Deb Cotter '90 Recognized by Department of Health and Human Services

August 9, 2017
As part of a special HHS series, Deb shared her story of personal transformation and community empowerment.
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Congratulations to Deb Cotter '90, who was recently commemorated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service for her inspiring work empowering people with disabilities! As part of their "I Am HHS" video series, Deb shared her story and detailed the meaningful work that she's engaged in as Independent Living Program Specialist with the Administration for Community Living.

"I grew up in Maine as the quiet type," Deb said. "I came to Washington to work on Capitol Hill for then-Sen. George Mitchell of Maine. But as a seemingly healthy 24-year-old in 1992, I had a stroke due to a birth defect, which, among other things, partially paralyzed my left side. It was not the life I had envisioned. Despite physical therapy, getting 'back to normal' was impossible, and so I hit the restart button. I had to find a new normal.

"Rather than searching for the holy grail, a cure for my paralysis, I realized that I had to transform. I went to work for a variety of nonprofits, and later government programs, that support people with disabilities. I finally emerged as more self-directed, the CEO of my own life."

We're proud of Deb and the important work that she's done to support the independence and well-being of older adults and persons with disabilities. Read more about Deb and hear her story on the Department of Health and Human Service website.

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