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Christine D. Cea

13th Judicial District
County of Residence: 
Regents Office, State Education Building, 89 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12234
Phone (518) 474-5889


Dr. Christine Cea was first elected by a joint session of the NYS Legislature to serve a five-year term as a member of the Board of Regents beginning April 1, 2009. She was re-elected for a fourth term beginning April 1, 2024.  Dr. Cea holds the 17th seat on the board representing Staten Island’s 13th Judicial District.

Dr. Cea is a researcher, educator, and longstanding advocate for persons with disabilities. She received her doctorate in Developmental Psychology from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Fordham University, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship as Associate Director of the Developmental Disabilities Project at the Fordham University Center for Ethics Education. Currently, Dr. Cea is a Visiting Scientist at the New York State Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities (IBR).

Dr. Cea works to promote the welfare of persons with disabilities and their families through her professional work and through her advocacy. In her work, she has developed techniques to enhance the comprehension of persons with intellectual disabilities to enable participation in the informed consent process for health and mental health treatments and to understand their rights as research participants. Dr. Cea has written extensively on the rights and ethical treatment of persons with disabilities in all aspects of their lives. She has also co-developed and published a health and wellness program being used on Staten Island to encourage adults with intellectual disabilities to lead healthier lifestyles and has evaluated a person-centered-planning initiative for students with autism spectrum disorders transitioning from school to work or college.

Dr. Cea’s community work includes advocating for improved educational opportunities, better supports and services, and enhanced quality of life for persons with disabilities and their families. She has served as Chair of the Staten Island Developmental Disabilities Council, a consortium to ensure a continuum of services for people with disabilities comprised of self-advocates, family members, organizations serving persons with disabilities, and city and state officials. Dr. Cea has also served as a member of the Borough President’s Advisory Board on Disability and on the local Office of Persons with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) Human Rights Committee on Informed Consent that reviews psychiatric and behavioral treatment recommendations for individuals without representation.

Dr. Cea has taught both psychology and sociology as an adjunct Associate Professor at CUNY/The College of Staten Island and served as consulting editor to the peer-reviewed journal, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD).

On the Board of Regents, Dr. Cea serves as Chair of the Adult Career and Continuing Education Committee (ACCES-VR) and as Co-Chair of the Advisory Council on Post-Secondary Education for Students with Disabilities that serves in an advisory capacity to the Board of Regents on policies and practices to improve transition to post-secondary education, needed accommodations and supports, and fiscal requirements to ensure successful graduation outcomes.

Dr. Cea has been acknowledged for her work in the fields of education, ethics, and disability. She was presented with the President’s Medal from CUNY/College of Staten, and recognized as a Women of Distinction (in human rights) from Soroptimist International, as a Wise Woman from the National Organization of Italian-American Women, with the Spirit of Advocacy Award from the InterAgency Council of Developmental Disabilities Agencies, the Outstanding Achievement in Disability Award from the NYS Disabilities Services Council, for Outstanding Community Service in Mental Health by the Staten Island Mental Health Society, and as Distinguished Leader in Special Education from Education Update. She was inducted into the National Honor Society in Psychology (Psi Chi) in 1985.

Dr. Cea is a proud second generation Italian-American who has received recognition as a Leader of Italian-American Heritage, from St. John’s University Circolo Garibaldi Club and for Preserving and Perpetuating the Italian Identity by the Garibaldi Meucci Museum.

She and her late husband Peter have two adult children, a married son, Peter, Jr., and daughter, Stephanie, who has special needs.