Freedman Appointed to Governor’s Commission on Mental Retardation

in Faculty, SSW News Releases
December 8th, 2008

Boston University School of Social Work is pleased to announce the appointment of Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Ruth I. Freedman to Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick’s Commission on Mental Retardation. Appointed by Governor Patrick, Dean Freedman will serve on the 13-member commission to inform and advise the Governor and Department of Mental Retardation regarding state policies affecting persons wth intellectual disabilites.  The Commission will play an important role in ensuring that the rights of people served by the Department of Mental Retardation (DMR) are fully protected.

"I am honored and excited to serve as a member of this Commission and look forward to helping develop policies that will improve the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and their families," said Associate Dean Freedman. "I applaud Governor Patrick’s decision to re-establish this Commission at this critical time in which we face significant social and economic challenges. Giving a voice to self-advocates, families, clinicians, researchers and other advocates who work in this field is critical to developing policies that protect the most vulnerable."

In addition to academic and administrative responsibilities at Boston University School of Social Work, Dean Freedman has also played an important role in research and advocacy regarding persons with disabilities. She currently serves on the Board of the Massacusshetts ARC, a non-profit statewide disability organization designed to enhance the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.  She is Senior Research Consultant to the ARC’s Health Care Project, funded by The Boston Foundation, that assessed the quality and access of medical services received in the community by adults with intellectual and other develeopmental disiabilties. She has consulted to DMR on the National Core Indicators (NCI) Project, conducting interviews of thousands families and individuals served by DMR, as part of a first of its kind effort to measure outcomes for individuals across a wide range of areas.

Governor William Weld established the Governor’s Commission in 1993, at the close of the landmark Ricci case. Since that time, the state has expanded services and supports available to more than 33,000 individuals with intellectual disabilities across the state living independently, with their families or in residential care. The 13 members of the Commission will each serve a staggered term of three years.

Joining Dean Freedman on the Commission are family members, professionals and clinicians with years of experience in the field of mental retardation and autism, as well as self-advocates representing consumer interests. Other named members include: Dr. Robert Baldor, MD, vice chairman and predoctoral director of the Department of Family Medicine and Community Health at the UMass Medical School; James T. Brett, MPA, former Commission chairperson and a former member of the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities; Marjorie Cohen, an active volunteer, activist, and parent of a medically fragile child; Allen Crocker, MD, an international authority on Down syndrome and developmental disabilities, and a pioneer in the field of developmental pediatrics; Florence Finkel, a former Commission member and the mother of an adult son who was formerly at the Dever Developmental Center; Anne Fracht, a self-advocate and employee of the Vinfen Corporation; Cynthia Levine, MS, Shriver Clinical Services Corporation and a member of the Commonwealth’s Statewide Advisory Commission; Evelyne Milorin, Boston Center for Independent Living and mother of an adult son served by DMR; John Nadworny, a former Commission member, financial advisor at Bay Financial Associates, Waltham, and parent of a 16-year old son with intellectual disabilities; Jim Ross, executive director of Community Partnerships, Inc., a community-based service provider in Southeast Massachusetts specializing in developing services to address the needs of people with high risk behaviors; Craig Smith, a self-advocate and co-founder of Massachusetts Advocates Standing Strong; Janice Ware, PhD, is developmental psychopathology and pediatric psychology specialist, Children’s Hospital Boston.

Read more information about the Governor’s Commission on Mental Retardation or Associate Dean Ruth Freedman.

About BUSSW:
Distinguished by its urban mission and clinical and macro practice focus, the Boston University School of Social Work is committed to educating masters’ and doctoral level students who will become leaders in a multicultural environment. The School offers the MSW and PhD degrees, as well as continuing professional education, and its nationally recognized faculty has been ranked 8th among schools of social work with doctoral programs. Located in a diverse and academically rich community, the School offers almost unlimited opportunities for urban social work practice and research. Visit for more information.

About Boston University:
Founded in 1839, Boston University is an internationally recognized institution of higher education and research. With more than 30,000 students, it is the fourth largest independent university in the United States. BU consists of 17 colleges and schools along with a number of multi-disciplinary centers and institutes which are central to the school’s research and teaching mission.