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Peter Bell Joins White House Disabilities Panel

Washington, DC (March 15, 2012) – Autism Speaks Executive Vice President of Programs and Services Peter Bell was sworn in today as a member of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, which advises the President and Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) on issues that impact people with intellectual disabilities and their quality of life. Bell was sworn in by Sharon Lewis, commissioner of HHS'  Administration on Developmental Disabilities.

The Committee consists of 21 citizen members appointed by the President and 13 ex officio (Federal Government) members designated by the President. Their charge is to “improve the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and uphold their right to enjoy a quality of life that promotes independence, self-determination, and full participation as productive members of society.” The Committee’s goals include “the assurance of full citizenship rights, the reduction of the occurrence and severity of intellectual disabilities and the promotion of forward thinking programs and services and cutting edge assistive technologies to improve the lives of people with intellectual disabilities.”

Peter Bell, Autism Speaks executive vice president for programs and services, with Sharon Lewis, (left) commissioner of the U.S. Department Health and Human Services' Administration on Developmental Disabilities; Laverdia Roach, manager of the President's Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, and; Christopher Bacote, a Project Search student trainee 

Bell, the father of a teenage son with autism, oversees Autism Speaks’ government relations and family services activities and also serves as an advisor to the science division. He serves on numerous boards and commissions, including as co-founder and president of Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA), chair of the Community Advisory Committee of the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR), and former chair and member of the Integration Panel of the Department of Defense Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs for autism research.

“We are thrilled about Peter’s well-deserved nomination to this important advisory committee,” said Mark Roithmayr, Autism Speaks president. “As always, he will bring incredible knowledge, personal experience and exceptional passion to the job and will undoubtedly be an effective and influential voice on the President’s Committee.”