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Marilyn Saviola

Senior Vice President, Advocacy and the Women’s Health
Access Program, Independence Care System
Presentation Abstract :

Ms. Saviola will be part of the panel session titled: Access and Education around Healthcare for Women with Physical Disabilities

Speaker bio:

Marilyn E. Saviola is a nationally recognized disability rights advocate with a 40-year history of fighting to improve the lives of people with disabilities in New York City, particularly by advocating for the rights of people with physical disabilities to live at home, in the community, as independently as possible.  


Ms. Saviola began her career as a Rehabilitation Counselor at Goldwater Memorial Hospital.  For 11 years, she helped people with severe physical disabilities to meet the challenges of leaving the hospital to move out into the community. A post-polio survivor who grew up in Goldwater Hospital herself, Ms. Saviola brought to that position not only her professional credentials—a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from New York University—but also her own personal experience.  
From 1983 to 1998, Ms. Saviola took up the reins as Executive Director of the Center for Independence of the Disabled in NY.  Under her leadership, CIDNY became a premier independent living center, recognized for its expertise in advocacy and services for people with disabilities.  In 1998, Ms. Saviola brought her passion and deep knowledge of home- and community-based services to Independence Care System (ICS), a Medicaid managed long-term care program for people with physical disabilities.  As Senior Vice President of Advocacy, Ms. Saviola intervenes, often in crisis situations, on behalf of ICS members with the many systems that impact their lives.   

Most recently, Ms. Saviola has overseen the creation of the Women’s Health Program at ICS.  Working in partnership with select health care institutions to address the numerous barriers that prevent access to care, the Program works to ensure that women with physical disabilities get the preventive, genderspecific health services they need.  The Breast Cancer Screening Project for Women with Physical Disabilities was ICS’s first women’s health initiative. It has been funded since its inception by the Greater NYC Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which chose the Project in 2010 as “Grantee of the Year.”   

As a community advocate, Marilyn has brought her unique and powerful voice to the work of many advisory committees, organizations and professional associations.  She has served as Past Chair of the Manhattan Borough Disability Advisory Group, Board Member or the Association of Independent Living Centers in New York, Member of the New York City Medicaid Managed Care Task Force and Board Member of Disabled in Action.