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Message from Conference Chair


Dear Colleagues and Friends,
Tawara Goode


As we have announced, the AUCD 2020 Conference: Achieving Equity: Leading the Way in the Next Decade, will be a virtual event, still taking place December 7-9. We are committed to provide informative, innovative, and accessible content through plenaries, concurrent and poster sessions. Our virtual platform will offer high visibility and many ways for attendees to connect with our sponsors, exhibitors, and each other. We will keep you updated in the coming months as work through the logistics of a first ever AUCD virtual conference.

The theme of this year's conference is─ "Achieving Equity: Leading the Way in the Next Decade." AUCD's Strategic Map outlines key priority areas to guide our network and align our collective work and mission. Model Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is one of those four priority areas and is critical to work we must do as a network, both now and in the decade to come. We as a network and larger disability community continue to make significant strides in our efforts to advance diversity and inclusion. However, we lag behind other fields regarding equity because we have yet to define it; and more specifically, what it means in the disability space in general and for our network in particular. The disparities seen as we confront the coronavirus pandemic and what many are calling our country's "racism pandemic" draw attention to the essential and urgent nature of our collective work to address equity. In 2020 we celebrate 30 years since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). In keeping with the tenets of the ADA and as we begin this new decade, it is time to put equity for people with disabilities ─ across all racial, ethnic, and cultural groups ─ at the forefront of our work together.

I believe that the virtual AUCD 2020 Conference will continue to attract a national and international audience of people with disabilities, leaders from multiple disciplines, researchers, scientists, advocates, policy experts, and other key stakeholders from across the U.S., territories, and tribal nations. This year's theme will serve as a call to action for the AUCD network to create a national equity agenda in partnership with people with disabilities, their families, and the communities in which they live. The opening plenary will offer a thought provoking framework for health equity and a facilitated panel examining the meaning and implications of equity in the disability space. In response to this call to action, I hope the conference will serve as a forum to recognize the individual work that is occurring within the network, celebrate accomplishments, engage in meaningful dialogue on what it will take achieve equity in the next decade, and define the role of the AUCD network in leading the way.

I look forward to coming together in December virtually for an inspiring annual conference, and commit to leading equity in the disability space in fulfillment of the promise of the ADA.



Tawara D. Goode
AUCD Board President-Elect and 2020 AUCD Conference Chair
Director, Georgetown University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities