Learn more about our 2024 Americans with Disabilities Act Virtual Conference hosted by the Pacific ADA Center - February 27-28. 

      Learn more about the Certified Access Specialist (CASp) Exam Preparation Course: April 22-26  

Conference Agenda

Tuesday, February 27

Main Session: 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM

Session Title

Understanding Disability Bias and Its Impacts on Our Work

Presenters

Jerri Davison, Pacific ADA Center

Laney Davidson, Marin County, California

Nathan Gutierrez, City of Bakersfield, California

Description

How do our own thoughts about, and experiences with disability color the way in which we approach and implement our work?

In today’s discussion, we will be providing a brief summary of the history of disability discrimination and the legislation that has been enacted to combat it.  We will define some key terms and concepts, and then use lived experience to explore how disability bias can impact our work, why it exists, and what we can do to mitigate its effects.

 

Breakout Session 1: 10:45 AM - 11:45 AM

Session Title

Presenters

Description

Room 1. Healthcare Track

The ADA’s Effective Communication Requirements in Healthcare Settings

Steve Gordon, U.S. Attorneys Office, Department of Justice

The ADA and its implementing regulations require healthcare providers to furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services to individuals with communication disabilities (deaf, hard of hearing, print disabilities, and speech disabilities) without imposing a surcharge on the individual. 

The ADA requirements apply to all healthcare providers, including those operated by either private entities or state or local governments, and to all healthcare services including in-person medical services, telehealth appointments, electronic kiosks, and websites. 

This presentation will cover the applicable regulations, technical assistance, provide some case examples and suggestions for successful ADA compliance.

Room 2. Employment Track

Medical Documentation and Requests for Reasonable Accommodation: Understanding its Role in the Interactive Process

Sharon Rennert, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Employers may request medical documentation from job applicants and employees with disabilities as part of the reasonable accommodation “interactive process.”  But what kind of medical documentation can employers request, and at what point in the interactive process?

Sharon Rennert, a Senior Attorney Advisor in the EEOC’s ADA/GINA Division, will answer these and other questions in this session.

 

Room 3. Title II/Government Services Track

I Just Became the ADA Coordinator, Now What?! Part 1

Lisa Almilli, City of Chino, California

Laney Davidson, Marin County, California

Are you new to the role of ADA Coordinator and looking for a roadmap for success? This two-part session will breakdown the role of the ADA Coordinator by reviewing some of the general requirements, preparing yourself for success, and providing examples of strategies to get the job done.

Join us for a lively discussion about the breadth and depth of this important and meaningful work we all do!

Breakout Session 2: 12:45 PM - 1:45 PM

Session Title

Presenters

Description

Room 1. Healthcare Track

Accessible Public Health

Antonio Hernandez, Arizona Department of Health Services

Examples of reasonable modifications of policy, practice, and procedure that health departments can make to ensure their services are accessible to and usable by people with many types of disabilities.

Room 2. Employment Track

Creating an Inclusive Workplace: An Employer's Perspective

Vida Jennings, Blue Cross Blue Shield

Building a culture that recognizes varied backgrounds and perspectives and leads to a more welcoming and inclusive workplace is not a task that occurs overnight. Through continuous support and this employer’s commitment to inclusion, individuals of all abilities come to the organization to pursue a career.

In this session, you will hear some of the practices, both successful and opportunities for improvement, the organization has implemented. Join us for an idea exchange.

 

Room 3. Title II/Government Services Track

I Just Became the ADA Coordinator, Now What?! Part 2

Lisa Almilli, City of Chino, California

Laney Davidson, Marin County, California

Are you new to the role of ADA Coordinator and looking for a roadmap for success? This two-part session will breakdown the role of the ADA Coordinator by reviewing some of the general requirements, preparing yourself for success, and providing examples of strategies to get the job done. 

Join us for a lively discussion about the breadth and depth of this important and meaningful work we all do!

Breakout Session 3: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Session Title

Presenters

Description

Room 1. Healthcare Track

Mental Health, Substance Use, and the ADA: An Overview of SAMHSA Resources

Emily Williams, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

This session will focus on the SAMHSA mission and the intersections of Behavioral Health and the ADA.  Providing information on resources that are available to both providers, lay persons, and family members that will inform practice and provide practical solutions.

 

Room 2. Employment Track

Employment rights of people with disabilities

Jinny Kim, Disability Rights Advocates

Learn about the employment rights of people with disabilities including the right to be free from discrimination and harassment and to ask for workplace accommodations.

This presentation will provide an overview of Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act as well as an employer’s obligations to provide reasonable accommodations and engage in the interactive process.

Room 3. Title II/Government Services Track

The Importance of Engaging the Disability Community: An interactive panel on working together to improve accessibility and impact disability policy

Ali Everett, City of Los Angeles, California

Nicole Bohn, San Francisco Mayor's Office on Disability, California

Title II requires state and local entities to engage with Disability community members, and to take community feedback into account, when considering accessibility improvements, policies and programs that impact Deaf and Disabled people. We also know that the best change happens when entities and advocates work together.

This interactive panel, meant for all audiences, will feature Disability Council members and ADA Coordinators who will share examples of how they have successfully affected disability access change in their communities by working together.

Attendees will learn how these jurisdictions recruit members for public bodies and utilize local processes like public comment, grievances, and local legislation or program proposals, to elevate issues and impact disability access for all.

Wednesday, February 28

Main Session: 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM

Session Title

Increase digital access with plain language and accessible documents

Presenters

Rebecca Woodbury, Department of Civic Things

Gabriel Navarrette, Pacific ADA Center

Description

We serve people best when we communicate clearly and directly. Dense and confusing text is a simple obstacle to remove. Using plain language helps people understand your services, programs, and rules. At this session, you will learn how to write with plain language. It is one of the best ways to be better at your job. It might even make you a better spouse, parent, and friend!

You will also learn how to make online documents more accessible along with examples of tools in common types of documents such as Word, PDF and PowerPoint.

 

Breakout Session 1: 10:45 AM - 11:45 AM

Session Title

Presenters

Description

Room 1. Healthcare Track

Personal Experience with Healthcare Barriers - Disability Panel

Cynde Soto, Communities Actively Living Independent & Free (CALIF)

Christy Abrams, Arizona Commission for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Jan Garrett, Pacific ADA Center

Healthcare is often difficult and unequal for people with disabilities. In this session, a panel of three women with disabilities – two who use wheelchairs and one who is Hard-of-Hearing - share their personal experiences with healthcare. Each presenter will share an example of a great and challenging healthcare experience.

The panel will then discuss how the ADA either could have improved the challenging experience or was used to support a positive healthcare outcome.

 

Room 2. Employment Track

Reasonable Accommodations – What is an accommodation, what is reasonable, and how to ask for them?

J.J. Rico, Disability Rights Arizona

This session will provide attendees with an overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and how it applies to reasonable accommodations. You will also learn how to request them from your employer. Get ready to learn more about your employment rights.

Room 3. Title II/Government Services Track

Voting Accessibility & ADA Title II

Catherine Nielsen, Nevada Governor's Council on Developmental Disabilities

Information will be provided on voting accessibility standards and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Information will include the standards nationally and the efforts to increase accessible voting options nationwide. Additional information will be provided on current guidance from the Department of Justice and resources for voting accessibility and Title II of the ADA.

Breakout Session 2: 12:45 PM - 1:45 PM

Session Title

Presenters

Description

Room 1. Healthcare Track

Barriers to healthcare workers' compliance with their ADA obligations to ensure healthcare access equity for persons with a disability: LESSONS LEARNED FROM THE FIELD

Dr. Kris Qureshi, University of Guam

Dr. Rosielyn Babauta, University of Guam

Megan Broadbent, University of Guam

Under Title II and III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), public hospitals and private healthcare organizations are required by law to provide reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities (PWD). As part of a federal grant, the Pacific ADA center research team is conducting a 5-year project to determine what barriers affect healthcare workers' compliance with their ADA obligations to ensure equitable access to healthcare for PWD.

In this presentation, we will present our preliminary findings from our focus groups, and provide education on communication and ambulatory care in the clinical setting, disaster preparedness, medical vs. social model of disability, and current education requirements for healthcare workers (HCW) regarding disability care.

At the end of the presentation, we will leave time for open discussion to collaborate and explore the topics discussed.

Room 2. Employment Track

AI and Its Potential for Resulting in Disability Discrimination

Sharon Rennert, U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has the potential to be both good and bad for people with disabilities in the employment process. AI can help with tasks like describing images for blind people or completing reports more easily. However, to save time and resources, employers often use AI in ways that may discriminate against job applicants and employees with disabilities.

Hear from Sharon Rennert, a Senior Attorney Advisor in the EEOC’s ADA/GINA Division, on how employers can avoid these mistakes and ensure that the rights of people with disabilities are protected throughout the employment process. Also, individuals with disabilities can learn how to spot potential ways that AI might be used to unintentionally screen out people with different disabilities, and what questions they may want to ask employers to ensure that their applications and work are evaluated based on merit.

 

Room 3. Title II/Government Services Track

Trail Accessibility

Bonnie Lewkowicz, Bay Area Outreach & Recreation Program

Jan Garrett, Pacific ADA Center

Ah, the great outdoors! Parks and trails offer chances to experience great places of natural beauty, and after Covid moved us outdoors we saw Equity in the Outdoors become an issue. People with disabilities have once again been left out of this discussion, so we must make sure that the great outdoors are fully accessible to everyone. Trails on State and local government land are often not fully accessible, especially to those with mobility and vision disabilities. Also, guided nature walks can be inaccessible to people with hearing or speech disabilities.

Join an expert on accessible recreation and an experienced staff member from the Pacific ADA Center for a lively discussion on how government agencies can improve the accessibility of trails and other public outdoor spaces so that everyone can enjoy the great outdoors.

 

Breakout Session 3: 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Session Title

Presenters

Description

Room 1. Healthcare Track

Supported Decision-Making in Health Care and the ADA: What You Need to Know

Morgan Whitlatch, Center for Public Representation

Come learn about the role medical and health care professionals should play in recognizing and respecting the decision-making rights of the people they serve, given their obligations under the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.

Under the Supported Decision-Making (SDM) model, people with disabilities, including older adults, turn to a network of supporters – family members, friends, and others they choose and trust – to help them in making their own decisions, without the need for a guardian.  Proposed federal rules expressly recognize SDM as an example of a reasonable modification that may be necessary to avoid unlawful disability-based discrimination.

Room 2. Employment Track

Mental Health in the Workplace: An Employment Lawyer & HR Executive's Personal Experience

Caleb Holloway, Atrium Health

In this session, Caleb will share his perspectives before and after publicly revealing his Generalized Anxiety Disorder diagnosis and becoming an advocate for workplace accessibility. He will discuss the connections and differences between mental health and disabilities.

Caleb will also outline the business case and methods for integrating accessibility into employer programs that advance diversity, equity, and inclusion

Room 3. Title II/Government Services Track

ADA Coordinators: Are they Effective in Ensuring Equity for People with Disabilities?

Dr. Robyn Gershon, New York University

Laney Davidson, Marin County, California

Jan Garrett, Pacific ADA Center

Join us for a panel discussion with several ADA Coordinators and researchers from New York University who conducted  surveys to identify barriers and facilitators to ensuring equity for people with disabilities.

The role of ADA Coordinators and the results of these surveys will be discussed with perspectives from experts with first-hand knowledge of the barriers and facilitators to effectiveness.

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