AAHD honors Andrés Gallegos legacy

Photo of Andres Gallegos.

The American Association on Health and Disability regrets to announce the passing of AAHD board member, Andrés Gallegos on December 1, 2023. Andrés was a passionate disability rights and healthcare advocate, and esteemed member of the AAHD board of directors since 2021. He founded and directed the national disability rights practice of the Chicago law firm, Robbins, Salomon, and Patt, Ltd, where he fought discrimination in the healthcare system, hospitals, and nursing homes, and worked to improve services available for people with disabilities at the municipal level. He served as Chairman of the National Council on Disability (NCD), an independent federal agency charged with being the voice for the 64 million people with disabilities in the United States.

AAHD Board Chair Rick Rader shared his appreciation for Andrés’ partnership: ”I was blessed to have been both a friend and a colleague. His mentorship while I was a member of the NCD was a lesson in the advantages of having a leader both well versed in the lived experience and the intricate pathways to creating policies that reflect the best possible outcomes.”

“Andrés was a phenomenal advocate, and his loss will be felt by the disability community,” offered Karl Cooper, Executive Director of AAHD. “I appreciated the support that he showed AAHD in serving on our board and the important role he played in our leadership transition earlier this year.”

Across a lifetime of service, he was a member of the Statewide Independent Living Council of Illinois and acted as a board member of the ADA 25 Advancing Leadership Institute in Chicago – a non-profit working to increase disability leadership. In 2015, the American Association of People with Disabilities honored him with the Paul G. Hearne Leadership award for his work to support the disability community.

He had been outspoken about his own experiences of healthcare discrimination and brought national attention to the barriers which prevent people with disabilities from achieving health equity. We will all continue to learn from his deep legacy of service and send our condolences to his loved ones. 

In honor of his years of advocacy for people with disabilities, Andrés’ family encourages you to donate in his name to Access Living, the American Association of People with Disabilities, or your local Center for Independent Living.