NACDD has just learned that a great pioneer of the DD world has died. Dr. Margaret (Peg) Giannini, who began her esteemed work in the field of I/DD in the early 1960s established what became the first University-based program (later the Westchester Institute on Human Development, one of NY’s 3 UCEDDs) and dedicated her entire career to supporting individuals with I/DD and their families to live healthy lives in the community. She continued working in the field until the day she died just before Thanksgiving. I had the honor and privilege to work a little with her in the early 2000s when she was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as the principal deputy assistant secretary for aging at the Department of Health and Human Services. There she got to know Tommy Thompson, the secretary of the department, who appointed her director of the department’s office on disability in 2002. She was a huge support to our work in the I/DD community helping us focus on implementing the newly reauthorized DD Act of 2000.
May she rest in peace and may her memory continue to push us forward in the work we all do helping people with I/DD, their families, and caregivers to live their best life in the community.
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