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Mary Lou Breslin has been a disability civil rights law and policy advocate for over thirty–five years. In 1979 she co–founded the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), a leading national disability rights law and policy center, and presently serves as senior policy advisor with DREDF directing the organization's healthcare initiative.

During her career she has served as a policy consultant, researcher, trainer and lecturer on disability and related civil rights topics. Ms. Breslin taught graduate courses at the University of San Francisco, Masagung Graduate School of Management, and an undergraduate research seminar at the University of California at Berkeley. For eight years she served as editor and researcher with the Disability Rights and Independent Living Project of the Regional Oral History Office of the Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley. She has written and published on various disability rights topics, most recently on health care and disability.

In 2009 Ms. Breslin received the community leadership award from the San Francisco Foundation. She received the prestigious Henry B. Betts award in 2002 for improving the lives of people with disabilities and the Paul A. Hearne Award from the Physical and Mental Disability Rights Committee of the American Bar Association in 2000.