About the Center on Disability
The Center on Disability at PHI has an experienced and technically strong staff. Individuals have skills and experience in project management, program development, research, program evaluation, the Americans with Disabilities Act, independent living, provision of technical assistance, dissemination and knowledge translation, and quality control.
Our staff provide local, state and national training on a variety of disability related topics. Some of our training topics include:
- Disability Awareness and Ableism
- Overview of the ADA
- Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals
- Effective Communication
- Facility Accessibility Under the ADA
- Facility Accessibility Under the California Building Code
- ADA and Employment
- Health Care and the ADA
- ADA in Correctional Settings
- Accessibility of Pedestrian Facilities in the Right-of-Way
- ADA in Higher Educational Settings
Meet the trainers:
Jerri Davison is the Director of the Center on Disability housed at the Public Health Institute. Jerri has spent her career in the disability rights field.
After earning her law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law, Jerri served as a staff attorney with the state’s Protection and Advocacy System. There she fought cuts to Medicaid Home and Community Based Services, investigated institutional abuse and neglect, and advocated for the full participation of people with disabilities in their local communities. She also created and published resources and reports about navigating and dismantling barriers to access and inclusion.
Next, Jerri transitioned to Able South Carolina, a Center for Independent Living, where she spent a decade promoting equity, access, and inclusion through grassroots efforts. As the organization’s Senior VP and Chief Program Officer, she oversaw over two dozen programs, trained national audiences, and helped build and support state coalitions and advance legislative action to address the marginalization of people with disabilities.
Jerri’s areas of expertise include Olmstead and the Americans with Disabilities Act’s integration mandate, the overuse of guardianship, and employment and healthcare access for individuals with disabilities. As a person with psychiatric disabilities, Jerri is passionate about the importance of people with disabilities leading the way in developing any policies or practices that impact them.
Jan Garrett currently serves as the Deputy Director for the Center on Disability at the Public Health Institute (PHI). She is the lead trainer, oversees all the Center’s Training and TA efforts, and approves all curricula.
Jan has a BA from Scripps College in Claremont, California, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa. She earned her Juris Doctorate from the University of Oklahoma College of Law. She also received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from the University of Oklahoma.
Before joining PHI, Jan worked as a disability civil rights lawyer and served as the Executive Director of the Berkeley Center for Independent Living (CIL). A CIL is a disability-led organization that provides services for people with all types of disabilities. In her prior work and work with the Center, Jan has over 25 years of experience providing guidance and training on the ADA and other disability rights laws. As a person with a disability, Jan has a deeply personal understanding of why disability civil rights are so important.
Don Risdall has been providing technical assistance on the ADA and training for the Center on Disability since 2004. Don believes the ADA is about freedom. The freedom to pursue opportunities to contribute to and benefit from society. It is through the ADA that an otherwise qualified individual with a disability is guaranteed those opportunities. The ADA is a finite collection of words to be applied to an infinite number of situations. Call 1 (800) 949-4232 to explore how the ADA might apply to yours.
Prior to working at the Center on Disability, Don had completed a graduate degree in education from the University of California while providing residential services for adults with developmental disabilities.
Pat Swartz is a Technical Assistance Specialist with the Center on Disability. She has provided technical assistance and training on the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) to people with disabilities, employers, architects, and business owners on rights and responsibilities under the ADA for over 8 years. Pat is a Certified ADA Coordinator (ADAC).
Pat holds a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in education. Before working for the Center on Disability, Pat spent her career as a special education teacher, an elementary school teacher and a school administrator. She was also a program manager for a nonprofit, and an Individual Service Provider contracted by the California Department of Rehabilitation. Pat also has experience as a Certified Trainer with the California School-Age Consortium (Cal SAC).
Pat has participated in Non-Violent Communication Trainings through Bay Area NVC. She holds a Mental Health First Aid USA Certificate through the Cypress Resilience Project, a Mediation and Conflict Resolution Training Certificate through SEEDS Community Resolution Center and a Human Resource Management Certificate from the Human Resource Department of California State University, East Bay Continuing Education.
About the Founder:
Erica C. Jones, MPH, is the Founder and former Executive Director of the Center on Disability. She served as the Principal Investigator and Director of the Pacific ADA Center from 1991-2022. She is a nationally recognized expert in the Americans with Disabilities Act, has been the Director of Public Affairs for the President's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities, has led research projects as well as service programs, and served on a number of national and international Boards concerned with issues related to individuals with disabilities.