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About Mental Health

For Immediate Release

Washington DC – Today Jennifer Mathis, Director of Policy & Legal Advocacy at the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law & Deputy Legal Director, joined the Biden Administration as a Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, where she will help lead its disability rights work.

During her 22 years at the Bazelon Center, which advances the rights of people with mental disabilities, Mathis supervised the Center’s policy advocacy and litigated complex lawsuits establishing the rights of individuals with mental disabilities. Her work promoted community integration and affording people with psychiatric disabilities the opportunity to lead the same kinds of lives as people without disabilities. Mathis helped coordinate the disability community’s efforts in the Supreme Court in the Olmstead case and has successfully litigated integration cases in states across the country.

“We are so thrilled that Jennifer has been appointed to this important and prestigious position at the Department of Justice. Over two decades, we have seen firsthand the positive impact Jennifer has had on federal policy and law protecting people with disabilities,” said Holly O’Donnell, CEO for the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law.

“Jennifer has worked tirelessly to improve the community integration, health care, employment, housing, education, and voting rights of individuals with psychiatric disabilities, and we know she’ll continue to advance disability rights when she moves to the Civil Rights Division,” said Ira Burnim, Bazelon’s legal director.

Mathis previously left the Bazelon Center for one year to serve as special assistant to U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Commissioner Chai Feldblum in 2010-2011; in that role, she helped draft regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) and the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act (GINA).

Ms. Mathis holds an A.B. from Harvard University, an M.A. from New York University, and a J. D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

The Bazelon Center is currently recruiting staff who embody Jennifer’s commitment to civil rights and excellence in advocacy. J  December 6, 2021