Speaker’s Bio

Roger Bearden

Roger Bearden is Deputy Commissioner and General Counsel at the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities. He previously served as Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s Special Counsel for Olmstead, where he was responsible for directing the activities of the Olmstead Plan Development and Implementation Cabinet, and as Chair of the New York State Commission on Quality of Care and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities.

Prior to joining the Cuomo administration, Mr. Bearden served as Director of the Disability Law Center of the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest in New York City. He was responsible for supervising project directors and program staff, and served as lead attorney on major law reform cases, including cases seeking community integration for persons with mental illness residing in nursing homes and adult homes.

Mr. Bearden also served in 2009 as Chief Health Counsel to New York State Senator Thomas K. Duane, who was Chair of the Senate Health Committee. In that role, Mr. Bearden led Senate staff negotiations on the Family Health Care Decisions Act, which allows family members or other surrogates to make major medical decisions for incapacitated individuals who did not previously designate a health care agent or provide instructions.

Mr. Bearden graduated from Brown University and Harvard Law School before clerking for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.