Board of Directors

Our board is a group of volunteers from our community who work to ensure that PCAA remains steadfast and committed to our values as we seek to realize disability justice. We are devoted to real disability representation, and we require that at least half of our board members self-identify as disabled.

Rachel Kallem Whitman, Secretary

Rachel smiles at the camera, she is wearing a fantastic sun hatRachel Kallem Whitman is a doctoral candidate at Duquesne University in the Educational Leadership Program (Ed.D.). Her research focuses on exploring the relationship between disability, identity, narrative, and agency. Rachel earned a B.A. in psychology from the University of Virginia and her M.S.Ed. from Duquesne University. Rachel has worked as an advocate and educator in public school systems, institutions of higher education, and hospital settings supporting youth with disabilities. She has presented to diverse audiences across the country sharing her experience living with bipolar disorder and emphasizing the need to empower young adults with disabilities to become leaders of their own lives. Rachel is an avid writer who has published articles, short stories, poems, essays, and op-eds about our cultural understanding of disability vs. ability and the subsequent consequences of ableism (disability oppression). Rachel’s work has appeared in such publications as The Mighty, Medium, Trib Live, Wordgathering, and What Are You Thinking’s Stigma Project. She has also partnered with Harvard University and the University of Virginia to publish pieces about the power and relevance of disability culture. Rachel credits her success to the support of her loving partner, her everlasting passion for advocacy, a house full of pets, smoked Gouda, and her unshakeable sense of humor.

Dr. Bethany Ziss

Bethany smiles at the cameraBethany Ziss wears multiple hats relating to disability and refuses to take any of them off. She identifies as disabled and began advocacy as the student concerns representative at Bryn Mawr College. After graduating with a degree in molecular biology, she taught for several years in a residential school for students with ADHD and learning disabilities before enrolling at Jefferson Medical College. She completed her residency in pediatrics at West Virginia University Children’s Hosptial and her fellowship in Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at the Greenville Health System in South Carolina, where she also served on the hospital Accessibility Committee.

Dr. Ziss currently works as a Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrician at the Children’s Institute, where she cares for children with developmental disabilities. She also serves as secretary for the Alliance for Disability in Health Care Education, an interdisciplinary group of health care providers working to increase disability-related content in health education training programs. Her hobbies include Scottish Country Dance and cooking.

Isaiah Noreiga

Isaiah Noreiga is a black disabled self-advocate that works to reimagine and rebuild the mental health industrial complex.

Isaiah is a doctoral candidate in Clinical-Community Psychology (Psy.D) at Point Park University.

Isaiah also serves by mentoring the youth, coaching soccer, and collaborating with several grassroots organizations throughout the city of Pittsburgh.

Lisa Frank

As EVP for Strategic Campaigns at SEIU Healthcare, Lisa Frank engages frontline caregivers and healthcare advocates, and consumers in initiatives to ensure that our massive investment in healthcare results in our good health. She does this by helping people affected by healthcare policy to have a seat at the table where decisions are made.

Over two decades of organizing, Lisa has helped tens of thousands of homecare workers and hospital workers to unite and raise their voices, to improve their jobs and to partner with the people they serve. She has sued providers who steal workers’ wages, built campaigns to connect Pennsylvania’s uninsured to the fight for Medicaid expansion, led the Fight for $15.00 to put poverty on the nation’s health agenda, and played a leading role in the passage and preservation of the ACA.

Lisa also serves on the boards of UNITE, Pennsylvania United, the Pennsylvania Health Access Network, the Pennsylvania Association of Retired Americans, and is a member of the Action Council of Planned Parenthood.

Alyssa Cypher

Bio coming soon!

Raphael Nash

Bio coming soon!