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Sherman Gillums, Jr., Ed.D

Sherman Gillums, Jr., Ed.D
Office of the Administrator

Director, Office of Disability Integration and Coordination

Sherman Gillums, Jr., Ed.D, a native of Buffalo, New York, serves as FEMA’s disability coordinator and the director of its Office of Disability Integration and Coordination (ODIC), located in the agency’s Washington D.C. headquarters. In his role, Sherman advises FEMA Administrator Criswell on meeting the agency’s commitment to equity in emergency management for people with disabilities, including older adults and others with access and functional needs.

Since joining FEMA in August 2022, Sherman has deployed to six disasters and led the national-level public narrative for people with disabilities on nearly a dozen emergency response efforts, in his capacity as the agency’s lead advisor on disability integration. In March 2023, Sherman released to the FEMA workforce his Director’s Intent, “A Guide to Meeting the Disability Integration Mission.” The vision focuses on 14 potential points of inequity and a pre-landfall risk assessment that can substantially extend the disaster lifecycle for people with disabilities and older adults.

Since deploying the effort, FEMA has seen a substantial increase in survivors self-identifying with disabilities when applying for FEMA assistance to recover and regain their independence after devastating extreme weather events.

Before joining FEMA, Sherman led strategic operations for the National Alliance on Mental Illness and served as executive director of Paralyzed Veterans of America and chief strategy and advocacy officer for AMVETS. 

In these roles as one of the most influential voices on military and veteran issues, he testified before Congress, appeared on national networks such as CNN, Fox News, and C-SPAN, and regularly appeared in The Hill, Military Times and other national publications. 

He was also recognized by HillVets as among the 100 most influential voices on Capitol Hill in 2016 and personally recognized by The White House for noteworthy “service to our nation and the Secretary of Veteran Affairs for “exceptional leadership.” 

A United States veteran, Sherman joined the U.S. Marine Corps at age 17 and served for 12 years before medically retiring at the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 2. He holds a graduate degree from the University of San Diego School of Business, where he was inducted into its hall of honor. 

Sherman completed his executive education at Harvard Business School, and he earned his doctoral degree in education at the University of Dayton in 2024.

Interagency partners and disability stakeholders who would like to connect with Director Gillums, including requests for presentations and coordination with FEMA Speakers' Bureau, can send an email to: FEMA-ODIC-Partnerships@fema.dhs.gov.