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Douglas J. Usiak of Western New York Independent Living to be inducted into the NYS Disability Rights Hall of Fame


Mon, Jan 22nd 2018 02:10 pm
The New York State Independent Living Council (NYSILC) has announced the eight inaugural inductees into the State Disability Rights Hall of Fame (HOF), and one of the distinguished honorees is Douglas J. Usiak, who has been executive director of the Western New York Independent Living Inc. family of agencies since 1983. All eight will be honored in a ceremony on the evening of Thursday, April 26, at the Troy Hilton Garden Inn.
"Our disability community is blessed with considerable talent," said Brad Williams, executive director of NYSILC. "The diverse efforts and accomplishments of the 2018 inductees will establish a benchmark for future years."
While Usiak has dozens of significant accomplishments over his lifetime, those given by the HOF selection committee as particularly important to his receiving the honor include:
•He developed peer-run programs over three decades at Western New York Independent Living, with locations ranging from Buffalo, Batavia, Niagara Falls and OAHIIO (Native American Services), and services specializing in mental health peer connection, youth transition, consumer-directed services, aging and waiver services.
•He co-created and directed a syndicated public affairs radio program - which will soon reach its 1,500th installment - and was the driving force behind the "Points of View" cable access issue discussion show.
•He was the principal investigator with the National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation Research's Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on independent living management.
•He wrote 21 articles for journals and research (between 1996-2015) on a wide variety of topics, including assistive technology, quality of life, independent living and evaluation.
The other living honorees are: Clifton Perez (Rensselaer County) and Marilyn E. Saviola (Kings County). Those who will receive the award posthumously are: Anna Fay (Westchester County), Patricio (Pat) Figueroa Jr. (Albany County), Constance Laymon (Schenectady County), Terence J. Moakley (Queens County) and Michael Peluso (Albany County)
Information about the event, promotion, sponsorship and tickets, are available at the Hall of Fame website: https://www.nysilc.org/hof.
The state Disability Rights Hall of Fame is a program of the New York State Independent Living Council Inc. NYSILC is an independent, nonprofit state council looking to promote independent living for people with disabilities across New York. The council's primary responsibility is to work with state partners to develop, monitor and evaluate the three-year statewide plan for independent living.
WNY Independent Living Inc. is Western New York's largest cross-disability, consumer-directed, nonresidential organization for persons with disabilities.

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