Obama Names Katherine Seelman to National Council on Disability

Issue Date: 
June 16, 2014

Katherine D. Seelman, associate dean of disability programs in the University of Pittsburgh School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, has been appointed as a member of the National Council on Disability by President Barack Obama.

Seelman was part of the National Council on Disability’s staff during its formative years when it helped to enact the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. In the intervening quarter-century, Seelman has gone from working for the independent federal agency as a public policy research specialist to becoming one of its 15 appointed members who advise presidents, Congress, and policymakers at the federal, state, and local levels.

Seelman joins new appointee Royal P. Walker Jr. of the University of Southern Mississippi and current member Alice Wong of the University of California, San Francisco, as the only academicians on the Council. She is the only member on the National Council on Disability who worked for the agency during the historic passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“I am honored to serve on the National Council on Disability,” said Seelman, who is hearing impaired. “The NCD has a remarkable track record in the advancement of civil rights, with more yet to come. As a person with a disability and a teacher of future leaders here at the University and its communities, I look forward to advancing advocacy and research in support of full rights and social supports for all of our citizens and those outside of our borders.”

“We take great pride in the news that Katherine Seelman, one of our most capable and committed academic leaders, has been named to the National Council on Disability, an important and prestigious appointment,” said Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg. “Professor Seelman is exceptionally qualified to serve in this capacity. She brings a wealth of experience, talents, and expertise that will be of immeasurable value to the NCD, just as they have proven to be invaluable to our University.”

Added SHRS Dean Cliff Brubaker, who helped to bring Seelman to Pitt in 2001: “Kate is a tremendous contributor not only to our school and to the entire University in an educational sense. She has also been a significant force in the disability community on campus and around Western Pennsylvania. This is the perfect role for her, providing her an opportunity to once again serve and make an impact on a national scale as well.”

Seelman, a professor in the Department of Rehabilitation Science and Technology of SHRS, arrived at Pitt in 2001. She has secondary appointments in the Center for Bioethics and Health Law, the Health Policy Institute, and the Graduate School of Public Health, and she serves as an advisor to the newly formed Students for Disability Advocacy.