NEW YORK, March 4, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- United Spinal Association today announced Jenn Wolff, a disability advocate, lobbyist and Ms. Wheelchair Iowa 2011, manager of its UsersFirst program.
The UsersFirst mission is to ensure greater access to appropriate wheelchairs, mobility scooters and seating systems for people with disabilities nationwide.
Wolff will continue building on the the progress made by Ann Eubank, LMSW, OTR/L, ATP, who has departed as VP, Community Initiatives and head of UsersFirst , for a new opportunity as the executive director of the Center of Independent Living in Nashville, in her home state of Tennessee.
"As a new voice for UsersFirst, I hope to continue to educate, inform and help give a stronger voice to wheelchair users and the policies and issues that affect us," said Wolff.
Wolff will work closely with United Spinal members, disability advocates, wheelchair manufacturers and legislators to provide wheelchair users access to mobility equipment that's right for them.
"Jenn has been a dedicated advocate to the disability community and a strong voice in United Spinal's efforts on the Hill. Her thorough understanding of wheelchair policy issues will be a great asset to UsersFirst," said James Weisman, SVP and general counsel of United Spinal.
Wolff initially got involved in advocacy when Medicare denied her first replacement wheelchair.
"I had to fight for two years for a chair of the same or lesser level, I got mad," she explained.
Her fight for policy change for wheelchair coverage began in 2010 when she first attended the Continuing Education and Legislative Advocacy Conference in Washington, DC––where she met Ann Eubank.
"Ann inspired me, at a whole different level, to share my story and encourage others to share theirs, as a means of empowerment," Wolff said.
Continuing to attend conferences in DC, Abilities Expos, United Spinal's Roll on Capitol Hill and a stint as Ms. Wheelchair Iowa 2011 have all contributed to Wolff's ongoing passion for grassroots change and empowering people with disabilities.
Wolff earned her master's degree in Occupational Therapy (OT) from the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul, Minnesota and has used a wheelchair since 2003 after a tumor inside her spine was removed. She has served on a task force involved in specialization for OTs who work with complex rehabilitation technology, or CRT.
She has lobbied for improved transportation and wheelchair issues on Capitol Hill and has been involved with several advocacy groups, including United Spinal and is taking a lead policy role at the SCI Association of Iowa.
As Ms. Wheelchair Iowa, Wolff advocated for better insurance coverage for CRT — a top priority with United Spinal.
Wolff is also a member of the Olmstead Consumer Task Force, which serves as a watchdog for all Iowa legislation that could affect people with disabilities.
UsersFirst believes that the right wheelchairs, mobility scooters and seating systems are fundamental elements in maintaining the health, quality of life, and independence of people with disabilities. UsersFirst accomplishes its mission by:
- Nurturing self-advocacy
- Improving access to funding for mobility equipment
- Advocating on Capitol Hill and at the state level to bring the mobility concerns of our community to the attention of federal and state legislators
- Improving access to proper wheelchair evaluations
- Holding equipment providers and manufacturers accountable in maintaining the highest standards in customer service and support
To learn more about UsersFirst, please visit www.usersfirst.org.
About United Spinal Association
United Spinal is a national 501(c) (3) nonprofit membership organization formed in 1946 by paralyzed veterans and is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Americans with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D), including multiple sclerosis, spina bifida, ALS and post-polio. It played a significant role in writing the Americans with Disabilities Act, and made important contributions to the Fair Housing Amendments Act and the Air Carrier Access Act. Membership is free and is open to all individuals with SCI/D. United Spinal was instrumental in getting New York City to create sidewalk curb ramps and accessible public transportation that has been used as a model for many United States cities.
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