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Disability Summit Legislative Panel

To kick off his annual Disability & Mental Health Summit, state Rep. Dan Miller, D-Allegheny, announced that his bipartisan, bicameral legislative hearing will be held at 1 p.m. on Thursday, March 17 at St. Clair Hospital. The panel will include senators and representatives from across the area.

“I always appreciate my colleagues making the time to join us for this special event,” Miller said. “Too often self-advocates and advocates in the disability and mental health arena struggle to have their voices and concerns heard in Harrisburg. Their issues are not partisan, and improvements will only come with Democrats and Republicans working together. That’s why I am always excited to host our legislative panel.”

The discussion will be livestreamed at the bottom of this page, at and at and will focus on two areas:

The first prioritizes the challenges facing Direct Support Professionals, who provide critical services to individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Today, this workforce is experiencing an unprecedented crisis, with high turnover and almost a quarter of positions going vacant. Legislators will hear from people directly impacted by this crisis and we will look to explore options for stabilizing the DSP workforce and creating a more resilient system of support for the individuals it serves. Panelist expected include:

  • Mark Davis, President & CEO, PAR
  • LaToscha Charles, Resident Advisor, The Emmaus Community of Pittsburgh
  • Nancy Murray, President of The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh and Senior Vice President of Achieva
  • Elizabeth Humphrey, self-advocate
  • Sandi Shaeffer Sipes and daughter Kate Hall, impacted family and disability advocates
  • Ruth Siegfried, Founder and President/CEO, InVision Human Services
  • Patrick DeMico, Executive Director, The Provider Alliance

The second area of focus centers on the difficulty many Pennsylvanians still face in accessing mental health care. Our mental health care system is under tremendous pressure, with demand for services far exceeding the capacity of the system to respond. Legislators will hear from advocates who will bring light to the scope of the challenges. They will also discuss system responses that could be critical to addressing these unmet needs, including the use of telehealth and Alternative Payment Arrangements. Panelist expected include:

  • Laurie Barnett Levine, Chief Executive Officer, Mental Health America
  • Susan Evans, Director of Psychiatry and Mental Health Services, St. Clair Hospital
  • John Eliyas, Executive Director, Adult Behavior Health in Western PA, Merakey
  • Susan Coyle, Chief Executive Officer, Chartiers Center


This hearing is part of the Disability & Mental Health Summit, which will have hours of free information sessions available to the public on April 28 and another session day and a resource fair event to come. More information is available at or by contacting