Rose Marie Toscano, a professor in the Department of Liberal Studies at RIT’s National Technical Institute for the Deaf, has been named chairperson of the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
Sheila Carey, executive director of the New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, said Toscano was chosen because she has been a longstanding and dedicated advocate for people with disabilities and their families. Her previous work on the council was called “exemplary” and she remains highly respected by the staff, membership and state agencies and providers they work with.
Toscano, of Rochester, has served on the council since 2000, and has been vice chair since 2008. More than 30 people representing consumers or family members, universities or state agencies serve on the council and meet quarterly in Albany. Although she works at NTID, Toscano says her interest in the council is both professional and personal. She has a 27-year-old son on life support.
“I am honored and humbled to be selected chair,” Toscano says. “I get to represent people with disabilities and their families within New York State and hopefully make some significant changes in the service delivery system,” she says. Her two-year term expires in July 2014.
The council is not an advisory board, but an entity that makes fiscal decisions and Toscano, as chairperson, will be responsible for representing the views and priorities to members of the executive branch, state agencies and members of the federal government.
“With some organizations, the role of chair is symbolic; however for the DDPC, the role of chair is absolutely essential on multiple levels,” Carey wrote to NTID President Gerry Buckley. “This individual is involved in every program we design, award and implement. … Our members are extremely excited and energized by Gov. Cuomo making this appointment, as we fully appreciate the talent and leadership Professor Toscano brings to this role. By serving the council, she will also serve all people with disabilities and their families and will continue to be a credit and invaluable asset to RIT.”
“We are very proud of Rose Marie’s numerous accomplishments and this recent news,” Buckley says. “She is a model of service for all of us.”
Toscano was co-chair of the national Task Force on Health Care Careers for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Community, which recently issued findings outlining barriers deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals face in the health care industry and recommended strategies for increasing the numbers and success of these individuals.