LSA-DN Update

Disability Network News
Friday, September 24, 2021

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CEO Summit 2022 Registration Now Open!

Registration for CEO Summit 2022: A Future Reimagined is now officially open! Join us January 23–26, 2022, at the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Hotel in Tampa, Florida.

CEO Summit 2022 features outstanding thought leaders such as Dr. Nicolaj Siggelkow of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School on creating and sustaining competitive advantage and Jim Taylor of BoardSource on expanding the expertise and diversity of your board of directors to reimagine the future.

The LSA-DN Winter Meeting will take place immediately thereafter. Register now for CEO Summit and book your room at the Sheraton Tampa Riverwalk Hotel.

Advocacy Update

Congressional Committees Move Forward with Drafting “Human Infrastructure” Package, Path to Passage Remains Challenging

Congressional committees have moved forward with crafting legislative language for the broad “human infrastructure” package. Democratic party leaders continue to plan for a House vote on the package next week, hoping for relatively quick Senate approval to follow, but the process remains complicated due to continued disagreement within the party on the final cost of the package and what should be included, and it is still possible that timeline will slip.

A highlight for our network in the legislation in its current form is $1.48 billion to fund strategies to recruit and retain direct care workers, including raising wages and creating training opportunities to help address the direct care workforce shortage. A $190 billion investment in home- and community-based services is also included, falling short of the $400 billion proposed by the President. Congressional champions are continuing to fight for an increase in this funding, and Lutheran Services in America continues to advocate for the higher amount.

Please join us in this effort through our advocacy alert.

National News

Low Wages and Pandemic Gut Staffing Support for Those With Disabilities

Ernestine “Erma” Bryant likes her job, but the pay is a problem. She works in a caregiver role as a “direct support professional” in Tifton, Georgia, helping people who have intellectual and developmental disabilities with basic functions such as dressing, bathing and eating. Bryant said it’s fulfilling work. But she said she’s being paid less than $10 an hour and is trying to get a second job.

More from Kaiser Health News

‘You Have to Scream Out’: Being Black and disabled is a constant struggle.

According to American Community Survey data, 14 percent of Black Americans have a disability, compared with 12.6 percent of the overall population. Thirty-six percent of disabled Black Americans live in poverty, compared with 26 percent of all disabled Americans. Disabled Black people often have to battle harder to get correct diagnoses and services. This is especially true for “invisible disabilities” such as autism, which educators are more likely to dismiss as behavioral issues in Black children than in white ones.

More from The Atlantic 

People with disabilities are being left behind in the vaccination push

There are several reasons fewer disabled people — including people with physical, developmental, intellectual, psychiatric, and emotional disabilities — are vaccinated. Some may not be able to get vaccinated because of medical reasons, and many vaccine registration websites are inaccessible to people with disabilities. There may be a deeper reason people with disabilities aren't getting vaccinated: widespread ableism in the medical profession.

More from Insider

State News

Minnesotans with disabilities fight for future of remote work

Steve Romenesko is among a diverse group of Minnesotans with disabilities or chronic illnesses fighting for remote work and other virtual access accommodations to continue during — and eventually, after — the COVID-19 pandemic. Maintaining and expanding remote work opportunities and virtual accommodations is vital, said Romenesko, a two-time liver transplant recipient. For people living with chronic illness, it’s not realistic to miss work every time you’re feeling unwell, Romenesko explained. That’s where remote work offers some individuals a path for better managing their health and careers.

More from the Twin Cities Pioneer Press

‘We Didn’t Have a Plan’: Disabled People Struggle to Evacuate From Wildfires

As wildfires burn with greater size and intensity across the American West, forcing thousands of people to evacuate their homes each year, communities in the danger zone are struggling to protect their disabled and older residents. Northern California is home to a significant population of people with disabilities — the percentage in the area is roughly twice the state average — many of whom live in largely rural areas that lack the critical infrastructure and resources needed to support them during disasters.

More from the New York Times

‘They were forgotten’: For people with disabilities, few good options during disaster

In the aftermath of a hurricane, going without power is difficult. But for people with disabilities and their families, the temporary discomfort can threaten their health and life. At the same time, evacuation can be almost impossible for some, whether it’s due to a lack of money, transportation or few shelter options for people who need a lot of equipment or special conditions to survive.

More from the Times-Picayune

Research & Reports

Saying ‘person with schizophrenia,’ not ‘schizophrenic,’ can affect clinician beliefs, study finds

Mental health counselors had kinder and less authoritative reactions to statements that used the phrase “person with schizophrenia” instead of “schizophrenic,” a new study finds — an important confirmation of the benefits of person-first language. The study, published Wednesday in the Journal of Counseling & Development, adds to a broader social conversation but sparse scientific literature supporting person-first language, which is meant to de-stigmatize disabilities, mental health conditions, and other conditions.

More from Stat

Ireland is no country for disabled people who want to work – ESRI report

A lack of supports for disabled young people to progress from second to third level, and from education into employment, are contributing to one of the highest unemployment levels among disabled people in Europe, a report published on Wednesday warns. The report, from the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI) says just 36 per cent of working-age disabled people are working, compared with two-thirds of those who are not disabled.

More from the Irish Times

Resources, Opinions & Opportunities

People with disabilities can't go back to 'normal' after COVID. We need better.

We are two autistic adults who depend on daily supports – help with things like making food and taking care of ourselves – to live in our homes. The COVID-19 pandemic has made it clearer than ever how vital these supports, known as home- and community-based services, are for people with disabilities. As Congress works to pass a final COVID-19 recovery package, our country has a chance to invest in these lifesaving services – but we’re worried that once again, people with disabilities may be left behind.

More from USA Today

Washington must help patients choose, not dictate their care

Over a decade ago, I founded the Partnership to Improve Patient Care with a basic principle: Patients are best served when they are informed and empowered to decide which care options are best for them; they are poorly served when policymakers in Washington dictate which options are best. During the ACA debate, we fought for two things — strong patient protections against government misuse of comparative effectiveness research, and an equally strong solution for patients through creating the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). I’ve stayed in this fight because of my own experience as a person with epilepsy, and my career spent championing the concerns of people with disabilities.

More from The Hill

3 Ways Disability Culture Has Been Changing

There are substantial differences among us. Our disabilities, social backgrounds, and degrees of underlying privilege vary a great deal, even as we are united by the common experience of disability itself. We sometimes disagree not just on strategy, but over which goals we should be working towards, or the meaning of disability itself. But a lot of the disability community’s squabbling and disunity seems to boil down to the difficult transition between one era of our history and self-perception, and the next. If we can see some of the changes in disability culture more clearly as natural and potentially productive evolution, they might be easier to process and even relax about.

More from Forbes

Upcoming Events

LSA-DN 2022 Winter Meeting
January 27–28, 2022
Tampa, Florida


For more information on our topic specific work groups, please email Sarah Dobson at

  • Policy & Advocacy Team
  • Culture and Engagement Workgroup
  • Administrative Cost Survey Working Group

Keep in Touch

Lisa Morgan
DN Convener
Chief Operating Officer, enCircle

Myra Griffie
Interim DN Treasurer
Chief Operating Officer, Lutheran Services Carolinas

Sarah Dobson
Director of Policy and Advocacy, Lutheran Services in America