USAUSA stands for United Service Animal Users, Supporters, and Advocates. It is a loose coalition of groups invited to support advocacy efforts on an ad hoc basis. USAUSA leaders sometimes conduct community surveys with other groups’ support in order to gather data necessary for further advocacy action. The coalition initially and informally organized in 2016.
USAUSA actions are mainly facilitated by Brad Morris and Jenine Stanley. Their biographies are available under PSDP’s page on its Board of Directors and Board of Advisors. Regarding the USAUSA name, Brad recalls:
I came up with the name halfway as a joke. When out to dinner with some guide dog advocate friends, I gave the name and said, “After all, who could be against USA! USA!”. At the time, I didn’t imagine we’d be organizing to advocate more than once, or outside of the US.
Brad and Jenine draft USAUSA’s advocacy letters and surveys. After they receive input and approval from the rest of the Psychiatric Service Dog Partners board, they invite stakeholder groups to sign on to show support.
USAUSA was initially formed in response to the lack of consensus in USDOT’s committee that was tasked with updating the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA) regulations. Brad and Jenine were co-chairs on that committee. They created a detailed proposal based on the moderate positions, gained support from various groups, and submitted the proposal to DOT. For this purpose, stakeholder groups included airline industry organizations.
When DOT asked Brad and Jenine for information about the impact of the current ACAA regulations on those with mental health disabilities, they conducted a survey and issued a survey report (without external group sign-ons). These documents and details about subsequent actions are available through PSDP’s Advocacy section.
USAUSA is fortunate to have gained support from several major disability advocacy groups, such as the National Disability Rights Network, service dog programs, such as The Seeing Eye, consumer groups, such as IAADP, and an assortment of businesses. All groups are welcome.
For a taste of the USAUSA spirit of cooperation, watch Brad interview Jenine about what guide dog users should know about other service dogs. The video is embedded just below.