Skip Navigation
Department of Health and Human Services 		  
		  Administration for Children and Families
ACF Home   |   Services   |   Working with ACF   |   Policy/Planning   |   About ACF   |   ACF News   |   HHS Home

  Questions?  |  Privacy  |  Site Index  |  Contact Us  |  Download Reader™Download Reader  |  Print Print      

June 30, 2008
Contact: Kenneth J. Wolfe
(202) 401-9215

Thirteen New Members Appointed to the President’s Committee for People with
Intellectual Disabilities

Members of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities (PCPID), appointed by President George W. Bush, were sworn in by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Deputy Secretary Tevi D. Troy, Ph.D.

The President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities provides advice to the president and to the secretary of HHS pertaining to matters relating to programs and services for people with intellectual disabilities.

“Persons with disabilities are a unique group and they deserve the same quality of life as all other individuals,” said Daniel C. Schneider, HHS acting assistant secretary for children and families.  “The new members will assist in upholding the rights of children and adults with intellectual disabilities and guarantee their capacity to participate in all aspects of community life.”

The appointments to the PCPID are as follows:

  • James M. Boles of New York: Boles is the president and CEO of People Inc., New York’s leading non-profit human services agency.  He also serves as a member of the New York State Advisory Council on Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.

  • Olegario “Ollie” D. Cantos, VII of California:  Cantos is special counsel to the acting assistant attorney general for civil rights in the U.S. Department of Justice.  Prior to his current tenure, Cantos was the first and only person to serve as general counsel and director of programs for the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the largest cross-disability national membership organization in the country.

  • Eric Lee Cole of Maryland: Cole is the founder and president of the Dandy-Walker Alliance, Inc.  His dedication to helping individuals with disabilities began when his son was diagnosed with the brain defect Dandy-Walker Syndrome and the condition hydrocephalus.

  • Berthy De La Rosa-Aponte of Florida: As a former counselor for students with disabilities and the mother of a child with multiple developmental disabilities, Aponte has a passion for the inclusion, full participation and economic self sufficiency of individuals with disabilities.  Her professional experience consists of administering programs and providing services to individuals with disabilities and/or of Hispanic origin.

  • William J. Edwards of California: Edwards is a deputy public defender with the Los Angeles Public Defenders Office, Mental Health Court.  For years, he has specialized in the representation of people with mental retardation and developmental disabilities in the criminal justice system.

  • Stephanie Preshong Brown of Florida: As a long time advocate for children, Brown was nominated to the Martin County School District’s Least Restrictive Environment Committee which helps children with disabilities excel in a classroom setting.

  • MaryMargaret Sharp-Pucci of Illinois: Dr. Pucci is the founder and managing member of Sharp Health Strategies LLC, which provides a line of clinical research and analytic services to the health care industry.

  • Linda Hampton Starnes of Florida: The mother of two children with disabilities, Starnes has dedicated her life to education and advocacy for people with disabilities throughout many communities (local, educational and religious), including serving on the founding team for Access Ministry within McLean Bible Church in Virginia.  This program is known as one of the largest ministries in the country devoted to welcoming and including persons with disabilities.

  • Dallas “Rob” Sweezy of Virginia: Sweezy has a teen-aged daughter with intellectual disabilities.  He is also the president of Public Affairs/Strategies/Healthcare, a communications and government relations firm that focuses on health care issues.

  • William E. Tienken of Illinois: Tienken currently serves as the chairman of the Finance Committee of the Scottish Rite of Chicago and the Chicago fundraising chairman for its 32 Degree Masonic Learning Centers for Children Inc.  These learning centers offer the nation’s only dyslexia remediation program services free of charge.

  • Eric Todd Treat of Arkansas: Treat is an advocate for people with disabilities and he strives to influence and educate citizens across the nation on how people with disabilities are contributing members of the community and are entitled to the same basic rights and privileges as all other Americans.

  • Charles Weis of Indiana:  Weis is the current head coach of the University of Notre Dame football team.  He is also the founder of the Hannah & Friends Foundation, dedicated to children affected by developmental disorders.

  • Mary Ellen Zeppuhar of West Virginia:  Dr. Zeppuhar has over 25 years of        experience in special education.  Currently she works at West Virginia University serving as a faculty member at the Center for Excellence in Disabilities, where   she administers the Certificate Program in Disability Studies.  Her area of           expertise is in the education of persons with visually impairment and cognitive disabilities.

“This is a diverse and remarkable group of leaders at the local, state and national level, coming together to finish out the president’s New Freedom Initiative, which is to remove barriers to community living for people with disabilities,” said Steve Rhatigan, new chairman for PCPID appointed by President George W. Bush.

For more information on the PCPID, please visit:


Note: All ACF news releases, fact sheets and other materials are available at


top of page

Last Updated: October 24, 2008