Mary Lou Breslin has been a disability rights law and policy advocate and analyst for over thirty-five years. In 1979 she co-founded the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF), a leading national civil rights law and policy center, and presently serves as senior policy advisor with DREDF directing the organization’s healthcare initiatives.
During her career she has served as a policy consultant, researcher, and trainer, and has lectured on disability and related civil rights topics. Ms. Breslin taught graduate courses at the University of San Francisco, Masagung Graduate School of Management. 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 conducted research, and written and published on various disability rights topics, most recently on health care and disability.
In 2015, Ms. Breslin accepted the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Award from the University of California, San Francisco acknowledging DREDF’s advocacy on behalf of people with developmental disabilities. Encore.org (formerly Civic Ventures) named her a Fellow in 2013. She received the community leadership award from the San Francisco Foundation in 2009 and the prestigious Henry B. Betts award in 2002 for improving the lives of people with disabilities. The Physical and Mental Disability Rights Committee of the American Bar Association awarded Ms. Breslin and DREDF the Paul A. Hearne Award in 2000.