Global Down Syndrome Foundation representatives receive award, accolades at national convention in Washington, D.C.

Inclusive education expert Patti McVay and self-advocate DeOndra Dixon recognized at National Down Syndrome Congress’ 40th Annual Convention

Patti McVay, director of education at the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, received the 2012 NDSC Education Award on July 21, 2012, in Washington, D.C. (With David Tolleson, Executive Director, National Down Syndrome Congress, left; and Jim Faber, Board President, National Down Syndrome Congress)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 24, 2012) – Two prominent representatives of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation participated in the National Down Syndrome Congress’ 40th Annual Convention in the nation’s capital. Patti McVay, a world-renowned expert and the Director of Education at the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, was recognized with the 2012 NDSC Education Award on July 21, 2012.

Patti McVay, who serves as Director of Education for the Crnic Institute and the Anna and John J. Sie Center for Down Syndrome at the University of Colorado School of Medicine Anschutz Medical Campus, is a leading expert in the field of inclusive education. McVay has taught special education at the high school level and was an elementary and post-secondary principal. She has experienced firsthand the difference that inclusive practices make in the lives of children who are differently-abled. Given the opportunity to work with thousands of children of all ages and abilities, their families and educators, McVay provides leadership and direction to create inclusive school communities for all students.

In April 2011, McVay was the featured speaker for the Global Down Syndrome Educational Series, where she received the Global Down Syndrome Foundation Award of Excellence in Education, and standing ovations from hundreds of teachers and parents. Her time is split between firsthand educational services at the Sie Center and research to improve programs in the school systems for students with Down syndrome.

“We are so proud of both these exceptional women, and honored to count them among our distinguished representatives of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation,” said Michelle Sie Whitten, executive director of the Global Down Syndrome Foundation. “Patti McVay is a beloved, invaluable member of our team, dedicated to tangibly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome through research, medical care, advocacy and most specifically through education. We are thrilled that our friends at NDSC agree that her contributions are worthy of the highest accolades.”

DeOndra Dixon

DeOndra Dixon, a Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award recipient and Global Down Syndrome Foundation Ambassador, travelled to D.C. to participate in the convention’s self-advocate programs, and in the inaugural “Day on the Hill” lobbying campaign, where self-advocates took Down syndrome issues to their representatives in Washington, D.C., on July 19. Increased funding for research and medical care benefitting people with Down syndrome was a main focus.

Down syndrome is the least-funded major genetic condition by our National Institutes of Health despite being the most frequent chromosomal disorder, occurring in one out of every 691 births. In 2011, Down syndrome received just $22 million in funding from a $33 billion NIH budget, meaning just .0007 percent of the government agency’s budget went to aiding the hundreds of thousands of people with Down syndrome in the United States. The Global Down Syndrome Foundation, along with the National Down Syndrome Congress and other partners, is dedicated to correcting this alarming funding disparity through advocacy and lobbying efforts like Day on the Hill, education initiatives like those pioneered by McVay, and increased research and medical care like that which takes place at the Crnic Institute and Sie Center.

About the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome
The Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome is the first medical and research institute with the mission to provide the best clinical care to people with Down syndrome, and to eradicate the medical and cognitive ill effects associated with the condition. Established in 2008, the Crnic Institute is a partnership between the University of Colorado School of Medicine, the University of Colorado Boulder, and Children’s Hospital Colorado. Headquartered on the Anschutz Medical Campus, the Crnic Institute includes the Anna and John J. Sie Center for Down Syndrome at the Children’s Hospital Colorado. It partners both locally and globally to provide life-changing research and medical care for individuals with Down syndrome. The Crnic Institute is made possible by the generous support of the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation, and relies on the Global Down Syndrome Foundation for fundraising, education, awareness and government advocacy. It is a research and medical-based organization without political or religious affiliation or intention.

About the Global Down Syndrome Foundation
The Global Down Syndrome Foundation is a public non-profit 501(c)(3) dedicated to significantly improving the lives of people with Down syndrome through research, medical care, education and advocacy. Formally established in 2009, the Foundation’s primary focus is to support the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome, the first academic home in the US committed to research and medical care for people with the condition. Fundraising and government advocacy that corrects the alarming disparity of national funding for people with Down syndrome is a major short-term goal. The Foundation organizes the Be Beautiful Be Yourself Fashion Show – the single largest annual fundraiser benefitting people with Down syndrome. Programmatically the Foundation organizes and funds many programs and conferences including the Dare to Play Football and Cheer Camps, Global Down Syndrome Educational Series, and Global Down Syndrome Multi-Language Resource Project. The Foundation is an inclusive organization without political or religious affiliation or intention.

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