Events & exhibitions

Ensuring Health Equity for Persons with Disabilities

  • Thursday, April 23, 2020
    4 PM ET
  • Online on Zoom
By Markus Mainka

As COVID-19 threatens to push hospital resources beyond capacity, a raft of states, hospitals, and advocacy organizations have formulated protocols to address potential discrimination against persons with disabilities. Two highly influential statements by the Arc and the University of Pittsburgh are setting new standards for the ethical treatment of persons with disabilities. This Radcliffe webinar places these triaging policies within the context of the history of disability civil rights, culture, and bioethics and considers what is necessary to achieve an equitable health outcome for persons with disabilities during this time of crisis.

Event Video


Rabia Belt, associate professor, Stanford Law School

Rosemarie Garland-Thomson RI ’12, professor of English and bioethics in the Department of English and codirector of the Emory Disability Studies Initiative, Emory University

Devan Stahl, assistant professor of religion, Baylor University

Joseph A. Stramondo, assistant professor, Department of Philosophy, San Diego State University

Rabia Belt is a legal historian whose scholarship focuses on disability and citizenship, including cultural analysis of disability in media, contemporary issues facing voters with disability, and the historical treatment of disabled Americans. She is currently writing a book titled “Disabling Democracy in America: Disability, Citizenship, Suffrage, and the Law, 1819–1920.” The American Society of Legal History named her a 2014 Kathryn T. Preyer Scholar. Also an advocate for people with disabilities, Belt was named a council member to the National Council on Disability by President Obama in 2016, and she is on the board of directors of the Disability Rights Bar Association. Prior to joining the Stanford Law School faculty, where she is an associate professor of law, she was a visiting assistant professor and research academic fellow at Georgetown University Law Center. Earlier in her career, she was a summer associate at Preston, Gates & Ellis, LLP, a parliamentary intern with the South African Human Rights Commission, and a research intern at the Office of the Monitor for Pigford v. Glickman and Brewington v. Glickman. She received her JD from the University of Michigan Law School and her PhD in American Studies from the University of Michigan.

Rosemarie Garland-Thomson is a disability justice and culture thought leader, bioethicist, educator, and humanities scholar. Her 2016 op-ed, “Becoming Disabled,” was the inaugural article in the ongoing weekly series in the New York Times about disability by people living with disabilities. She is a professor of English and bioethics at Emory University, where she teaches disability studies, bioethics, American literature and culture, and feminist theory. Her work develops the field of critical disability studies and the health humanities to bring forward disability culture, access, and justice to a broad range of institutions and communities. Garland-Thomson is an expert, writer, and consultant in disability bioethics. She is a Hastings Center fellow and chief project advisor to “The Art of Flourishing: Conversations on Disability and Technology,” a Hastings Center project supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is a coeditor of About Us: Essays from the Disability Series of the New York Times (Liveright, 2019) and the author of Staring: How We Look (Oxford University Press, 2009) and several other books.

Devan Stahl is an assistant professor of ethics at Baylor University. She received her PhD in health care ethics from St. Louis University and her MDiv from Vanderbilt University. Stahl has experience teaching bioethics and medical humanities to undergraduates, medical students and residents, nursing students, and veterinary students. She has also worked as a clinical ethicist in tertiary hospitals and has trained as a hospital chaplain. Her research interests include disability ethics, medicine and the visual arts, and theological bioethics. Stahl’s latest book, Imaging and Imagining Illness: Becoming Whole in a Broken Body (Wipf and Stock, 2018), is an edited volume examining the power of medical images on the experience of chronic illness and disability.

Joseph A. Stramondo is an assistant professor of philosophy and associate director of the Institute for Ethics and Public Affairs at San Diego State University. His scholarship and teaching bring bioethics into conversation with philosophy of disability. He has published nearly 20 scholarly articles and book chapters on topics that include reproductive technology, assisted suicide, procedures of informed consent, and assistive technology. Currently, he is working on a book manuscript, tentatively titled “The Ethics of Choosing Disability,” that will offer a limited defense of the view that it is, in some cases, morally permissible for prospective parents to use advanced reproductive technology to deliberately have disabled children. Stramondo earned a PhD in philosophy from Michigan State University. When he isn't working, Stramondo can be found adventuring around California with his spouse and two young children—unless a shelter-in-place order is in effect.

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