Heather Tomko was recently awarded with the Dick Thornburgh Forum Disability Service Award.
This $4,000 award, named for the former governor of Pennsylvania and disability rights advocate, is available each year to a University of Pittsburgh student from any campus whose service has made a difference in the lives of children and adults with disabilities. The winner is selected by a review committee of Pitt administrators.
Tomko is a master’s student studying health policy and management in Pitt’s Graduate School of Public Health. She has spinal muscular atrophy and uses a wheelchair.
Her work in activism includes taking part in the Jewish Healthcare Foundation’s Jonas Salk Health Activist Fellowship, blogging on “The Heather Report” and creating the advocacy organization, Accessible YOUniverse. She was named Ms. Wheelchair USA 2018 in July and will spend this year promoting her platform, "Increasing Inclusion of People with Disabilities into their Communities.”