Getting it Right 2018 National Inclusive Disaster Strategies Conference

COMING SOON- Conference session videos, transcripts and slides.

Why do we need to GET IT RIGHT?

The past year has been a time of devastating community and economic impacts due to disasters around the world. In the U.S., there were at least 16 billion-dollar catastrophic disasters and hundreds of lives lost. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the cumulative cost of these disasters is already more than $306.2 billion dollars, which shattered the previous U.S. annual record cost of $214.8 billion dollars established in 2005 due to the impacts of Hurricanes Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma. Of the people who lost their lives or sustained serious injuries, people with disabilities and older adults continue to be impacted at disproportionally high rates. Disability inclusive emergency preparedness is imperative to whole community readiness and resilience.

We can, and we must GET IT RIGHT!

Our Getting It Right conferences bring together leading inclusive emergency and disaster experts, disability leaders, emergency managers, planners, federal, tribal, territorial, state and local government, elected officials, public health and public safety experts, faith leaders, business and industry and higher education leaders who want to learn more about how to improve readiness and recovery for individuals, families, communities and businesses. The focus of Getting It Right is on expanding our shared commitment to achieving and sustaining disability inclusive whole community emergency preparedness, community resilience, response, recovery and mitigation before, during, and after disasters.

What is the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies?

The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies (the Partnership) is a national coalition of thousands of individuals and organizations with a shared mission. We are committed to increasing individual and community capacity for equal access and full inclusion of people with access and functional needs for optimal whole community emergency preparedness, support when disaster strikes and community engagement throughout disaster recovery to build back better and truly improve safety and community resilience for all.


Wednesday, May 23

4:00-9:00 Registration

5:00-9:00 Exhibits

5:00-6:00 Reception and Networking

6:00-8:00 Opening Session (Z)

Marcie Roth, CEO, Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies

  • 2017-2018 Disaster After Action Report
    • June Kailes & Melissa Marshall
  • Getting It Right Act
  • Center for Excellence in Inclusion, Resilience and Accessibility Before, During, and After Disasters (CEIRA Institute)

Portlight and National Disability Rights Network Memorandum of Agreement (Z)

Four Wheel City Musical Performance (Z)

8:00-9:00 Dessert Reception

Thursday, May 24

7:30-8:30 Registration

8 - 8:30 Breakfast with exhibitors

8:30 – 9 Welcome (Z)

Marcie Roth, CEO, Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies

9:00-10:00 W. Craig Fugate, FEMA Administrator 2009-2017 (Z)

10:00 - 10:20 Congressman Benny Thompson (MS), Ranking Member, House Homeland Security Committee (Z)

10:20 -10:30 Break

10:30-11:30 Getting It Right Act- How a Bill Becomes a Law (Z)

Michael Gamel-McCormick, Disability Policy Director, Senate Special Committee on Aging, Moderator

Lauren McClain, Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Benny Thompson (MS)

Kim Knackstedt, Rep. Bobby Scott (VA)

11:30 - 12:30 DisabilityRights and Disasters (Z)

John Wodatch, Moderator

Jennifer Sultan, US Department of Homeland Security, Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

Billy Altom, National Council on Disability

Janet Collazo, Executive Director, Defensoría para las Personas con Impedimentos, Disability Rights Puerto Rico

Rebecca Rodgers, Disability Rights Advocates

12:30 - 1:30 Lunch with exhibitors


Show Me the Money! Funding Disability Inclusive Preparedness, Response and Recovery (Z)

Ben Smilowitz, Smart Response, Disaster Accountability Project

Rebekah Tosado, DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

Marcie Roth, Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies

1 :30-2:30 All Disasters are Local-Getting It Right on the Ground (Z)

Kelly Buckland, National Council on Independent Living, Moderator

Disability Leaders from Puerto Rico, Texas, California and Hawaii

  • Living Hope Wheelchair Association, Houston, TX (Remote)
  • California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (Remote)
  • Puerto Rico Disability and Disaster Network
  • Hawaii Disability and Communication Access Board

2:30-3:30 Public Health, Mass Care and Disability Rights (Z)

Marcie Roth, Moderator

Mary Casey Lockyer, American Red Cross

Margaret Schaefer, DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties

Merrill Friedman, Anthem Inc.

Patrick Cokley, Anthem Inc.

Zachary Usher, FEMA Individual Assistance

3:30-3:45 Break

3:45- 4:45 Equipment and Devices Lost, Left Behind, Damaged and Destroyed- Now What? (Z)

Carolyn Phillips, Interim Director, AMAC Accessibility Solutions & Research Center, Georgia Institute of Technology, Moderator

Liz Persaud, Pass It on Center

Jessica Michot and Angela Lorio, Trach Mommas

Dustin Snowadzky, Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies

4:45 - 5:45 The Inconvenient Truth About Registries, Power, Alerts and Evacuation (Z)

June Kailes, Associate Director, Harris Family Center for Disability and Health Policy, Western University of Health Sciences, Moderator

Sarah Tuneberg, CEO, Geospiza, Inc.

Maria Town, Director, Houston Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities

5:45- 6:15 Linda Mastandrea, Director, FEMA Office of Disability Integration and Coordination (Z)

6:15 – 7:00 Exhibitor reception

Friday, May 25

8:00 - 8:30 Breakfast with exhibitors

8:30 - 9:30 Mayors Forum (Z)

Melissa Marshall, J.D., Moderator

Mayor Maria “Mayita” Melendez, Ponce, PR

Maria Town, Director, Houston Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities

9:30 -10:30 Disaster Recovery and Community Resilience- Housing, Universal Design, Inclusion and Civil Rights (Z)

Brian Parsons, Senior Policy Advisor, DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties,Moderator

Rebecca Cokley, Center for American Progress

Sarah Mickelson, Senior Director of Public Policy, National Low-Income Housing Coalition

Chris Smith, Director, Individual Assistance Division, Federal Emergency Management Agency

10:30 -10:45 Break

10:45 - 11:15 Preparing the Territories- What Have We Learned, What Happens Now? (Z)

Adriane Griffen, Senior Director of Public Health and Leadership
Association of University Centers on Disabilities

Daphnee Guilleume, Association of University Centers on Disabilities

UCEED Leaders from Guam, US Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

11:15-12:00 Getting the Disaster and Disability Story Right, No More Inspiration Porn (Z)

Sarah Blahovec, National Council on Independent Living

Stephanie Hydal, Westside Center for Independent Living

David Perry, Journalist

Anita Cameron, ADAPT

12:00 - 12:30 Closing Session: Getting It Right, Right Now, A Call to Action (Z)

Marcie Roth


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The Partnership galvanizes and amplifies the voice of the national disability community and works with local, state, tribal, territorial and federal emergency managers to create a more inclusive and accessible structure within their jurisdictions. The Partnership looks to the Trump Administration for support on our initiatives and to share our mission to achieve whole community inclusive emergency preparedness and equal access to emergency services and programs in every community.


Man in wheelchair by the water

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