the publication of Norman Vincent Peale's organization with a circulation of over 750,000. She is the author of two books: The Parting, a memorial guide to help families and clergy celebrate the uniqueness of a loved one’s life and Back Roads Home: the true story of a family lost and found. She is now working on her first novel. What Remains.

Karen and Joe, her husband of 49 years, live in Dana Point, California near their two sons, Michael and David. They are grandparents to Boozer, a charming Basenji mix, and Cassidy, an awesome but aloof cat who occasionally deigns to grace them with a glimpse of her backside.

Ex officio Members

The Honorable Jeff Sessions

Attorney General of the US Department of Justice

Official Representative: (TBD)

Alternate Contact:

Clarette H. Yen
Attorney Advisor
US Department of Justice
Civil Rights Division
Disability Rights Section
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW - NYA 4065
Washington, DC 20530
Office: (202) 514-0555

The Honorable Ryan Zinke

Secretary of the US Department of the Interior

Official Representative: (TBD)

Alternate Contact:

Margaret Triebsch
Committee Management Officer
US Department of the Interior
1849 C Street, NW, Room 7313
Washington, DC 20240
Office: (202) 208-4524

The Honorable Wilbur Ross

Secretary of the US Department of Commerce

Official Representative: (TBD)

Alternate Contact:

Kathy Anderson
Deputy Director, Office of Civil Rights
US Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20230
Office: (202) 482-3680 - Fax: (202) 482-4534

The Honorable R. Alexander Acosta  

Secretary of the US Department of Labor

Official Representative: (TBD)

The Honorable Alex Azar

Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services

Official Representative: TBD

Alternate Contact:

Tiina Urv, PhD
Program Director
US Department of Health and Human Services
National Institutes of Health
31 Center Drive
Bethesda, MD 20892
Office:     (301) 827-2746

The Honorable Ben Carson

Secretary of the US Department of Housing and Urban Development

Official Representative: TBD

The Honorable Elaine Chao

Secretary of the US Department of Transportation

Official Representative: (TBD)

Alternate Representative:

Yvette Rivera
Associate Director
Equal Employment Opportunity Programs Division
Office of the Secretary
US Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE, Rm. W78-318
West Building, Suite W78-304
Washington, DC 20590
Office: (202) 366-5131 - Fax: (202) 366-5575

The Honorable Betsy DeVos

Secretary of the US Education Department

Official Representative: (TBD)

The Honorable Kirstjen Nielsen

Secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security

Official Representative: TBD

The Honorable Carolyn W. Colvin

Commissioner of the US Social Security Administration

Official Representative:

Leola Brooks
Senior Advisor for Disability Program Outreach
Office of Retirement and Disability Policy
US Social Security Administration
835 ITC Building, 500 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20245
Office: (202) 358-6294 - Fax: (202) 358-6505


PCPID Reports

PCPID Meeting Agendas
PCPID Meeting Minutes

Last modified on 12/18/2019

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