Brenda Premo, MBA

Brenda Premo

Director and Adjunct Associate Professor


Brenda continues her work as a champion for disability rights as founding director of Western University’s Center for Disability Issues and the Health Professions. Brenda oversees the day-to-day operations of HFCDHP, including: supervising the staff, new project development, budgeting, coordinating disability-related accommodations for staff with disabilities, directing services for students with disabilities and reviewing the University policies related to access.

She is a frequent lecturer on disability issues in the schools of Pharmacy, Allied Health and Osteopathic Medicine, as well as physician education programs in California. She also co-teaches a class on Disability Culture. She works directly with many managed care organizations’ consulting projects.


Brenda came to Western University after four years as director of the California State Department of Rehabilitation during Governor Pete Wilson’s administration. She was deputy director of the department’s Independent Living Section from 1991 until Governor Wilson appointed her director in 1994.

Her advocacy work accelerated when she was director of the Dayle McIntosh Center, an Independent Living Center in Orange County, California, from 1977 to 1991. Her work in civil and disability rights drew the attention of several prominent government leaders, including President Ronald Reagan, who named her to serve on the National Council on Disability in 1986. As a Council member she helped develop language for legislation, which evolved into the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), passed by Congress in 1990. She continued her ADA work while with the State Department of Rehabilitation, serving as a senior management lead in the public and private sectors on the ADA and its implications.

Her awards and commendations are many. The California State Senate honored her as “Woman of the Year” in 1988 and in 1998 she received the National Rehabilitation Awareness Foundation’s “Special Achievement Award.”


Pepperdine University, MBA
California State University Long Beach, CA, Bachelor of Arts in Social Science