Professor, The University of Texas Health Science Center & Baylor College of Medicine
Lex Frieden is one of Americaâ€™s pre-eminent disability activists and leaders of the independent living movement. He is Professor of Biomedical Informatics and Rehabilitation at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. He is also Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine. From 2002 to 2006, he served as Chairman of the National Council on Disability (NCD), a presidentially appointed body. He was the 1998 winner of the prestigious Henry B. Betts Award for outstanding achievement in disability rights. In 1983, he was recognized as one of the Ten Outstanding Young Americans. Frieden directs the Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU) program at TIRR Memorial Hermann, formerly The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research, which is now part of the Memorial Hermann Healthcare System in Houston, Texas.
Frieden was one of the major figures behind the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. In his capacity of Executive Director of NCD in the mid-1980s, reporting to presidentially appointed Council members, notably including Vice Chairman Justin Dart, Frieden oversaw the work of Robert Burgdorf in writing the first drafts of what was to become the ADA. The Council issued a major report, Toward Independence, to further the effort along. The ADA became law on July 26, 1990.