Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy served 16 years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Rhode Island’s First District. Kennedy, like his father, Senator Ted Kennedy, and many of his extended family, consistently served and protected the most vulnerable Americans, including those who are differently-abled.
In 2007, Kennedy was instrumental in launching the first Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus as the Democratic Co-chair serving alongside Republican Co-Chair Congressman Pete Sessions. During his three years as Co-Chair, he succeeded in shining a light on the disparity of funding for research for people with Down syndrome and insisted that the best way to ensure positive change is to support self-advocates to visit and talk to legislators directly.
Among his many accomplishments as a lawmaker, Kennedy authored and was the lead sponsor of the Mental Health Parity & Addiction Equity Act of 2008, legislation which provides tens of millions of Americans who were previously denied care with access to mental health treatment. Congressman Kennedy has authored and co-sponsored dozens of bills to increase understanding and treatment of neurological and psychiatric disorders, including the National Neurotechnology Initiative Act, the Genomics and Personalized Medicine Act, the COMBAT PTSD Act, and the Alzheimer’s Treatment and Caregiver Support Act.
Congressman Kennedy is Co-Chair of One Mind for Research, dedicated to dramatic enhancements in funding and collaboration in research across all brain disorders in the next decade.
The Honorable Patrick Kennedy received the 2010 Quincy Jones Exceptional Advocacy Award on September 15, 2010 at the Foundation’s “It’s Time – Civil Rights Reception and Award Ceremony” in Washington, D.C.