The Disability Law Center (DLC) is pleased to announce Barbara L’Italien as the organization’s new Executive Director. DLC is the Commonwealth’s Protection and Advocacy agency for persons with disabilities.
Barbara has been a leading advocate at the intersection between politics, law, health care and policy for twenty-five years. She served as both a State Representative and State Senator in the Massachusetts Legislature, focusing on the rights and needs of people with disabilities, seniors, people who are economically disadvantaged and the LGBTQ community. Her advocacy concerning Autism built the service delivery system for educational, social-emotional, and medical support and included establishing and chairing the first Autism Commission and passing comprehensive mandated medical insurance coverage. Barbara also chaired the Elder Affairs Committee, fought for community-based services and passed model legislation to address Alzheimer’s care as well as Consumer Protection laws and dyslexia screening. She is proud of her votes for Universal Healthcare and Equal Marriage. Barbara gave up her State Senate seat to run for Congress in 2018 as a Mom on a Mission to fight for Medicare for All. She has been a Government Affairs Director for the Massachusetts State Treasurer and The Arc of Massachusetts. In recent years, she operated a small lobbying firm that facilitated a partnership with the state to achieve an increase in the community-based elder healthcare workforce through the expansion of an employment training program.
During the pandemic, Barbara served for six months as a Supervisor on the Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative and as Senior Government Affairs Advisor for Partners in Health. In the latter position, she focused on partnering with other organizations on an equitable COVID-19 response. Barbara is committed to working to address the systemic inequities that COVID-19 has exacerbated – in health care, employment, housing, education and opportunities for civic engagement – grounded in structural racism as well as discrimination based on disability and socioeconomic status.
“I am honored to join the Disability Law Center in continuing to fulfill their mission,” Barbara remarks. “Working in concert with DLC’s dedicated Board and talented Staff, I look forward to building upon the existing coalition work, advocacy efforts, public profile and financial resources of the organization.”