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May 2011 Minutes

American Public Health Association
Disability Section Minutes
Monthly Meeting

Conference Call


May 5, 2011

Council members present:  Roberta S. Carlin (Communications Chair), Stephen French Gilson (Chair), Barbara Kornblau (Policy chair), Catherine Leigh Graham (Accessibility Co-Chair), Willi Horner-Johnson (Treasurer), Dot Nary (Membership Chair), James H. Rimmer (Past Chair/Elections Chair), Jennifer Rowland (Awards Chair), Meg Ann Traci (Secretary), Vijay Vasudevan (Student Liaison) and Kiyoshi Yamaki (Program Chair).
Council members not present: Anthony Cahill (Accessibility Co-Chair), Vince Campbell (Policy Chair), H. Stephen Kaye (Chair Elect), Gloria Krahn (Governing Council Representative), Suzanne McDermott (Governing Council Representative).

Opening: Stephen Gilson opened the conference call meeting at
12:04 (EST) prompting roll call.

Minutes were approved as follows: January 6, 2011 (first: Catherine Graham; second: Roberta Carlin); February 3, 2011 (first: Willi Horner Johnson; second:  Catherine Graham); March 3, 2011 (first: Catherine Graham; second: Roberta Carlin).


Accessibility, Catherine Graham and Tony Cahill

Catherine wanted to confirm that the technical assistance (TA) that the Disability Section Executive Council provides to APHA on accessibility is at no cost. The consensus was that this was true, which supports a strategic goal for the Section to not provide the level of technical assistance that an employee or a contractor specializing in ADA compliance might provide. Councilors reiterated the view developed at the in-person Executive Council meeting in Denver (November 7, 2010) that Disability Section councilors will help with information and referral. Barbara stressed that APHA needs to acknowledge the TA provided is appreciated and needed. Councilors concurred. Councilors listed several areas where the Disability Section councilors have provided more intense technical assistance on accessibility to APHA: 1) review of policies for inclusion of people with disabilities and inclusionary practices; 2) conference center staff training; 3) accessibility assessments and evaluations of conference centers; 4) website and communications accessibility; and 5) conference session accessibility.  Meg suggested asking APHA leadership about other instances where Section Executive Councils perform tasks or provide assistance on operations of the organization.


Program, Kiyoshi Yamaki

Kiyoshi is working on the final details for the Disability Section’s conference sessions for the 2011 APHA Annual Meetings in Washington, D.C.  He is working with APHA on the accessibility of the three rooms available for the group presentations submitted as ‘invited sessions’. If all three rooms are accessible, all three group presentations will be added to the program as Invited Sessions. If fewer than three rooms are accessible, Kiyoshi will organize a review and will add the group presentations with highest scores to the program. Kiyoshi is investigating any costs that would be associated with making the additional presentation rooms accessible and is negotiating with APHA whether APHA or the Disability Section will bear those costs. Kiyoshi will clarify what listening devices and system will be available at the conference. Catherine will work with Kiyoshi and APHA to ensure that attendees of the invited session will have access to the listening devices and systems (e.g., attendees can check out assistive listening devices for the day at a conference booth).  Catherine mentioned that APHA has its general accessibility policy and volunteered to review the policy to see if it addresses assistive listening devices. Stephen will add APHA’s capacity to support invited presentations in accessible meeting spaces to the agenda he is developing for the next meeting with APHA leadership staff scheduled for sometime this fall to discuss accessibility and inclusionary practices.


Policy, Vince Campbell and Barbara Kornblau

Barbara did not have new policy issues to report.  She is working on a summary for the APHA Disability Section newsletter.  


Student, Vijay Vasudevan

Vijay has e-mailed students about the mentoring session and has developed a ‘game plan’ of how to introduce participants. He is working with Kiyoshi on program for the APHA Annual Meetings in Denver and with Dot on student membership recruitment.


Communications, Roberta Carlin

Roberta is developing the Disability Section’s spring newsletter and distribution lists for all Section members. She told councilors that June 9, 2011 is the start of the open period during which she can submit the newsletter to APHA and asked councilors to send their reports to her before that date.


Elections, Jim Rimmer

Jim did not have updates about election results but expects to have them next month.


Awards, Jennifer Rowland

Jennifer reported that the nominations period for Disability Section awards had closed. The Awards Committee is reviewing the nomination materials and will meet to determine the winners by the content submissions deadline for the 2011 APHA Annual Meetings Program.  Jennifer activated an alternate reviewer for one nomination.


Members, Dot Nary

Dot reported that there were 251 APHA Disability Section members, not including secondary and tertiary members. Dot sent emails to 180 people whose APHA Disability Section membership had lapsed asking them to re-join or to give reasons for not re-joining. She received some responses including indications that some are re-joining and that others are not because of economic constraints. Dot will continue to track and contact those whose membership lapsed as of January 1, 2011. Dot asked Disability Section Executive Councilors for final feedback on the new Disability Section brochure so it can be printed by the end of next week when final invoices are due.


Treasurer, Willi Horner-Johnson

Willi reported that we are on track to spend the remaining funds in our current cooperative agreement.



Barbara reported that HHS did not include disability in its Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities, a recent publication of the Office of Minority Health:

As background for Barbara’s summary, three relevant excerpts are included here in the minutes:

1.      “Individuals, families and communities that have systematically experienced social and economic disadvantage face greater obstacles to optimal health. Characteristics such as race or ethnicity, religion, SES, gender, age, mental health, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity, geographic location, or other characteristics historically linked to exclusion or discrimination are known to influence health status.  While this HHS Disparities Action Plan focuses primarily on health disparities associated with race and ethnicity, many of the strategies can also apply across a wide array of population dimensions. For example, expanding healthcare access, data collection, and the use of evidence-based interventions will contribute to health equity for vulnerable populations that are defined by income, geography, disability, sexual orientation or other important characteristics” (Page 4).

2.      There are two other places in the Action Plan where disability is specifically mentioned. 1) Since the Affordable Care Act mandates more health data on disability populations, the plan does include disability status among its other categories “Ensure that data collection standards for race, ethnicity, gender, primary language, and disability status are implemented throughout HHS-supported programs, activities, and surveys.”

3.      Also, the nondiscrimination section (1557) of the ACA includes disability which is consistent with other nondiscrimination policy.

Barbara mentioned that disability and other marginalized communities (e.g., LGBT) are discussed in the companion plan—The National Stakeholder Strategy for Achieving Health Equity, a product of The National Partnership for Action to End Health Disparities (NPA). Increasing Access for Persons with Disabilities is the most relevant subsection of the companion plan and begins on page 12.

Barbara indicated that the National Institutes on Disability Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) held a listening session to develop strategies for integrating disability into the Action Plan (e.g., expanding what is meant by cultural competency). The National Council on Disabilities (NCD) is not satisfied and is still reacting to the decision not to include disability in the Action Plan. Some groups are partnering on a collaborative approach to compile evidence of existing data sets demonstrating health disparities experienced by persons with disabilities.


Stephen Gilson closed the meeting at
1:00 PM (EST).  The next Disability Section Council meeting will be held June 2, 2011 at 12:00 p.m. (EST). Minutes submitted by Meg Traci.