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HHS Office on Disability Launched
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Aug. 13, 2002 -- A new Office on Disability has been created by the Bush administration within the Dept. of Health and Human Services "to oversee the coordination, development and implementation of programs and special initiatives within HHS that impact people with disabilities." Margaret J. Giannini, a medical doctor, founder and director of the University Center of Excellence on Developmental Disabilities of New York Medical College and currently the principal deputy assistant secretary for aging at the Administration on Aging, will head the new office.

The HHS Office on Disability is scheduled to open this fall, and will "build on the work of President Bush's New Freedom Initiative" by helping to "centralize many of the recommended strategies outlined in a report to President Bush, which explored solutions to reducing barriers in all areas of society for people with disabilities."

The New Freedom Initiative was announced by the Bush Administration in Feb., 2001, "as part of a nationwide effort to remove barriers to community living for people with disabilities," according to HHS. (Read the Center for An Accessible Society's backgrounder on the Initiative at )

The actual text of the Initiative can be found at

In June, 2001, as a further implementation, Pres. Bush issued an Executive Order instructing federal agencies to "assist states and localities to swiftly implement the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Olmstead v. L.C." -- a decision that upheld the Americans with Disabilities Act's "most integrated setting" mandate. More about the decision is online at ; more about this Executive Order can be found at

Information about HHS's role in implementing the New Freedom Initiative can be found online at

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