AIDD Commissioner Aaron Bishop Visits Arizona

Sonoran UCEDD Updates
Spring 2015

The Arizona DD Network had the unique opportunity to host the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) Commissioner Aaron Bishop and his staff over the last week.   AIDD administers the federal Developmental Disabilities (DD) Act which authorizes UCEDDs, Protection and Advocacy Agencies, and DD Planning Councils in every state.

African American Symposium on Disability. Jacy Farkas, Devin Soto and AIDD Commissioner Aaron BishopThe Commissioner visited all four DD Act programs in Arizona as well as participating in the Fourth Annual African American Symposium on Disability in Phoenix.   The symposium is an annual event bringing together community and national experts to discuss issues of importance to the African American disability community.   At the Symposium, Commissioner Bishop opened the conference with a keynote to the over two hundred attendees. He highlighted the work AIDD is doing to further diversity noting that conferences like the African American Symposium focusing on race and disability are uncommon. He urged attendees to continue the important work to increase diversity in our programs and services.   A well-attended listening session by AIDD provided a forum for community members to tell AIDD of the struggles of the African American community in accessing services and supports.   The Georgetown University UCEDD Associate Director and Director of the National Center on Cultural Competence, Tawara Goode, was also on hand to present the luncheon keynote address on Cultural and Linguistic Competence and to highlight the upcoming Leadership Academy.

On Monday, March 2, Commissioner Aaron Bishop spent the day in Southern Arizona with the Sonoran UCEDD at the University of Arizona.  Starting the day with an informal breakfast meeting with UCEDD faculty and staff, Commissioner Bishop then spent time touring several  Sonoran UCEDD Projects including the Patient Centered Medical Home Clinic, Project SEARCH AZ employment training site at Banner University Medical Center South, and the ArtWorks visual and expressive arts program pairing students and artists with DD.   A working lunch provided an opportunity for College of Medicine leadership in diversity and population health along with the UCEDD’s CAC members and trainees to discuss diversity initiatives and how we can begin to address disparities in data and services.  The Commissioner’s tour of the Sonoran UCEDD ended with a trip across the border to Sonora Mexico where we visited ARSOBO, a non-profit incubated by the UCEDD to sell low cost rugged wheelchairs, prosthetic devices and solar powered hearing aids while providing employment opportunities to individuals with disabilities.UCEDD staff with Commissioner Bishop

To view the conference program visit

For more information on the National Center for the Cultural Competence Leadership Academy visit

 For more information on AIDD visit