Disabled Women on the Web

Disabled Women on the Web

Legislative Briefing Papers on Disabled Young Women

Speaker Bios

Alice Wong received her B.A. from Indiana University in Sociology and English in 1997. Alice is currently a graduate student in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, University of California, San Francisco. She is also a research assistant in the UCSF Disability Statistics Center conducting focus groups and interviews of people with disabilities for their New Measures project. Her main research interests are women's health, disability studies and qualitative methods.


Brenda Premo is the founding director of Western University's Center for Disability Issues and the Health Professions. She was the Director of the California State Department of Rehabilitation during Governor Pete Wilson's administration. She was deputy director of the department's Independent Living Section from 1991 until Governor Wilson appointed her director in 1994. She was appointed by President Reagan to serve on the National Council on Disability where she developed the language for legislation that became the Americans with Disabilities Act. She has received numerous awards and commendations including the 1988 “Woman of the Year” from the California State Senate and the 1998 National Rehabilitation Awareness Foundation’s “Special Achievement Award”.


Corbett Joan O’Toole is the Director of the Disabled Women’s Alliance, which focuses on networking and advocacy for women and girls with disabilities. She is part of the living history of the disability movement – including being staff at the first Center for Independent Living (Berkeley) and the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund. She has made countless presentations at national and international conferences as well as organizing conferences on women and disability such as United Nations Fourth International Conference on Women: Disabled Women’s Symposium (1995), International Forum on Leadership Development Strategies for Women with Disabilities (1997), International Conference on Parents with Disabilities and Their Families, (1999), Including All Women: Philanthropy for Disabled Women and Girls (1999), and Queer Disability (2002).

Kathy Martinez is an internationally recognized disability rights leader who focus on employment, minority and gender issues. As Deputy Director of the World Institute on Disability (WID), Ms. Martinez is responsible for the development and supervision of all of WID's international technical assistance, employment and training projects including the National Technical Assistance Center for Latinos with Disabilities, the International Disability Exchanges and Studies (IDEAS) for the New Millennium Project, as well as the bilingual international webzine, DisabilityWorld (www.disabilityworld.org).

She initiated a WID community-based project to engage low-income minority women with HIV/AIDS in activating their own self-care programs. Ms. Martinez led the collaborative interagency team that produced the acclaimed 1997 Leadership Forum for Women with Disabilities, attracting more than 600 participants from 80 countries to Washington, D.C. in 1997. She has led trainings in El Salvador, Honduras, China, Russia, Indonesia, Spain, Honduras, New Zealand, Korea, Namibia, Brazil, Hungary and Mexico.


Sarah Tom is a graduate student in the departments of demography and public health at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests include disability in the adolescent and working years, aging, health, and immigration. Since her diagnosis of Fibromyalgia in 1998 at the age of 17, Sarah has dedicated much of her time to both educating the community at large about disability and working within the Disability Community. Sarah is a member of the Youth Advisory Council to the National Council on Disability and is the Senate-appointed member of the California Governor’s Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities. She has served as a panelist on transition issues and as a co-counselor at the California Youth Leadership Forum for students with disabilities. With the California Work Incentives Initiative, Sarah is leading the creation of a web page designed by youth to assist youth with disabilities in mapping their career and school goals through peer interaction, information concerning healthcare, and community resource guidance.


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Updated 3/26/2004