Disability Advocates Team Members

Team Members

Nancy J. Murray, President, The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh

Nancy J. Murray, M.S. is the President of The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh at ACHIEVA. She has more than 35 years of experience in the disability field in the areas of public policy, advocacy, family supports, supports coordination, healthcare and state government serving people with disabilities and their families. Nancy’s primary area of interest and study is the resilience of families of children and adults with disabilities and the long term impact of caring for a person with a disability on a family. She has conducted numerous seminars and written numerous articles for families and professionals on disability issues.  

She is the Project Director of both ACHIEVA’s Disability Healthcare Initiative which is focused on access to healthcare for people with disabilities and “A Home of My Own” project which is working with families to blend government and natural resources to create more affordable housing for people with disabilities.  Nancy has served as a founder and coordinator of the Down Syndrome Center at Children’s Hospital (UPMC) of Pittsburgh, the Director of Supports Coordination at Staunton Clinic in Pittsburgh and the Western Area Director of the Office of Developmental Programs in Pennsylvania. 

Nancy received her B.S. from Gettysburg College and her M.S. from the University of Pittsburgh

Julie Trbovich, Director of Advocacy and Family Supports

Julie Trbovich is the is Director of Advocacy and Family Supports. Over the last 20 years, her career has focused on assisting and advocating for individuals with disabilities and navigating through the many systems to advocate for her son with significant mental health challenges.  Julie previously worked as a special education teacher in the public school sector and at a long-term psychiatric facility for children.  She also held the position of Program Manager for children and families with a statewide mental health advocacy organization.  Her passion is being a part of the challenges to change the culture, educate individuals on the importance of advocacy so they can be self-advocates and improve systems for families and their loved ones. In her different roles, she had the opportunity to create and deliver presentations to school districts, education staff and students, parent groups, law enforcement and the general population.  Julie participates on several committees and workgroups in the southwestern Pennsylvania region which aides her in keeping up-to-date on current issues and best practices.  

Julie received her B.S.from Duquesne University.

ACHIEVA Disability Advocates

Lori Capperis

Lori Capperis started advocating for individuals with disabilities when her daughter, Madison, was born with Down syndrome and later diagnosed with ADHD, sensory issues and Grave’s Disease.  Lori has also become an advocate for her husband who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis Relapsing Remitting. Lori has taken her personal experiences and is now a disability advocate for ACHIEVA.  She serves on committees for a local Intermediate Unit Task Force, the Local Intermediate Interagency Coordinating Council (LICC) and Quality Management for Beaver County. In addition to her disability advocacy work, Lori is the Beaver County IM4Q (Independent Monitoring for Quality) Coordinator.

Several years ago, Lori created a nonprofit organization, Madison's Miracle Makers (after her daughter), raising thousands of dollars for Down syndrome and Multiple Sclerosis Awareness, through various community sales and events.

Amy Guthrie

Amy Guthrie has been an advocate with ACHIEVA since 2006. When her son was very young, she realized she didn’t know what questions to ask to get answers to help him.  An ACHIEVA disability advocate was knowledgeable and helpful.  Now, Amy is honored to support and assist families across the southwestern region in navigating the systems, having their concerns addressed and their questions answered.  Amy works with families addressing specific concerns, such as with Special Education and Intellectual Disability (ID) supports and services.  She also works on systemic issues, serving on the Local Task Forces for Intermediate Units #2 and #3 providing resources to families whose children receive Special Education, as well as information on legislative issues of interest to the disability community.  

Amy received her B.S. from Earlham College and her M.S. from Duquesne University.

Debbie Leggens

Debbie Leggens started her career in advocacy when son, Scott, was born with Down syndrome and also diagnosed with a pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), one of the four autism spectrum disorders (ASD).  She has more than 24 years working as one of ACHIEVA's disability advocates.  Although Debbie's primary focus is educational advocacy she is involved with transition to adult life and adult systems advocacy. 

She currently sits on The Arc of Pennsylvania SAGA (Systems Advocacy and Government Affairs) committee; Westmoreland County Local Task Force for the Rights of Education Intermediate Unit #7 and the Office of Dispute Resolution Stakeholders Council.  Debbie is also active with the Westmoreland County Autism Society; Westmoreland County Epilepsy Foundation Support Group and Parent to Parent of Pennsylvania. Through her community involvement, she provides trainings to school districts and families focusing on advocacy and disability awareness.

Regina Sciullo

Regina Sciullo has more than 20 years experience in advocacy including educational, transition to adulthood, family supports and adult and systems advocacy.  Her career in advocacy began when son Nick, was born with Down syndrome. In addition to being a disability advocate for ACHIEVA, Regina was instrumental in starting a Sibs Group in Westmoreland County - a support for siblings that have a brother or sister with a disability. She is involved with Family Resource Network and Supports (FRNS), a disability support group and Up with Downs, a group providing supports for families of children with Down syndrome. 

She serves on the Westmoreland County Human Rights committee; Pennsylvania Governor's Advisory Committee for People with Disabilities and Westmoreland County Transition Council and the Local Task Force Westmoreland County Intermediate Unit # 7. Regina is also a peer supporter for Parent to Parent; a member of Westmoreland County Special Olympics and a trained surrogate parent for Westmoreland County Intermediate Unit #7 which provides trainings to local school districts.  She also serves on the advisory council for St. Vincent College Bearcat B.E.S.T. transition program.  Regina, along with son Nick, enjoy addressing first year students at the University of Pittsburgh Medical School through the Down Syndrome Center of Western Pennsylvania.