Looking back at our accomplishments over the past two decades, we have moved from a small caucus to section status and now have a significant, substantive, formal and credible voice in APHA policy and scholarship. As such, we now are at a juncture in our development where we need to take a stand about our role and what we need to enact in order to achieve the goals of full access and inclusion not only within APHA but within the domain of public health.
A recent set of events reveals that we still have a major challenge just within APHA. First, the recently distributed emergency preparedness video by APHA was not captioned, and just yesterday, a public service announcement about the health care needs of American citizens on the Web did not meet basic 508 and WC 1, 2, and 3 access requirements. I am sure that there are many more abrogations of full access. How do we proceed as a Section? I would suggest that we are not the “access police” and should not be willing to accept or be held to that role within APHA given the small and limited scope of such activity that could keep us occupied without broadening our reach and influence beyond organizational boundaries. So how do we balance our role as a Section committed to access and participation of all citizens beyond APHA while still holding our parent organization responsible? We need a conversation, debate and an action plan. I look forward to hearing from you all and to developing a structure and set of processes to do this essential work.
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Accessibility Committee Report
The year 2010 marks the twentieth anniversary of the Americans with
Disabilities Act. The ADA
is many things. First and foremost, it’s a civil rights act designed to ensure
that the civil rights of Americans with disabilities are protected. In many
ways, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the ADA
of 1990 are bookends in the struggle for
civil rights under the law for everyone.
Like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, however, the ADA
is a beginning, not an end. It gives
people with disabilities a powerful tool to ensure that discrimination based on
disability can be challenged and overcome.
Finally, the ADA
is a significant statement about the goal of inclusion for people with
disabilities. Looking at disability from the perspective of the World Health
Organization, which views disability as the interaction between a person’s
capabilities and the physical and social environment of which he or she is a
part, the ADA focuses attention not on the person, but ways to change those
environments to ensure that access is seen not as a “special” need or request,
but as something that is universal.
APHA is a microcosm of American society, and as such,
wrestles with the same issues relative to accessibility as the rest of the
nation. In the last year, the Disability Section has worked with APHA
leadership on several issues that we expect will lead to greater inclusion and
continue to break down barriers based on disability. The first is access to
sign language interpreters for deaf and hard of hearing for conference
participants. For years, sign language interpreters were automatically assigned
to sessions sponsored by the Section, regardless of whether or not individuals
in need of interpreting services were present.
In order to free up these valuable resources so that they
could be used wherever they were needed, the Section Executive Committee voted
to do away with this system and release interpreters for use throughout the conference.
In addition, members of the Executive Committee offered their expertise to
assist APHA in making other changes to policies regarding use of sign language
interpreters at the Annual Meeting.
The Disability co-chairs of the Section also continued to work
with APHA on physical accessibility at the Annual Meeting, including changes
to the new section exhibition booths that will make their debut at the 2010
conference in Denver.
Finally, the Section’s Executive Committee has made a major commitment to
reaching out to other sections to find common ground around disability and
to integrate disability issues throughout presentations at the Annual Meeting.
At both the 2010 and upcoming 2011 conferences, the chair of the Disability Section invited members of the
Executive Committees of other Sections to meet with the Disability Section
Executive Committee to pursue this goal.
We hope to continue and expand this effort in upcoming years
If your section is interested in working with us to integrate disability topics
throughout the organization, please contact the Disability Section chair.
Accessibility Co-Chair firstname.lastname@example.org
Catherine Graham Catherine.email@example.com
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Communication Committee Report
Please make sure that you are receiving updates through the
APHA Disability Section Listserv. If
you are not receiving updates, please contact Communications Chair Roberta
Carlin at firstname.lastname@example.org to be added to the list.
Please check with APHA at
http://www.apha.org/meetings/eventschedule/ for the schedule of events for the APHA Annual Meeting and
for the Disability Section meetings and events in Denver. Please be sure to attend the Disability
Section Chair’s Forum on Sunday afternoon, Nov. 7, the APHA Disability
Section Business Meeting on Monday evening, Nov. 8 and the
sessions on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at the Denver Convention Center. Please watch for e-mails from the
Communications Committee specific to dates, times and locations for Section
meetings and sessions.
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Awards Committee Report
of the 2010 Disability Section Awards will be honored during the Disability
Section Business Meeting and Awards Ceremony in Denver
on Monday, Nov. 8 from 6:30-9:00 p.m. Nominations for the 2011 Disability
Section Awards will be accepted starting in January 2011. The Disability
Section accepts nominations for the following awards: Lifetime Achievement,
Allan Meyers, New Investigator, and Student Member. Further details about
submitting future nominations will be available in later newsletter editions.
For questions about the awards please contact Awards Chair Jennifer Rowland at
Rowland, PhD, PT, MPH
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Student Committee Report
Earlier this year, the Disability Section distributed a survey to better understand the needs of members who are
students and new professionals/investigators.
Thank you for the many thoughtful responses that we received. The feedback highlighted that Disability
Section membership provides good opportunities for networking with other
researchers and practitioners, as well as helping to connect members with the
resources needed to stay current in the field.
Based upon the responses, the Disability Section will continue to support
scholarships for students to attend the Annual Meeting and host a mentoring
session to facilitate networking.
Hopefully, many of you have the opportunity to attend the
Annual Meeting. Don’t forget that you
can view the program of events online at the APHA website at www.apha.org/meetings even before arriving
in Denver. This online feature allows you to easily
search all of the program events by keyword or author name.
I would also like to highlight that this year’s Disability Section mentoring session will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 9 from
6:30-8 p.m. Willi
Horner-Johnson, George Jesien,
Stephen Gilson, and Gloria Krahn will join us to talk about disability
policy, publishing, funding/grantwriting, and mentorship. You are welcome to attend, even if you are no
longer officially a student. Feel free
to bring friends who are interested in disability and health but are not
members of the Disability Section.
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APHA 138th APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition
From Nov. 6-10, 2010, join us in Denver for the APHA
138th Annual Meeting and Exposition. More than 1,000 cutting edge scientific
sessions will be presented by public health researchers, academicians,
policy-makers and practitioners on the most current public health issues facing
the nation today. For more information about the Annual Meeting visit www.apha.org/meetings.
Our Section will have a strong presence at the
meeting. View the sessions sponsored by our Section by visiting the interactive
Search the program using keyword, author name or date. Don’t forget to stop by
our new booth in the Section and SPIG pavilion (booth 1370) in the
Public Health Expo next to "Everything APHA."
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