Marcie Roth Bio

Image of Marcie Roth wearing Red glasses , head titilted, smiling.

Marcie Roth is a global disability rights leader and an expert on whole community inclusive emergency and disaster management.  Her focus on people with disabilities in disasters began in the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, serving as an advisor to the White House on the rights and urgent needs of disaster survivors with disabilities living in the area around ground zero.

Roth is the CEO of the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies and President of Inclusive Emergency Management Strategies LLC, providing local, national and global disability rights leadership through a variety of contracted and collaborative projects committed to a shared mission of equal access and full inclusion for the whole community before, during and after disasters.

Her primary focus is on capacity building for community leaders and emergency management stakeholders working together to prepare for emergencies and recover from disasters by providing tools, resources, training and technical assistance to prepare for, respond to, recover from and mitigate all hazards, optimizing accessibility as a critical lifesaving and life-sustaining foundation for building and sustaining community-wide resilience.


Ms. Roth was appointed by President Obama to the U.S Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) from 2009 to 2017, serving as Senior Advisor to the Administrator and congressionally mandated Disability Coordinator for the agency. While at FEMA, she established the Office of Disability Integration and Coordination (ODIC), serving as its Director. Under her leadership, ODIC led national transformation towards integrating the access and functional needs of the whole community throughout emergency preparedness and disaster response, recovery, and mitigation. (Ms. Roth’s 2010 testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Subcommittee on Emergency Communications, Preparedness, and Response)

Charged with establishing and building FEMA’s Disability Integration Cadre to ultimately include 285 deployable disability integration specialists, Ms. Roth managed over 400 disaster deployments, frequently serving as lead advisor to the presidentially appointed Federal Coordinating Officer and collaborating with affected state and local emergency management leadership and stakeholder groups. She also led the work of the Department of Homeland Security Interagency Coordinating Council on Emergency Preparedness and Individuals with Disabilities, established through a presidential executive order in 2004. Ms. Roth has represented the U.S. government internationally as an expert on whole community inclusive global disaster risk reduction since 2012, serving as a leader throughout the development and implementation of the post-2015 Global Development Agenda and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030. In addition to her specific inclusive emergency management focus, Roth has served in senior and executive leadership roles for national and global disability advocacy organizations since 1995.

After FEMA

Ms. Roth was a 2017 Hilton Foundation Fellow, addressing the disproportionate impact of climate change on individuals with disabilities and their communities. In 2018, she contributed several high impact publications, including an After-Action Report on the 2017-2018 catastrophic disasters, Getting It Wrong: An Indictment with a Blueprint for Getting It Right-Disability Rights, Obligations and Responsibilities Before, During and After Disasters, a comprehensive eLearning course for the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Disability Inclusive Disaster Risk Reduction and A Resilient Community is One That Includes and Protects Everyone, published in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists.

Currently, in addition to leading the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies, she a consultant to the United Nations Inter-Agency Standing Committee on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, the National Council on Disability on their study on Preserving Our Freedom: Ending Institutionalization of People with Disabilities During and After Disasters and the World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery to operationalize their action plan for inclusive disaster recovery.

Ms. Roth is a Harvard University Kennedy School of Government Senior Executive Fellow with a BS in Public Safety Administration from the University of Maryland University College.