What is Equity and What does it Mean for the Disability Community?

AUCD2020 Opening Plenary

November 1, 2020

What is equity? What does it mean in the disability space? We as a network, and the broader disability community, have yet to answer these questions and define equity. As we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Americans With Disabilities Act and look toward the next decade, achieving equity is our highest priority. Join us for a dynamic and thought-provoking presentation and dialogue designed to help define equity and the path forward. Featured speaker Daniel Dawes, Director of the Satcher Leadership Institute at the Morehouse University School of Medicine, will 1) provide a framework based on his work in health equity, and 2) lead a panel discussion that explores what equity looks like from diverse perspectives including that of lived experience. The following panelists will lend their unique and important perspectives to the discussion about their own work around equity for people with disabilities and beyond: Larry Yin, Director, USC UCEDD at the Children's Hospital Los Angeles, who addresses disparities in services and supports for underserved populations including children with disabilities, Mia Ives-Rublee, national disability rights activist and co-founder of the 2017 Women's March, and Elver Ariza Silva, advocate for Latino people with disabilities and their families via DC's Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities The plenary will end with a call to action to all attendees to create and actively engage in what it takes to move from the promise of the ADA to the reality of achieving equity for all people with disabilities in the next decade.


Image of an african american man with short cropped hair and mustach wearing a suit and smiling a the camera.Daniel Dawes, JD
Director, Satcher Health Leadership Institute,
Morehouse School of Medicine

Daniel E. Dawes is a nationally recognized leader in the health equity movement and has led numerous efforts to address health policy issues impacting vulnerable, under-served, and marginalized populations. He is a health care attorney and administrator, and was named Director of the Satcher Institute in 2019. Dawes was instrumental in shaping the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) and founded and chaired the largest advocacy group, the National Working Group on Health Disparities and Health Reform, focused on developing comprehensive, inclusive and meaningful legislation to reform the health care system and address the disparities in health care and health status among racial and ethnic minorities, people with disabilities, women, children, LGBT individuals, and other vulnerable groups in the United States. He is the co-founder of the Health Equity Leadership and Exchange Network (HELEN), which is a national network of health equity champions in virtually every state and territory.

Dawes often lectures and presents on health law and policy while serving simultaneously on several boards, commissions, and councils focused on health equity and health reform. He is an adviser to international, national, regional, state and municipal policymakers, as well as think tanks, associations, foundations, corporations, and nonprofit organizations.

We are pleased to announce the following distinguished panelists who will join Dr. Dawes for the Opening Plenary:

A picture of an Asian man with black and gray hair, parted to the side, sitting, wearing glasses, and smiling at the camera. The image is cutoff at his chest. He is wearing light blue shirt and a green tie with strips. Behind him is a dark background.Larry Yin, MD, MSPH
Director, USC UCEDD at the Children's Hospital Los Angelas

Dr.Larry Yin is a clinician practicing both Developmental-Behavioral and General Pediatrics. Currently, he is an Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. He also holds the academic position of Associate Professor of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at USC. He is the interim Division Chief of General Pediatrics, Medical Director of the Boone Fetter Clinic at Children's Hospital Los Angeles (an Autism Speak's Autism Treatment Network Site) and the Director of the USC University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. For almost 20 years, Dr. Yin has been the Medical Consultant to the San Gabriel/Pomona Regional Center serving children and adults with IDD. Dr. Yin has over 20 years providing care for children with neurodevelopmental disorders and special health care needs. His current research interests include: access and service delivery for children with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities, racial/ethnic health disparities in autism spectrum disorders, and pediatric obesity prevention.


Image of a Korean-American woman with short hair wearing a blazer and a tshirt that says AND smiling at the camera.Mia Ives-Rublee
National disability rights activist and
co-funder of the 2017 Women's March

Mia has never shied away from speaking up for herself or others. She grew up with parents who spent hours pushing the school system to follow the law and create a space for her to be included. That example set her on the path of advocacy and to make sure people of all abilities participate in every aspect of society. Mia is a disabled Korean-American transracial adoptee who refuses to be limited by the boundaries other people set for her. A self-described endorphin junkie, she is an athlete who has competed internationally in wheelchair track, fencing, and adaptive cross fit.

In 2017, she dove head first into organizing the Women's March on Washington by founding and coordinating it's disability caucus, making sure information and resources existed for marchers with disabilities. This enabled 41,000 disabled people to participate and have a voice and visibility in the movement for women's and human rights. Mia's goal for 2020 is to ensure more progressive candidates are elected to office at all levels.

Elver Ariza-Silva
Policy, Research interest, Communication, and Advocacy in Public Health - Culture & Linguistics 

Elver Ariza-Silva is very active in advocacy efforts for all people with disabilities, and predominately who are Latino in the District of Columbia. Originally from the Republic of Colombia, Elver is a polio survivor who works as a Social and Human Services Liaison ~ Bi-Lingual Advocacy Outreach Specialist for Quality Trust for Individuals with Disabilities (Washington, DC), and provides support to people with developmental disabilities as well as their siblings and parents. For several years, Elver has led a Quality Trust outreach program directed specifically to Latino families -with a member with a disability-, which provides education and advocacy services to those families who are alienated from any support or services. In other capacities, Elver has served as a research assistant for a Johns Hopkins University study that focused on preventing child trafficking from Latin America, and has held leadership roles in the food industry [MS Food Engineering] in both Colombia and the US (Texas A & M University and The Institute of Food Technologist IFT). Previously, Elver was appointed by Mayor Vincent C. Gray and current Mayor Muriel Bowser to continue serving as Chairman on the Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC) committed to enhancing the image, status, inclusion, and quality of life for all District of Columbia residents, visitors, and employees with disabilities. Also, Elver has been the Accessibility Advisory Committee Vice-chair Board Member of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) advising Metro on ways to improve Metro Rail, Metro Bus, and Metro Access, respectively. After having earned several post-BA certificates from continuing education programs at DC-area universities, Elver earned a master's degree in Spanish and Latin American Studies from American University.