MEET THE TEAM
To set up a media interview, please contact Bill Pierce or Carl Whitaker
Notable Press Coverage
Institute for Patients' Rights
Matt Vallière is the Executive Director of the Patients Rights Action Fund (PRAF), a national, secular, non-partisan leader defending the rights of patients, people with disabilities, our elders, and the poor from the threat of legalized assisted suicide. PRAF is a 501(c)(4) not for profit corporation.
Mr. Vallière was born in Worcester, MA, did his undergraduate work at Thomas Aquinas College in California, and earned a master’s in Philosophy at Boston College. He has owned and managed various private businesses and worked both professionally and voluntarily for non-profit causes, most currently with PRAF since 2014. He proudly serves as a volunteer emergency medical services first responder. As an experienced caregiver to people with life-threatening disabilities, Mr. Vallière is a tireless advocate for the rights of patients and people with disabilities, both in the medical setting and the public square. He has been published in media outlets such as the New York Times, Washington Post, The Hill, Real Clear Politics, and Newsweek, among others.
He lives in Massachusetts with his wife and children.
Haben Girma is a human rights lawyer advancing disability justice. President Obama named her a White House Champion of Change. She received the Helen Keller Achievement Award, a spot on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, and TIME100 Talks. She believes disability is an opportunity for innovation, and she teaches organizations the importance of choosing inclusion. The New York Times, Oprah Magazine, and TODAY Show featured her memoir, Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law.
Human Rights Lawyer
Vincenzo Piscopo is the President/CEO of United Spinal Association, the largest membership organization of people with spinal cord injuries and disorders in the United States. Prior to United Spinal, Vincenzo was part of The Coca Cola Company, where he founded This-Ability BRG, and promulgated the company’s first disability inclusion agenda. Vincenzo founded the Wheels of Happiness Foundation, assisting people with motor disabilities in developing nations. Additionally, he is a member of the board of directors of Respectability, FODAC (Friends of the Disabled Adults and Children), and the Shepherd Center. Vincenzo has an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University and a MA in Creativity from Buffalo State College.
CALIF Founder & Executive Director
Not Dead Yet
Ingrid Tischer (White, she/her) is an organizational consultant and coach specializing in work-disability balance for disabled/aging/chronically ill workers and family caregivers. She was a Bay Area–based “accidental” fundraiser and non–profit manager for 30 years, beginning in a women’s free clinic on Haight Street, before moving on to Breast Cancer Action, Equal Rights Advocates, and Legal Aid at Work. For10 years, she served as the Development Director for Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), and worked to redirect philanthropy’s culture of compliance toward an equity-based culture of access. Her media advocacy includes working with the Labor Project for Working Families, MomsRising and The Impact Fund,
Her blog Tales From the Crip explores the emotional landscape of disability and systemic ableism that also informs her long-time activism on assisted suicide legislation. She lives with muscular dystrophy, respiratory insufficiency, and depression.