Disability Led Coalition Awarded ACL Grant to Identify and Reduce Life-Limiting Inequities in Healthcare, Community Living, and Justice for People with Disabilities

For Immediate Release:                                      
October 18, 2022.

Contact: Leah Smith, Associate Director
Center for Disability, Equity, and Intersectionality      

                                                               

Disability Led Coalition Awarded ACL Grant to Identify and Reduce Life-Limiting Inequities in Healthcare, Community Living, and Justice for People with Disabilities


The Center for Dignity in Healthcare for People with Disabilities has recently been awarded a 5-year $2.5 million grant from the Administration on Community Living (ACL). This new funding will allow the Center to lead the nation’s charge to identify and reduce life-limiting inequities in healthcare, community living, and justice for people with disabilities. 

As a result of this new funding, the Center for Dignity will become the National Center for Disability, Equity, and Intersectionality to further expand on its national efforts for greater equity for people with disabilities through disability-led initiatives targeting ableism and racism with an intersectional lens. This project will be led by a team of national partners from Morehouse School of Medicine, the National Cultural Competency Center at Georgetown University, the Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities at Kennedy Krieger Institute, and the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. 

As an urgently needed driver of change to reduce systemic oppression and create a more equitable world, the new Center will: 

  1. Increase access to resources that teach and promote anti-ableism, anti-racism, and intersectionality with cultural humility;
  2. Increase the number of culturally informed healthcare providers;
  3. Recommend policy changes to dismantle ableism; and 
  4. Increase leadership by youth with disabilities, serving as Equity Ambassadors to chart a future founded on the tenants of disability justice. 

“We are grateful to continue and expand this important work towards equity. Our team is comprised of leading experts on the topics of disability, cultural competence, antiracism, and youth leadership. They bring skills and a commitment to create transformative change. We’re ready to get started,” says Dr. Kara Ayers, Principal Investigator and Director of the Center for Disability, Equity, and Intersectionality.

Join the Center for Disability Equity and Intersectionality social media community @ThinkEquitable for more information and to stay up-to-date with their work. 

For more details, contact Leah Smith at 806.239.5582 or [email protected]

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Organization Aims to Address the Double Burden of Racism and Ableism within the Health Care System

For Immediate Release:                                      
August 29, 2022

Contact:
Leah Smith, Project Coordinator

Organization Aims to Address the Double Burden of Racism and Ableism Within the Health Care System

Thanks to generous support from WITH Foundation, The Center for Dignity in Healthcare for People with Disabilities will expand upon its existing work by addressing racism and ableism within the U.S. healthcare system. 

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In Response to the Reversal of Roe v. Wade and Its Impact on People With Disabilities

The Center for Dignity in Healthcare for People with Disabilities is deeply concerned about the overturning of Roe v Wade and what it means for the control people with disabilities have over their reproductive health. As an organization that is dedicated to addressing healthcare inequities faced by people with disabilities, we know that a more reproductively just system would reduce healthcare inequities among this population. 

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The Center for Dignity in Healthcare for People with Disabilities Comments to Communications Equality Advocates Petition for Reconsideration

The Center for Dignity in Healthcare for People with Disabilities (CDHPD) submits the following comments to Communications Equality Advocates Petition for Reconsideration.  CDHPD aims to reduce healthcare inequities faced by people with disabilities and is composed of partners from multiple University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), medical and advocacy organizations. One of our four focus areas includes reducing healthcare inequities in mental health and suicide prevention. Thus, we are committed to ensuring that any system aimed at addressing suicide is accessible for all. 

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Statement on the Death of Michael Hickson

The Center for Dignity in Healthcare for People with Disabilities mourns the death of Michael Hickson, a 46-year-old man, husband, and father of five. Mr. Hickson was a Black man who acquired spinal cord and brain injuries in 2017 after a sudden cardiac arrest. Like so many in our country ravaged by the current pandemic, Mr. Hickson sought care from his local hospital for treatment for COVID-19. He had contracted COVID-19 from a staff member of a nursing home. Mr. Hickson was denied treatment based on the belief that treatment would not improve his quality of life. 

Mr. Hickson’s wife, Melissa, recorded and posted a video of the doctor explaining why care was denied. An unidentified doctor is heard saying, “So as of right now his quality of life, he doesn’t have much of one.”

Melissa asked, “What do you mean? Because he’s paralyzed with a brain injury he doesn’t have a quality of life?” The doctor responded, “Correct.”

The Hickson family’s tragic loss places a spotlight on the false conclusion that life with a disability isn’t one of quality. The Office for Civil Rights released a memo in March 2020 stating, “Persons with disabilities should not be denied medical care on the basis of stereotypes, assessments of quality of life, or judgements about a person’s relative “worth” based on the presence or absence of disabilities or age.” Despite this clarification of civil rights in healthcare settings, these inequities persist; in this case and others, they cost the lives of Americans with disabilities.

The Center for Dignity in Healthcare for People with Disabilities was founded to correct the misconception that there is not value or dignity in life with a disability. Mr. Hickson was a cherished husband, father, and person. We denounce the denial of care, during this pandemic and always, explicitly on the basis of disability and the biased belief that a life with a disability is not worth living. We call for more just and culturally competent healthcare for all Americans, including those with disabilities.  

For more information on how to join the Center for Dignity in Healthcare for People with Disabilities in the fight against medical discrimination and ableism, email [email protected]. Learn more about your rights during COVID-19 here.