Leading Change to Achieve Equity: Conversations We Need to Have

AUCD 2020 Tuesday Plenary

October 15, 2020

Join us for an engaging and thought-provoking conversation with change-makers from around the country who are facing equity challenges head on. Led by disability advocate and attorney Britney Wilson, and AUCD President-elect and Conference Chair, Tawara Goode, this year's virtual Tuesday Plenary will consist of two panels of leaders who will explore equity from the perspectives of lived experience, individual with significant disabilities, race and ethnicity, LGBTQI identities, family members, mental health, rural communities - and how they intersect.



Tawara Goode, PhD

Director, National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC) at Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (GUCCHD)

Tawara Goode Tawara Goode is an assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Georgetown University Medical Center in Washington, D.C. She has been on the faculty of the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development (GUCCHD), for over 30 years and has served in many capacities.S he has degrees in early childhood education, and education and human development. Professor Goode has extensive experience as a principal investigator for federal and private sector grants and contracts. She is the director of the National Center for Cultural Competence (NCCC) at GUCCHD. She is also the Deputy Director of the GUCCHD's University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities and focuses on national level efforts to advance and sustain cultural and linguistic competence in this field. Her publications include peer reviewed articles, book chapters, monographs, policy papers, guides and instruments that support cultural and linguistic competence in a variety of human service and academic settings. Professor Goode has and to serve on numerous boards, commissions and advisory groups at the local, regional, and national levels that are concerned with the health, mental health, and well-being of culturally and linguistically diverse populations and communities in the U.S. its territories, and in tribal communities.


Britney Wilson

Staff Attorney, the National Center for Law and Economic Justice (NCLEJ)

Britney Wilson

Britney Wilson is a civil rights attorney, advocate, and writer from Brooklyn, New York. In her current position as a staff attorney at the National Center for Law and Economic Justice (NCLEJ), her work focuses on issues of racial justice, especially abusive debt collection practices and discriminatory policing, and disability rights. Before NCLEJ, Britney was a Bertha Fellow at the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), where she also worked on issues of discriminatory policing, as well as on issues of immigration and voting rights. She began her legal career as a Marvin M. Karpatkin Fellow in the Racial Justice Program at the American Civil Liberties Union, where she worked on a range of racial justice issues from the school-to-prison pipeline and the criminalization of poverty to fair housing and inclusion in higher education.

A Black disabled woman born with Cerebral Palsy, Britney is especially committed to advocacy on behalf of people of color and people with disabilities. She has written and spoken extensively about the intersection of these issues, including for The Nation Magazine, Longreads,This American Life, and the anthology Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century. She is a proud graduate of Howard University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.


 Panelist speakers

Joan BeasleyJoan Beasley, MD

Director, Center for START Services, Director, National Research Consortium on Mental Health in IDD, Research Associate Professor, University of New Hampshire

Dr. Joan Beasley is a Research Associate professor, Director of the Center for START Services, and PI of the National Research Consortium on MH-IDD. She holds a Ph.D. in Social Policy from the Heller School at Brandeis University, and a Master's degree in Community Mental Health Counseling from Northeastern University. Dr. Beasley is  author of the START program, first implemented in 1988, and has worked to promote inclusion for all in the development of effective services for people with disabilities and their families for more than 35 years. START was cited as a model in the 2002 US Surgeon General's Report on mental health disparities for persons with intellectual/developmental disabilities and in 2016 START was identified as best practice at the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine. START is researched and peer reviewed as an evidence based practice.


Dr. Joan ChristopherJoan Christopher, JD

Director, Community Services, Georgetown University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Georgetown University Center for Child & Human Development

Joan Christopher is a native Washingtonian and works part time for the Georgetown University Center for Excellence in Disabilities. Prior to that, Joan worked in several capacities for organizations that support people with disabilities including: the District of Columbia, Part C Early Intervention program, Family Friends and as an attorney with the District of Columbia protection and advocacy system. Joan graduated from DC public schools, George Washington University and the Georgetown Law Center. She is the  parent of two adults with developmental disabilities, whom she supports with their business and educational pursuits.


Picture of a honey skinned person sitting in a hot pink and black wheelchair with their hair braided into a swoop across their forehead. They are wearing a black and white houndstooth long sleeve shirt with fire hot pink pants, large clear glasses, Aqua colored earrings that look like rock candy, and a silver multistrand necklace. Their right arm is covered in gold bangles. They are looking fiercely into the camera with their head resting on their right fist. In the background is a purple mural with the word freedom written. Luticha Doucette

Owner, Catlyst Consulting

Luticha André Doucette graduated from the Rochester Institute of Technology with a degree in Bioinformatics where she developed protein surface prediction algorithms. After graduating, she was a Fellow at the University of Rochester where she worked in a genomics lab that focused on analyzing the venom of parasitoid wasps to develop new drug therapies for various diseases. In 2017 she authored a report on wage disparities across race, gender, and disability in Rochester and Monroe County in conjunction with the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative and in 2018 authored a follow-up report on employment barriers for disabled people in Rochester and Monroe County. She is a graduate of the Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Fellowship program and an AUCD Emerging Leader. She is the owner of Catalyst Consulting, which helps organizations examine equity across race, gender identity, and disability in policies, practices, procedures, and relationships.


Dr. Georgina PeacockGeorgina Peacock, MD, MPH, FAAP

Director, Division of Human Development and Disability (DHDD) at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD)

In her role at DHDD, Dr. Peacock directs CDC's public health approach, which helps children and adults with disabilities get the most out of life by supporting programs, surveillance, research and policies that facilitate better healthcare, increases in accessibility, and inclusion. DHDD also works to optimize child development for those at risk for high-impact conditions so children can reach their full potential  in life.

In addition to her DHDD responsibilities, Dr. Peacock sees patients in developmental clinics - the Good Samaritan Health Center- while also serving as an adjunct professor with Emory University Department of Pediatrics, and the Georgia State Center for Leadership in Disability and Georgia Leadership & Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities program. She also represents CDC on a number of federal and national committees including the National Advisory Committee on Children and Disabilities, the HHS Disability Collaborative, and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Council on Early Childhood.


Dr. Joseph Piven

Joseph Piven, MD

Director, Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD),Thomas E. Castelloe Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry, Pediatrics and Psychology

Joseph Piven, M.D. received his M.D. degree from the University of Maryland in 1981 and subsequently completed training in general and child and adolescent psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He continued in research training in the genetics of neurobehavioral disorders, during a postdoctoral John Merck Fellowship at Johns Hopkins. He was on the faculty of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Iowa from 1990 through 1999. Dr. Piven is currently Thomas E. Castelloe Distinguished Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Director of the Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities, a comprehensive institute for services, research and training in neurodevelopmental disorders. Dr. Piven is an active clinician. He is director of one of 14 NICHD-funded Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers and the North Carolina University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. He co-directs an NIH-funded postdoctoral research training program in neurodevelopmental disorders at UNC, has been the Principal Investigator of for 12 years of an NIH-funded Autism Center of Excellence Network study of brain development in infants at risk for autism. He is founding Editor of the Journal of Neurodevelopmental Disorders. His research is focused on the pathogenesis of autism related neurodevelopmental disorders.


Image description: Picture of Hector outside of Senator Kamala Harris office in Washington DC. He is standing next to a sign that reads ‘DREAMERS SON BIENVENIDOS AQUI #DreamActNow” There is a pride rainbow flag next to the sign. Hector is wearing black pants and a black jacket. He is wearing a salmon color dress shirt and is wearing a Native American tribal medallion. Hector is smiling at the camera and wearing glasses.

Héctor Manuel Ramírez

Disability Rights Advocate

Héctor Manuel Ramírez (he/them/we) is Chiricahua Apache and Mexican, an Autistic person with a psychiatric disability and is hard of hearing. He is a Two Spirits person that lives in Yaanga, Tongva-Los Angeles, CA the ancestral lands of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians. He works with county, state, national organizations, and policymakers to create legislation to reduce mental health disparities, especially for racial and ethnic communities.

His current focus is on increasing mental health services for immigrants, victims of human trafficking, refugees, and undocumented individuals, families, and communities.He is a life long disability rights advocate focusing on the intersections that impact disabled people, families, and communities. He is a formerly institutionalized person and a consumer of the largest public mental health system in the country-Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health where he chairs the Latino UsCC-the largest mental health stakeholder group in the county. He is the first openly gay person ever appointed to the Los Angeles County Mental Health Commission, a board member of Disability Rights California and the National Disability Rights Network. He was appointed to Governor Gavin Newsom's Behavioral Health Task Force to address the urgent mental health and substance use disorder needs across California.