Laurie Ahern is the President of Disability Rights International (DRI) and oversees all of the day-to-day operations of the organization. 

Additionally, she conducts human rights investigations and is the co-author of Torture not Treatment, United States; Torment not Treatment, Serbia; Behind Closed Doors, Turkey; and Hidden Suffering, Romania; and many human rights and law journal articles.

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Laurie Ahern

As a journalist, she has written op-eds/letters for DRI, published in The New York Times, The Guardian, Huffington Post and The Washington Post. 

Prior to joining Disability Rights International, Ahern was the co-founder and co-director of the National Empowerment Center, Inc. (NEC), for eleven years. 

A national, federally funded recovery and technical assistance center, it was created to assist those diagnosed with mental illness and their families. 

Ahern was the editor of the award-winning NEC newsletter and co-created the Empowerment Model of Recovery and the PACE model, non-coercive alternatives to the traditional, psychiatric medical model.

She has conducted workshops, given talks and organized conferences for consumers/survivors/users, families and mental health providers to promote recovery. 

Ahern is the former Vice President of the National Association of Rights, Protection and Advocacy (NARPA) and editor of the NARPA newsletter, The Tenet. She was also a founding member of the global organization INTAR – International Network Towards Alternatives and Rights-Based Supports. 

Her work has been featured in many professional journals, in the media, and has been translated into more than a dozen languages. She is the recipient of the National Mental Health Association’s Clifford Beers Award and the Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law’s Advocacy Award. 

And prior to her position at the NEC, she was the managing editor of several newspapers and freelance writer for The Boston Globe and Associated Press and has won national awards for her investigative and editorial writing and reporting.

Ahern is also the winner of the 2015 Purpose Prize. Please see video below.