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Meet the Advocate Advisory Committee

Advocates with lived experience of intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) are included in all aspects of the work of the project and serve on the project’s Action Networks and Steering Committee. The purpose of the advocate advisory committee is to serve as a forum for the advocates to get to know each other, share experiences, and discuss ways to enhance their voices in the ongoing development of project resources.

Ellen Bannister

Ellen Bannister, MA

Ellen Bannister is the academic programs coordinator of the Center for Learning and Leadership at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC). She is the Secretary of the Alliance for Disability in Healthcare Education (ADCHE). Ellen worked with a group of self-advocates, family advocates, faculty, and students to develop the Self-Advocates/Family Advocates as Medical Educators (SAME/FAME) program,  a simulation/role play-based training for healthcare students.

Ellen has two children with intellectual/developmental disabilities (IDD).  They spend a lot of time in doctors’ offices and hospitals. Her goal is to make sure that healthcare students have the knowledge, skills, and positive attitudes they need to provide good care to people with IDD. 

Dee Banta

Dee Banta

Dee Banta is a self-advocate from Oklahoma. Health care advocacy is a topic dear to her heart based on her challenging experiences receiving medical care as a person with intellectual disabilities. She is a member of the Oklahoma Self-Advocate Network (OKSAN) and a Self-Advocates/Family Advocates (SAME/FAME) trainer.

Bridget Brown

Bridget Brown

Bridget Brown is the founder of an organization called Butterflies for Change which teaches people with disabilities how to find their voice and advocate for themselves, in addition to educating parents about inclusion in schools. She believes advocating for policy is important because people with disabilities deserve quality health care. People with disabilities have been segregated, under-educated, and treated badly in the past and she works to help them have a voice and the opportunities to live full and productive lives. 

Bridget is a student in the co-op program at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) and an actress in the nursing simulation lab at UIC. Bridget serves as the second vice president of the National Association of Down Syndrome (NADS). She is on the advisory council for the College of DuPage and is a member of the National Catholic Partnership on Disability (NCPD), the Going Home Coalition, and is a member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG).

Nancy Brown

Nancy Brown

Nancy Brown has worked with individuals with disabilities most of her life. She is a national advocate for community living options, Microboards, and inclusive education. Nancy advocated for her daughter Bridget to be the first student with a disability to be included in her district and state. She has worked with The Family Support Network, Microboards, Pathfinders, and was an inclusion consultant for ISBE (Project CHOICES).

Nancy and her daughter Bridget are national inclusion educators through their organization called Butterflies for Change. Nancy specializes in inclusive education; person-centered planning life design, adaptations & accommodations, parent leadership, inclusive social emotional models of support, organizational development, transition, storytelling, as well as access and equity for all students. She is the co- author of Models of Support and Kid Konnections.

Chuy Campuzano

Jesus (Chuy) Campuzano

Chuy is an experienced self-advocate leader from Chicago, Illinois. He is active with Access Living in Chicago advocating for choice in housing and more funding for disability services. Chuy is a member of the Going Home Coalition and chairs the leadership committee. As a member of the Arc Without Walls (WOW) team, Chuy plans and co-hosts the meetings and created the WOW Facebook Group. Chuy is a regular presenter at the Speak Up and Speak Out Summit and runs a weekly disability check-in meeting on Zoom.

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Tamekia Edwards

Tamekia Edwards is a self-advocate from Chicago, Illinois.

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Anne Gunter, BA

Anne Gunter is the information, referral and benefits advocate at Progress Center for Independent Living in Illinois. In her work, she helps guide people through systems to help people with disabilities secure resources that support independence. She is a recipient of the Chicago ADAPT “Women of the Year” Award.

Ryan McGraw

Ryan McGraw, MS

Ryan McGraw is the health/home and community-based services community organizer at Access Living in Chicago, Illinois. Ryan has held several positions in the disability advocacy field and is passionate about home- and community-based services because he believes everyone should have the right to live in the community with the services they need. Ryan also teaches accessible yoga, and loves to run, bike, and travel in his free time.

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Cesar Mendez 

Cesar Mendez is a self-advocate from Chicago, Illinois.

Heidi Myhre

Heidi Myhre

Ms. Myhre is a passionate and dedicated self-advocate for the disabilities community. Her work has positively impacted countless lives and continually raises awareness of the needs of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Suzen Riley

Suzen X. Riley

Suzen believes it is important to improve not just her life but the lives of others too. She is a part of Access Living, ADAPT, Adaptive Adventures,  Bodies of Work, BACKBONES, Dare2Tri, Progress Center, and Reel Abilities Film Festival. 

Becky Rosenberg

Becky Rosenberg, MS

Becky Rosenberg is an assistant principal, disability advocate, and parent of an #AutismSuperHero in Washington, D.C. She has years of experience in forming and executing collaborative projects to benefit inclusive and forward-moving practices within the disability community. Outside of her daily disability accessibility work in education arenas, Becky volunteers for a number of disability organizations (especially sports-related) and is on several advisory committees, like the Montgomery County Commission on People with Disabilities Advisory Committee and Montgomery County Police Advisory Group.