Marilyn E. Saviola
Senior Vice President for Advocacy and the Women’s Health Program, Independence Care System
Leading by example, Ms. Saviola has helped countless people with disabilities to advocate for themselves. Her own self-advocacy began at a young age when she contracted polio. Residing in a hospital, her first efforts were to persuade its administration to provide the services she, and a group of young people with disabilities, needed to go out into the community and attend college. After fighting to attend college and earning a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling, Ms. Saviola went on to lead a premier independent living center and advocated for accessible healthcare and the home care assistance people with disabilities need to maintain their independence. Since 2008, she has been a leading voice for ensuring preventative health services for women and created a replicable model so health professionals are properly trained and people with disabilities can receive quality medical care. Ms. Saviola co-authored a report which sparked the New York City Council to allocate public funds to make women’s health care facilities more accessible and offer more competent care.