About BBI

About the Burton Blatt Institute

The Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) at Syracuse University reaches around the globe in its efforts to advance the civic, economic, and social participation of people with disabilities. BBI builds on the legacy of Burton Blatt, former dean of SU’s School of Education and a pioneering disability rights scholar, to better the lives of people with disabilities. BBI has offices in Syracuse, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta.

Given the strong ties between one’s ability to earn income and fully participate in their communities, BBI’s work focuses on two interconnected Innovation Areas: Economic Participation and Community Participation. Through program development, research, and public policy guidance in these Innovation Areas, BBI advances the full inclusion of people with disabilities.


Advance the civic, economic, and social participation of persons with disabilities in a global society.

The Impact

BBI’s partnerships and collaborations have led to measurable and positive impact in Central New York, across the country, and around the world. In the Syracuse region, for example, the Start-Up NY/Inclusive Entrepreneurship program has assisted more than 60 entrepreneurs with disabilities in launching their own businesses. Across the country, in partnership with the National Disability Institute, BBI assisted low-income taxpayers with disabilities in receiving more than $350 million in tax refunds. In Israel, BBI led unprecedented efforts for lifesaving emergency preparedness for Israelis with disabilities.

BBI’s impactful work seizes on Chancellor Nancy Cantor’s notion of Scholarship in Action and SU’s longstanding commitment to inclusion. On campus, BBI has built important relationships with faculty, students, and schools across the diverse disciplines of law, business, communications, public affairs, engineering, information science, visual arts, education, and human ecology. Around the world, BBI experts have created and translated new knowledge to produce solutions that enhance quality of life experiences.

An important part of our interdisciplinary approach is educating the next generation of leaders. SU law, graduate, and undergraduate students, serving as research assistants and interns, have been tremendous additions to BBI. More than 100 have made meaningful contributions to BBI. Even though BBI has had great success during our early years, our work is just beginning. In honor of our namesake, Burton Blatt, it is our mandate to continue to create innovative solutions to the challenges faced by people with disabilities.

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Who was Burton Blatt?

Burton Blatt (1927-1985) was a pioneer in humanizing services for people with developmental disabilities

BBI Leadership Team

  • Photo of Peter Blanck

    Peter Blanck, Ph.D., J.D.

    University Professor, BBI Chairman
  • Photo of Michael Morris

    Michael Morris, J.D.

    Executive Director