Andy Imparato is the Executive Director of Disability Rights California (DRC). DRC is the federally funded legal services agency that serves Californians with disabilities across the age spectrum and across disability. The organization offers a wide array of advocacy services, working in litigation, legal representation, investigations, public policy, and providing information, advice, referral, and community outreach to advance the rights of Californians with disabilities in education, employment, independence, health, and safety. DRC is the largest disability rights organization in the nation.
Andy served as an appointee of President Biden as one of 12 public members of a federal COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force that made recommendations to the President and his COVID-response team on how to advance health equity during the ongoing pandemic and during preparations for the next pandemic. More recently, Andy has helped DRC fight for self-determination for unhoused people with mental health disabilities in the context of Governor Newsom’s CARE Court proposal.
Andy arrived at DRC in 2020, following a high impact career in Washington, DC, in disability advocacy and policy. While in Washington, he served as the Disability Policy Director for Chairman Tom Harkin on the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; as President and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities; as Executive Director of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities; as General Counsel and Director of Policy at the National Council on Disability, and as an attorney advisor to Commissioner Paul Steven Miller at the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. He was a key leader in the coalition that came together to support the ADA Amendments Act in 2008 and helped negotiate the disability provisions in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act of 2014.
Andy represented the disability rights community on the Executive Committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights from 2003-2010 and is a member of the National Advisory Committee for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Health Policy Research Scholars. He has chaired the planning committee for four international summits on disability employment between 2016 and 2020, organized by Senator Harkin’s Institute at Drake University, and is on the Board of Directors of the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.
Andy grew up in Southern California, received a B.A. in Humanities from Yale College and is a graduate of Stanford Law School. He has received a number of honors and awards, including the Ten Outstanding Young Americans Award from the US Junior Chamber of Commerce; the Henry Viscardi Achievement Award from the Viscardi Center in New York; the Corey Rowley National Advocacy Award from the National Council on Independent Living; and the Secretary’s Highest Achievement Award from Secretary of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt. He has received appointments to the Maryland Statewide Independent Living Council from Maryland Governors Ehrlich and O’Malley and to the California State Council on Developmental Disabilities from Governor Newsom. He was also appointed by US Senator Tom Daschle to the bipartisan Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Advisory Panel, where he helped develop new models for disability benefits that did not create barriers to employment. His perspective is informed by his lived experience with bipolar disorder.