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BBI Receives $6.2 Million Award from U.S. Department of Health & Human Services for Southeast ADA Center

October 17, 2016
Source: Syracuse University

The Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) has been awarded a five year, $6.23 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS), Administration on Community Living (ACL), National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) for the Southeast Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Center.

Based in Atlanta, the Southeast ADA Center provides information, training and guidance about the ADA throughout the eight-state Southeast region. BBI provides the center with analyses of legal issues affecting the ADA as well as other resources such as “plain language” legal briefs written by Syracuse University College of Law students.

“For the past 10 years, the Southeast ADA Center has provided leading-edge, accessible information on all aspects of the ADA,” says Peter Blanck, University Professor at Syracuse University College of Law and chair of BBI. “This grant, our third five-year commitment, enables BBI and the Southeast ADA Center to continue to make a positive impact on the lives of individuals with disabilities and their families by fostering ADA understanding and compliance.”

[Image removed: People sit at round tables in a large room, as they watch and listen to a presentation. A man makes a Power Point presentation as he stands at the front of the room and faces the tables.]
[Image caption:] Participants at the Southeast ADA Center-sponsored Moneywise conference focusing on the ADA and financial inclusion of people with disabilities.

Pamela Williamson, project director of the Southeast ADA Center, says, “This grant continues the Southeast ADA Centers partnership with an extensive network of dedicated partners at the national, state and local levels.” Williamson notes, “Over the past 10 years, the Southeast ADA Center has developed creative, accessible and low-cost ways, including the launch of an accessible online radio program, to disseminate information to a broad audience of partners and stakeholders.”

[Image removed of people standing or sitting in two rows.]
[Image caption:] The BBI Board of Advisors: Standing, left to right: Michael Morris, Ed Blatt, Jonathan Martinis, Pamela Williamson, Cynthia Smith, Diana Foote, Peter Blanck, Joshua Heintz, Bruce Sexton, Howard Olinsky, William Myhill, Michelle Woodhouse, James Nicoll. Sitting: Kalpana Srinivas, Barbara Huntress Tresness, Joseph Treglia, Mary Killeen, Angel Baker.

In addition to funding ongoing operations, the award will enable the Southeast ADA Center to conduct new research examining the accessibility of financial services, at physical and online sites, for people with disabilities. Several studies will examine financial accessibility as an aspect of community inclusion and participation. Michael Morris, BBI executive director, notes “There is a critical need for information on how financial institutions provide accessible services for people with disabilities.” The Southeast ADA Center “will collaborate with individuals with disabilities, banks and credit unions to gain a better understanding of gaps in accessibility. The research will help financial institutions address these issues and educate the public on possible solutions.”

“This program is just one example of the many important initiatives that the Burton Blatt Institute spearheads to advance the full participation of people with disabilities,” says College of Law Dean Craig M. Boise. “In addition to positively affecting numerous individuals and communities, the institute provides many practical learning experiences for College of Law students who are interested in disability rights law.”

About the Southeast ADA Center

The Southeast ADA Center answers questions, and provides training and information about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The center, based in Atlanta, serves an eight-state geographic region (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee) and has a network of partners in each state that includes centers for independent living (CILs), individuals with and without disabilities, small and large employers and businesses, nonprofit organizations and universities, and state and local government agencies. The center is one of 10 regional ADA centers in the ADA National Network. For more information, visit:

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