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ANCOR Remembers Suellen Galbraith

July 13, 2015

Suellen GalbraithValued colleague, friend and fierce advocate for people with disabilities

It is with great sadness that we share that our colleague Suellen Galbraith passed away on July 11, 2015. Suellen was one of the most respected disability advocates on Capitol Hill, admired and respected by her colleagues, congressional staff and government leaders alike. She worked for ANCOR for nearly three decades, serving as ANCOR’s first director of public policy, and eventually as our senior public policy advisor.

“Suellen was to many, the REASON they joined and participated in ANCOR.” – Than Johnson, former ANCOR Board President

Her extensive experience on Capitol Hill as a Senate staff member and as an advocate at the protection and advocacy agency in Alabama made her a valued addition to the ANCOR and the staff over 20 years ago.

Suellen was one of the founders of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, and served in many key leadership roles, including co-chair of its Long-Term Services and Support Task Force and its Housing Task Force.  She was a fierce advocate for improved supports and services for people with disabilities, and was actively involved in nearly every significant public policy development over the past three decades, including The CLASS Act.

"Over more than four decades, Suellen was tireless and effective advocate for people with significant disabilities pushing policymakers at the federal and state level to ensure access to housing and community supports for the most vulnerable."  Andrew Sperling, National Alliance on Mental Illness and a member of CCD.

Suellen’s expertise was frequently noted by the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services, and she served on numerous CMS committees and advisory groups, bringing her robust and passionate brand of advocacy to every issue she tackled. Suellen’s mastery of all things Medicaid - before the days when a Google search can unlock volumes - was legendary, knowledge she put to work every day to improve the lives of people with disabilities. She will be missed by all of us at ANCOR and by the disability advocacy community enormously.

“Suellen never gave up her fight for the vulnerable people of this nation. From advocating for children’s health coverage in the Family Opportunity Act, to promoting options supporting choice and independence for adults with disabilities and seniors, she could always be counted on. We have lost a significant friend in her passing, but her contributions will not be forgotten.” – Connie Garner,  Policy Director, Foely Hoag, LLC; former Executive VP of Policy for United Cerebral Palsy and Policy Director for Disability and Special Populations to the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP).

ANCOR will share the details for Suellen’s memorial service as soon as they are finalized. If you would like to send a card to her family, you can email Barbara Merrill or Jerri McCandless.

“Suellen was one of the most layered, interesting people I've ever encountered and having gotten to know her, I loved what a gracious, caring and passionate person she was underneath the brilliant, mad scientist policy wiz. She will be missed.” – Daryn Demerritt, ANCOR member and co-chair of the National Advocacy Campaign.

If you would like to share any personal memories or thoughts about Suellen, we would love to hear them. We certainly shared some anecdotes and smiles this morning, fondly remembering Suellen and her fierce determination to ensure that people with disabilities have access to the lives they deserve.

“Suellen was a wonderful friend and colleague. Her death is a great loss to those of us who worked with her and to so many people with I/DD over the decades and into the future.” – Marty Ford, Senior Executive Officer, Public Policy, The Arc