Robert “Bobby” Silverstein has the distinct ability to analyze complex public policy issues and develop comprehensive, innovative, and common-sense legislative and regulatory solutions that meet the differing and often-conflicting needs of multiple stakeholders.
Bobby has been highly praised by senators and staff from both sides of the aisle, disability leaders, colleagues, and contacts for his principles, his dedication, and his tireless advocacy on behalf of individuals with disabilities. Among the accolades he has received are, “He is truly among the best and the brightest individuals in the field of public policy and in the field of disability policy he has no equal,” and "Bobby Silverstein is a giant in the disability policy arena and is highly regarded on Capitol Hill as well as throughout the nation as an authority on disability issues. His integrity, hard work, and brilliance, have made him an icon in the field…Bobby is the epitome of the consummate professional and is revered because he is thorough and analytical, yet thoughtful and compassionate."
Bobby’s clients include trade associations, voluntary health organizations, coalitions, and universities that provide services and support to people with disabilities. He focuses on federal regulatory and legislative issues in the areas of disability, healthcare, rehabilitation, employment, education, social security, and civil rights, and provides a range of services including:
- Legislative and regulatory advocacy
- Researching and analyzing key federal and state policies impacting persons with disabilities
- Drafting legislative and administrative policy language, and translating general policy recommendations and knowledge into specific, supported legislative, regulatory, and administrative recommendations, as well as policy products
- Conducting training and presenting keynote speeches, with an particular emphasis on translating complex legal issues into straightforward and easy-to-understand presentations
- Facilitating policy development through work with coalitions, strategic think tanks and focus groups, as well as in other policy-focused meetings
Bobby initially developed his consensus-building style while serving in various capacities in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, including staff director and chief counsel for the Subcommittee on Disability Policy of the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources (currently the Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions). There, he negotiated and drafted bipartisan, consensus legislation, and was known as the “behind-the-scenes architect” of more than 20 bills enacted into law, including the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act.
A prolific author, speaker, and trainer, Bobby has written several peer-reviewed journal articles and 100 papers and articles on public policy issues from a disability perspective, and has been the keynote speaker before national and state organizations. He has facilitated training sessions in more than 40 states on various public policy issues and the policymaking process. Bobby is the recipient of more than 10 national awards, including the Distinguished Services Award of the President of the United States.
From 1997-2007, Bobby served as the Director of the Center for the Study and Advancement of Disability Policy. From 1997-2000, he also served as an Associate Professor of Health Care Sciences at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and as an Associate Professor of Health Services Management and Policy at the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services.
J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, 1974
B.S., cum laude, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, 1971
District of Columbia
U.S. Supreme Court
Honors & Awards
“Special Recognition Award” Association of University Centers on Disabilities (September 21, 2005).
“Allen Meyers Award” Disability Forum of the American Public Health Association (November 2004).
“Public Interest Hall of Fame” OMB Watch; October 9, 2003.
"Certificate of Appreciation" Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families; Administration on Developmental Disabilities; February 10-13, 1999.
“Meritorious Achievement Award” National Down Syndrome Society; March 1999.
“The Distinguished Service Award” The President’s Committee on Mental Retardation; February 1999.
“Outstanding Public Service” The Council for Exceptional Children – CEC’s highest award for public service on behalf of exceptional children; November 1998.
“The Distinguished Service Award” United Cerebral Palsy Association; May 15, 1998.
“Outstanding Child Advocate Award” Family Voices; February 9, 1998.
“The Distinguished Services Award” National Easter Seal Society; November 22, 1997.
“The IDEA Hero” The Arc; November 7, 1997.
“The Distinguished Service Award of the President of United States” The President’s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities; Oct. 1993.
Memberships & Activities
Mediator, Appellate Mediation Program, United States Courts of the District of Columbia Circuit (June 2013-Present)
Board of Directors, American Association of People with Disabilities (June 2002 – June 2004)
American Bar Association Commission on Mental and Physical Disabilities (July 1999 – June 2001)
Executive Board, President' s Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities (November 1997 - December 2000)