Christine Brown is a LEND Self-Advocate Faculty Member and Clinical Research Assistant at Nisonger Center (since 2017).  She is also the co-chairperson of the NIDILRR-funded RRTC Disability Experienced Expert Panel.  Christine serves on the board for the Ohio Self Determination Association. On many occasions, she stops in my office to share exciting news or updates on what’s happening in the landscape of services and policy/legislation for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Knowing that you too should know Christine (she’s doing big things :)), I recently asked her to share her story.

Born in 1980, Christine attended Pickerington High School and graduated in 1999. She has one brother and lives in Columbus, OH.

What was it like growing up?
“I was treated both good and bad because some of my family members did not understand my disability.”

Is there any particular moment or memory that stands out for you?
“When I started advocating on policy issues at the local, state and federal levels and have taken the lead on issues since.”

Is there an achievement or contribution that you are most proud of? 
“I am proud of getting into a career like I do here at the Nisonger Center because it is a way to contribute and give ideas how to improve services for individuals and families and professionals in the DD field.”

What or who inspires/motivates you?
“The person who inspires me is Jeanne Stuntz because she is a great supporter to help me if I am going through any rough time or need someone to talk to.”

What was/is the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
“When my parents did not believe I could live out on my own but that was because they were not educated on supported Living Waiver Services.”

What else do you think other people should know about you?
“I am tenacious and never quit for the project I am working on until it is done and achieved. I also serve on the DODD Waiver Workgroup giving my option on what needs done and making sure with Rate increase NO ONE HAS SERVICE CUTS because I will not let that happen.”

Is there anything else you would like to share with me?
“I have been advocating for people with disabilities since I was 14 years old and continue to do it. If someone is dealing with something they call me up and I try to guide them in how to solve the situation.”

Resolution from the City of Pickerington
Steven R. Cooley Presidential Award from Ohio Self Determination Association
Individual of the Year from People First of Ohio
Adult Participant Award from Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities
Board Member Award of Service 2003-2010
Columbus Business First 2019 Top 40 under 40 honoree
Resolution given from the Ohio Senate recently for getting selected part of the Top 40 under 40

“As a LEND Self-Advocate faculty member, Christine brings the lived experience as an individual with a disability to teach to all of us.” – Dr. Paula Rabidoux, Nisonger Center Associate Director, LEND Director

Christine makes us all more effective at what we do by helping us to better incorporate the perspective of people with disabilities in all aspects of our work.” –Dr. Marc J. Tassé, Nisonger Center Director.

by: Tamara J. Hager