January 8, 2024

Tameka Citchen-Spruce Receives 2023 Disability Section Advocacy Award from the American Public Health Association

Ms. Citchen-Spruce is a dedicated disability justice activist, storyteller, and independent filmmaker. 

Tameka Citchen-Spruce holding her award
Tameka Citchen-Spruce holding her award

Since 1992, the American Public Health Association (APHA) Disability Section has recognized researchers, clinicians, and advocates who have made significant contributions to the disability field and have worked to improve the lives of people with disabilities nationally and internationally. Past winners have included well-known leaders in the field of disability, including Ed Roberts, Judy Heumann, and Dr. Lisa Iezzoni. Tameka Citchen-Spruce recently joined this distinguished group as the recipient of the 2023 Disability Section Advocacy Award, which was presented during the APHA 2023 Annual Meeting and Expo in Atlanta, Georgia.

Ms. Citchen-Spruce is a dedicated disability justice activist, storyteller, and independent filmmaker. She is a Project Director for the AHEAD-DC RRTC (Advancing Health Equity for Adults with Disabilities from Diverse Communities Rehabilitation Research and Training Center) and she currently serves as the Co-Director of LEAD (Leadership Engagement and Advocacy Development) for the Michigan Disability Rights Coalition (MDRC). LEAD aims to enhance the visibility of people of color in disability rhetoric, training, and storytelling by creating programming to develop their advocacy skills as part of the MDRC’s long-term commitment to dismantling institutionalized White supremacy.

Tameka Citchen-Spruce has always been very active in the policy realm. In 2020, as a board member for Warriors on Wheels of Metropolitan Detroit, she worked to increase voting access for people with disability. In collaboration with the city of Detroit, she was able to launch an information campaign culminating in her testifying at a hearing for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights. She was also selected to be a Disability Delegate at the Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Conference and she is a proud member of the National Black Disability Coalition.

Ms. Citchen-Spruce has received numerous awards throughout her career, including the 2020 Cookie Gant Spirit Award, the 2022 Betty Williams Champion of Equal Opportunity Award from the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities, and the 2021 Arc Advocate of the Year award. Ms. Citchen-Spruce has also been selected for fellowships by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the Public Allies of Metro Detroit, and the Detroit Equity Action Lab at the Damon J. Keith Center at the Wayne State University Law School.

Tameka Citchen-Spruce was not the only member of the CDHW who made their mark at the APHA 2023 Annual Meeting and Expo. The  AHEAD-DC RRTC grant was represented by several other investigators who displayed posters and delivered presentations.