Past Events

Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities

Watch the recording of Emergency Preparedness for People with Disabilities

An informative webinar with emergency preparedness experts Wesley Witherspoon and Donna Harris. Learn about how to prepare for an emergency so you can Feel Safe and Be Safe and how to create a Power Outage Plan if the electricity goes out.

Feeling Safe Being Safe
In the first part of this webinar, Wesley Witherspoon will discuss emergencies because they can happen at any time.  If we are prepared for an emergency, we will feel more comfortable if something happens. This is a matter between Life and Death.

Power Planning for Persons with Disabilities
Donna Harris will present in the second part of the webinar on the one common element in nearly every emergency, that there is No Electricity. Do you or a family member depend on life-support equipment and/or refrigeration for life-sustaining medications?  If so, you need a power outage plan. Donna’s presentation will provide a power planning checklist and look at alternative power resources. 

This webinar is brought to you by the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) and the Oregon Office on Disability and Health (OODH) in the Institute on Development and Disability at OHSU and the University of Southern California UCEDD at Children's Hospital Los Angeles. 

Presenter bios

Wesley Witherspoon, Consumer Advocate, USC UCEDD - Wesley is a person with a disability who attended Special Education. He has a BS degree in Psychology. He has 20 years' experience working with people with disabilities. He was invited to the AUCD conference in 2018 and 2019. He is the current chair of CA SCDD. His focus is on Crime Victimization, Emergency Preparedness, and Self-Advocacy. He is currently married and has a job. He wants to make sure that people with disabilities are respected and have the same things as people without disabilities.

Donna Harris, M.A., Disability Advocate and Emergency Preparedness Instructor - Donna is a person with a disability with a MA in Conflict Resolution. She has been a member of the City of Portland Neighborhood Emergency Team since 1995 and received additional preparedness training from FEMA and Mercy Corp. Her focus is on emergency preparedness training for persons with access and functional needs and training for first responders. Her goal is that all persons with disabilities are well prepared for emergencies and are never left behind.

Oregon Senate Bill 1606

An informative webinar on new law and the obligations for providers serving patients with disabilities.

Target audience: Physicians, Nurses, Social Workers, Physician Assistants, Practice and Hospital Administrators, Patient Advocates, and any hospital front line staff.

Watch the recording of Oregon Senate Bill 1606 webinar

Did you know that people with disabilities experience greater health disparities than people without disabilities? Senate Bill 1606 was passed on June 26, 2020, and ensures that patients with disabilities can receive treatment that is not conditioned on having a POLST, Advance Directive, or similar instruction related to the administration of withholding or withdrawing of life sustaining procedures or artificially administered nutrition and hydration. Patient with disabilities are also allowed to designate at least three support persons and have one present while they are hospitalized and for discussion and healthcare decision making. 

Webinar Objectives:

  • Health care providers will gain knowledge about the legislation SB 1606 from an ethical perspective, legal perspective, and what it means for Oregonians with disabilities.
  • Health care providers will identify the key ways to implement SB 1606 within the practice context.
  • Health care providers will gain knowledge about best practices and providing reasonable accommodations while caring for patients with disabilities.

This webinar was brought to you by the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities in the Institute on Development and Disability at OHSU.

Presenter bios

Bob Macauley, M.D. - Bob Macauley is the Cambia Health Foundation Endowed Chair in Pediatric Palliative Care at OHSU. He directs the Bridges Pediatric Palliative Care Team, and previously worked for over a decade as Medical Director of Clinical Ethics at the University of Vermont Medical Center. He is the author of Ethics in Palliative Care: A Complete Guide (Oxford University Press, 2018).

Heidi Funke, M.N., M.A., RN, CMSRN - Heidi Funke is a registered nurse and full-time faculty at the OHSU School of Nursing. She serves on the OHSU Ethics Consult Service and Institutional Ethics Committee, and is an Associate Director of the OHSU Center for Ethics in Healthcare.

Leslie Sutton, J.D. - Leslie Sutton believes that Oregon is strongest when all people have opportunities to succeed. As the Policy Director for the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities, Leslie Sutton strives to protect and strengthen programs that allow people to live full, healthy and productive lives as members of their communities. Prior to this, she handled Medicaid and other human services cases as an attorney at nonprofit legal services providers in Oregon and Washington.

Gabrielle Guedon - Gabrielle is the Executive Director of the Oregon Self Advocacy Coalition (OSAC) and a dedicated advocate for people with disabilities in her local community and around the state. Through her work with OSAC, Gabby has presented at various conferences, classrooms and organizations about the importance of employment and self-advocacy. She is a member of the Oregon Home Health Commission and the DD Vision Committee. Prior to her time with OSAC, Gabby worked at Community Vision, Inc. as an Employment Outreach Specialist and with OSAC as a paid peer mentor for employment.

Emily Cooper, J.D. - Emily Cooper is the Legal Director at Disability Rights Oregon where she leads a team of attorneys and advocates who work to uphold the rights of Oregonians with disabilities. In addition to working on class-action litigation, Emily monitored facilities that serve people with disabilities, investigated abuse and neglect, and testified in front of the legislature. Emily was also an Adjunct Law Professor at Seattle University School of Law from 2014 to 2017, served on the American Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”) of Washington’s Board of Directors from 2011 to 2017, and served as the Director of Advocacy for the Washington Attorneys with Disabilities Association (“WADA”) from 2013 to 2016. Emily served as a Senior Attorney at Disability Rights Washington since 2006. Emily graduated from Seattle University School of Law in 2003.

Rhonda Eppelsheimer, M.S.W., LCSW - Rhonda Eppelsheimer is the co-Director of the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disability (UCEDD) at the OHSU Institute on Development & Disability. Her work is focused on adolescent health transition and mental health, and civil rights and human dignity in healthcare for people with disabilities.

Sex and Medicine: The Imperative for Medical and Mental Health Providers to Address Sex and Sexuality

In 2011, both the National Prevention Strategy and Healthy People 2020 recognized “reproductive and sexual health” as a national priority which has important implications for clinicians and patients. The World Health Organization defines sexual health as a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality; it is not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity.

This is a two-part training for medical and mental health professionals to explore proactive strategies for supporting the sexual health of patients of all ages, with extra tips and tools for supporting patients who identify as sexual or gender minorities and/or who experience intellectual, developmental, and neurological diversity.

Part 1 Objectives:

  1. Understanding sexual health as a critical part of overall healthcare
  2. Emphasizing comprehensive sexual health over specific disease prevention
  3. Recognizing medical and mental health providers as key players in preventing abuse AND promoting healthy sexuality throughout a person’s lifespan
  4. Identifying and overcoming the barriers to addressing sex and sexuality
  5. Learning specific strategies for initiating conversations about sexual topics in different provider setting

Part 2 Objectives:

  1. Promoting the use of medically accurate terms and body parts
  2. Normalizing discussions of sexuality with medical and mental health providers
  3. Challenging assumptions about sexual expressions
  4. Learning practical tools for supporting the healthy sexuality of sexual and gender minorities AND people with intellectual, developmental, and neurological diversity
  5. Advocating for an inter-disciplinary team approach to supporting sexual health

This webinar series is brought to you by the University Center of Excellence and Developmental Disabilities and Among Friends.

Presenter bio

Shanya Luther, M.Div. –Founder and Director of Among Friends

Shanya Luther is a social-sexual ecologist and a professional trainer in the field of human sexuality, with nearly 20 years of experience. Shanya writes, speaks and presents about all facets of sexuality, gender, and relationships; utilizing an ecological framework, attachment theories, developments in neurobiology, and trauma informed care. She holds a bachelor's in Family and Child Development, a Certificate in Family Life Education, and a Masters of Divinity. She continues to study art, movement therapies, interpersonal relationships, and emotional intelligence. Shanya is the founder and Executive Director of Among Friends. In addition to conducting trainings and consulting, she is an authorized Behavior Professional and OIS Trainer for the State of Oregon and maintains a part-time coaching practice.

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Mouth Matters: Disability and Oral Health: 2-Part webinar series

Oral health is an important health issue for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). A recent report from Special Olympics’ Special Smiles program found that about half of all the Special Olympics athletes in the U.S. were unaware that they had an underlining oral health issue. In Oregon, 2018 BRFSS data shows that fewer adults with disabilities visited a dentist within the past year compared to adults without disabilities and more Oregonians with disabilities (60%) have had at least one permanent tooth removed, compared to 33% of adults without disabilities.

This informative 2-part webinar series provides an opportunity to learn from people with I/DD, dental professionals and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) consultants, about oral health barriers experienced by people with I/DD, and what disability service providers and oral health providers can all do to help people with I/DD have successful dental visits and overall dental care.

Watch Mouth Matters Session 1 webinar here

Primary audience: people with I/DD and other disabilities, their families and disability service providers support staff, and dental students. (Might also be of interest to dental hygienists and other dental professionals.)


  1. Understand oral health disparities experienced by people with disabilities;
  2. Develop strategies that can be used to stimulate oral health conversations;
  3. Learn about the relationship between oral health on overall health;
  4. Recognize and apply best practices in ensuring a successful dental appointment;
  5. Understand the basic rights for people with disabilities in oral health care services; and
  6. Learn about accommodations that are available for a variety of disabilities and how to request accommodations when making an appointment.

Watch Mouth Matters Session 2 webinar here (To access the webinar please click the top bar dated June 10th, labeled “SoD-Mouth Matters Webinars." If you would like to receive CDEs, please visit this site to register for the course.)

Primary audience: Dentists, Dental Hygienists, Oral Surgeons, Dental Assistants, Denturists, Dental Lab Technicians, and Dental Front Office Staff 


  1. Understand oral health disparities experienced by people with disabilities;
  2. Change attitude and approach in working with patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities;
  3. Recognize and apply non-discrimination practices for patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities;
  4. Learn and apply knowledge about providing physical accessibility, communication access and common accommodations for various disability situations; and
  5. Identify resources for available tax credits and deductions that support barrier removal and accommodation expenses.

This webinar series is brought to you by the University Center of Excellence on Developmental Disabilities and the Oregon Office on Disability and Health within the Institute on Development and Disability at OHSU, the OHSU School of Dentistry, the Oregon Public Health Associations’ disability and oral health sections, and the NW ADA Center.

Presenter bios

Kathy Hunt, RDH ECPII - A Registered Dental Hygienist for 40 years, Kathy Hunt first began her work in public health in 2004 when she designed the first system in Kansas that provided preventive dental care in public schools, Head Starts, and health departments. She also was instrumental in developing, implementing, and directing a dental clinic within a small safety net clinic located in her local community. Since 2007, Kathy has provided oral health leadership for the Kansas Head Start Association, authored several oral health resource materials for pregnant women, young children, and adults with disabilities, serves as the Dental Program Director for Oral Health Kansas, and regularly collaborates with state organizations and agencies to use systems change to make progress on improving the oral health of all Kansans.

Michael Richardson, M.P.A. - Michael directs the Northwest ADA Center and provides technical assistance, training, continuing education, and technical consultation services related to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other federal and state disability laws. He also co-chairs the Accessible Health Care Committee with the ADA National Network and often speaks on accessible health care topics such as effective communication for people with communication disabilities, and physical and program access to medical facilities, services, and programs. In addition, Michael provides cultural competency consultation and training in relation to interacting with people with disabilities and building inclusive programs.

Lori Killen Aus, EPDH, M.A. - Lori has been a practicing dental hygienist for almost 40 years. She has worked in private practice dental offices as well as served in public health settings, offering free preventive oral health care to the uninsured. In 2011 Lori began her own mobile preventive oral health practice serving those who lack access to care. Her business, Oral Health for Life, LLC, takes preventive oral care into care facilities and homes. Lori has a heart for working with those who have challenges and disabilities. Lori contracts with Exceptional Needs Dental Services and Prime Mobile Dental. As an adjunct professor for dental hygiene programs, Lori enjoys taking students on rotations, whether in care facilities or free oral health clinics. As a past President for Oregon Dental Hygienists' Association, Lori remains active on the board as well as holding a position on an advisory board for Mt Hood Dental Hygiene program. Lori received an Outstanding Achievement Award in 2017 from ODHA and the Lynn Ironside Access to Care award in 2019.

Angela Weaver, M.Ed. - Angela is the Program Manager of the Oregon Office on Disability and Health (OODH) and has worked for the office for over 20 years. She works with key local, state and national partners to advocates for, and provides education on, the need for full accessibility and inclusion of, people with disabilities through policies, systems and environmental changes. She provides a variety of community-based health promotion and education training and workshops for people with disabilities, disability service providers and public health professionals. Angela also serves as: the Vice Chair of the Oregon Disability Commission; President of the Board of Directors for Inclusion Inc., a non-profit agency that provides case management services to adults with developmental disabilities; a member on the NW ADA Center's Advisory Board; and is a Robert Wood Johnson Leadership Fellow. Angela received her Master’s in Education: Special Needs from Colorado State University.

Kiersi Coleman - Kiersi Coleman is a self-advocate, and program consultant for the UCEDD. Coleman provides expertise for educational program implementation and evaluation. She is a student at Portland State University, and leads efforts across communities to improve the lives of people with disabilities, all while experiencing cerebral palsy herself.

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Complex Access and Communication: A 3-Part Approach for Emerging Communicators

The University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) and the Assistive Technology lab at Community Vision presents a three-part webinar series.

This webinar series will provide continuing education for professionals and caregivers to strengthen their skill set in utilizing augmentative and alternative communication methods. Webinar attendees will learn new techniques for supporting communication skills for individuals with complex communication needs.

Target audience: Families, Self-Advocates, and Providers across Disciplines

Accreditation: The School of Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University, is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Credit: Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 3 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. (Please note that credits are only available for participation in the live webinars.)

Session 1

When children or adults with complex communication needs (CCN) are not able to use their fingers for direct access to AAC systems, we need to consider alternative access modes. This session is an overview of alternative access for AAC. It will lay the foundation for the innovative 3-part approach for emerging communicators presented in Sessions 2 and 3.

Session 1 materials:

Session 2

Children with complex motor or sensory needs, who would benefit from AAC, have many challenges. Knowing where to begin and how to progress can be daunting. A three-step approach to building tools, which teases apart Participation, Access, and Language (PAL) will be discussed. We will discuss the rationale for the PAL approach and demonstrate the process through case studies, exploring how each of the three areas of PAL were addressed with each child. Examples will be provided of how the three areas, when given time to develop, can come together in a comprehensive, multi-modal AAC system.

Session 2 materials:

Session 3

Building upon the 3-part approach outlined in Session 1, we will look at specific tools and strategies in each of the PAL areas. A handout for organizing tools will be discussed in the context of a brief case study.

Session 3 materials:

Presenter bios

Kim Elliott, M.S., CCC-SLP, ATP

Kim received a Bachelor’s of Fine Art from York University in Toronto, Canada and completed her graduate degree in Speech Language Pathology from Portland State University. She worked on the Assistive Technology Team at Randall Children’s Hospital. She also worked with adults at OHSU serving clients with ALS, Parkinson’s, Stroke, neurodegenerative diseases, and with developmental disabilities. Along with two colleagues, she began Assistive Technology NW (ATNW), a private practice where she focused on developing communication supports for children and adults with complex communication needs in a variety of community-based settings. She is now Co-Director of the Community Vision AT Lab in SE Portland. She teaches the graduate AAC course as adjunct faculty at Portland State University. She is also trained as a teacher of “Danceability,” a dance/movement approach that includes people of all abilities.

Carrie Luse, M.S.R., OT/L, ATP

Carrie graduated from the Medical University of South Carolina in 2001 with a Masters in Occupational Therapy. Her education was primarily interdisciplinary, learning alongside physical therapy and speech language pathology students. Carrie is a certified Assistive Technology Professional (ATP) and specializes in communication access, seating & mobility, and sensory integration. Her true passion is working with and learning from people with complex communication, mobility, and medical needs. She worked for almost ten years at the Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel in Portland, Oregon and was part of multiple interdisciplinary clinic teams. Carrie has served children and adults through her private practice at Assistive Technology NW, as well as consulting at the Providence Neurodevelopmental Center for Children and The Child Center.  Carrie teaches AT courses at Pacific University and guest lectures at Portland State University. Carrie is now co-directing the AT Lab at Community Vision. Carrie presents regionally and nationally on a variety of topics.

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Go Forward! Transition to Adult Healthcare Conference

This conference covered topics related to the transition of adolescents and emerging adults to adult-centered care. Topics covered include basic components of a smooth and prepared transition, psychosocial considerations, and legal issues related to decision making and guardianship.

Target audience was physicians, psychologists, and other healthcare providers (N.P., P.A., R.N., S.W., O.T.,P.T.) who work in both primary and specialty care settings with adolescents and emerging adults.

Learning Objectives:

  • Describe the Six Core Elements of Transition and apply these principles to the pediatric, adult, and family medicine/med-peds practice settings
  • Articulate the psychosocial aspects of emerging adulthood that patients and families experience during the transition from pediatric to adult care
  • Describe the legal and guardianship issues associated with young adults with cognitive and intellectual disabilities, and learn about relevant community resources

Presenters and Topics:

  • Essential Components of an Effective Transition Program– Reem Hasan, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Internal Medicine. Dr. Hasan received her M.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine and her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health. She completed her Internal medicine/Pediatrics residency at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. 
  • Psychosocial Considerations for Emerging Adults with Chronic Conditions – Harpreet Nagra, Ph.D. Dr. Nagra received her Ph.D. from the University of Oregon. She completed her Pediatric Psychology residency at Oregon Health & Science University and her Chronic Illness fellowship at Oregon Health & Science University.
  • Legal Issues and Guardianship Considerations – Bob Joondeph, Executive Director, Disability Rights Oregon. Bob Joondeph is a graduate of Case Western Reserve Law School and Brown University. He serves as a member the Governor's Task Force on Brain Injury, the Oregon Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Coalition, and the Oregon Council on Developmental Disabilities. Bob has served as Executive Director of Disability Rights Oregon helping to transform systems, policies and practices across the state. He leads a team of lawyers and advocates who have helped Oregonians with disabilities keep their jobs, their homes, and their access to health care and education.

Event flyer

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