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Laura Remson Mitchell

 

LAURA REMSON MITCHELL is a public policy analyst, consultant and writer who specializes in disability and health-care issues. From May 1990 through mid-November 2000, she  served as Government Issues Coordinator for the Multiple Sclerosis California Action Network (MS-CAN), a coalition of the California chapters of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society that she conceived and developed into a respected voice on behalf of people with MS in particular and those with disabilities in general.  In 1999, she joined other disability rights advocates in forming the California Disability Alliance and became a member of that group's executive committee.

Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1978, Mitchell served as a member of the MS Society's National Services Advisory Council (NSAC) from the council's inception until October 1997, when her term expired. In 1990, the Southern California Chapter of the Society recognized her efforts as an MS peer counselor with the Shevy Healy Outstanding Achievement Award for Exceptional Service, and her professional work as a writer earned her an MS Society media award (for a magazine article on press coverage of disability-related stories). Earlier, she won the 1984/85 Award of Excellence for professional fiction from Kaleidoscope Magazine, an international fine arts and literary magazine by people with disabilities.

Mitchell has served on the steering committee of California Citizens for the "Right to Know" and for many years represented MS-CAN on the steering committee of Health Access. Both organizations are consumer coalitions related to health care. She also was a founding member of the California Access to Specialty Care Coalition steering committee. In addition, Mitchell served as health-and-welfare co-chair (Southern California) for the California Association of Persons with Handicaps (CAPH*) and chaired the health and legislative committees for the California Disability Leadership Forum. In 1994, she coordinated the Southern California Disability Campaign for Health-Care Reform, and she continues to work for a more disability-sensitive health system. In February 1995, she joined the board of the Western Law Center for Disability Rights (now the Disability Rights Legal Center). In 1996, the Los Angeles County Commission on Disabilities presented her with its "Access Award" in recognition of her "ardent advocacy on behalf of disability rights, and, in particular, in the pursuit of an equitable health-care policy."

A magna cum laude graduate of California State University at Northridge, where she majored in journalism and minored in economics, Mitchell has worked as a newspaper reporter, copy editor and college journalism instructor in addition to writing free-lance newspaper and magazine articles on a variety of political, economic, and disability-related subjects. In 1970, she became the first woman accepted for membership in the Los Angeles Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. and she served as the first woman board member and officer of the chapter. In addition, she served eight years as legislative consultant on government finance for the League of Women Voters of California. In 1984, the League named her as its first consultant emeritus.

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* Now known as Californians for Disability Rights (CDR).

This biography was last revised on Dec. 5, 2009.


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