Getting it Right 2018 National Inclusive Disaster Strategies Conference

May 23rd to May 25th, 2018
Washington Marriott at Metro Center
Washington, DC


Sponsor and Exhibitor Guide

Can't join us in Washington, DC? You can attend Getting it Right remotely!


Why do we need to GET IT RIGHT?

The past year has been a time of devastating community and economic impacts due to disasters around the world. In the U.S., there were at least 16 billion-dollar catastrophic disasters and hundreds of lives lost. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the cumulative cost of these disasters is already more than $306.2 billion dollars, which shattered the previous U.S. annual record cost of $214.8 billion dollars established in 2005 due to the impacts of Hurricanes Dennis, Katrina, Rita and Wilma. Of the people who lost their lives or sustained serious injuries, people with disabilities and older adults continue to be impacted at disproportionally high rates. Disability inclusive emergency preparedness is imperative to whole community readiness and resilience.

We can, and we must GET IT RIGHT!

Our Getting It Right conferences bring together leading inclusive emergency and disaster experts, disability leaders, emergency managers, planners, federal, tribal, territorial, state and local government, elected officials, public health and public safety experts, faith leaders, business and industry and higher education leaders who want to learn more about how to improve readiness and recovery for individuals, families, communities and businesses. The focus of Getting It Right is on expanding our shared commitment to achieving and sustaining disability inclusive whole community emergency preparedness, community resilience, response, recovery and mitigation before, during, and after disasters.

What is the Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies?

The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies (the Partnership) is a national coalition of thousands of individuals and organizations with a shared mission. We are committed to increasing individual and community capacity for equal access and full inclusion of people with access and functional needs for optimal whole community emergency preparedness, support when disaster strikes and community engagement throughout disaster recovery to build back better and truly improve safety and community resilience for all.

Since hurricane Harvey made landfall in August, the Partnership and conference sponsor, Portlight Strategies have been leading local and national response, relief and recovery initiatives. We have been working around the clock to meet the access and functional needs of children and adults with disabilities, older adults and many others impacted by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, as well as the devastating wildfires in northern and southern California.

Why should I attend GETTING IT RIGHT 2018?

Here are some reasons to attend the Getting It Right 2018 National Inclusive Disaster Strategies Conference:

  • Learn about promising whole community emergency management practices, solutions for complying with laws and regulations, achieving and sustaining individual, family, community and business readiness, community resilience, optimizing disaster recovery and finding the funds to get it right.
  • Learn more about inclusive disaster strategies. Conference session topics will address community engagement, physical and communication accessibility, exercises, registries, emergency alerts, evacuation, health maintenance, medical equipment and assistive devices, sheltering and housing, accommodating access and functional needs, media, universal design, laws and rights, including federal, tribal, territorial, state and local emergency programs.
  • Visit the exhibitors to gather information from companies and organizations working on emergency and disaster strategies, while networking with current and future inclusive emergency management leaders and key decision-makers.
  • Exchange promising practices with other whole community inclusion experts, creating stronger, bolder and more effective solutions for the future.

--- Zoom webcast schedule below ---


All events marked (Z) will be included in the remote Zoom web stream.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

4:00-9:00 Registration

5:00-9:00 Exhibits

5:00-6:00 Reception and Networking

6:00-8:00 Opening Session (Z)

  • Marcie Roth, CEO, Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies
    • 2017-2018 Disaster After Action Report
  • June Kailes & Melissa Marshall
    • Getting It Right Act
    • Center for Excellence in Disability Inclusion, Resilience and Accessibility Before, During, and After Disasters (CEDIRA)
  • Portlight ~ National Disability Rights Network Memorandum of Agreement (Z)
  • Four Wheel City Musical Performance (Z)

8:00-9:00 Dessert Reception

Thursday, May 24, 2018

7:30-8:30 Registration

8 - 8:30 Breakfast with exhibitors

8:30 – 9:00 Welcome (Z)

  • Marcie Roth, CEO, Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies

9:00-10:00 W. Craig Fugate, FEMA Administrator 2009-2017 (Z)

10:00 - 10:20 Congressman Benny Thompson (MS), Ranking Member, House Homeland Security Committee (Z)

10:20 -10:30 Break

10:30-11:30 Getting It Right Act- How a Bill Becomes a Law (Z)

  • Michael Gamel-McCormick, Disability Policy Director, Senate Special Committee on Aging, Moderator
  • Lauren McClain, Homeland Security Committee, Rep. Benny Thompson (MS)
  • Kim Knackstedt, Rep. Bobby Scott (VA)

11:30 - 12:30 Disability Rights and Disasters (Z)

  • John Wodatch, Moderator
  • Jennifer Sultan, US Department of Homeland Security, Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
  • Billy Altom, National Council on Disability
  • Janet Collazo, Executive Director, Defensoría para las Personas con Impedimentos, Disability Rights Puerto Rico
  • Rebecca Rodgers, Disability Rights Advocates

12:30 - 1:30 Lunch with exhibitors


  • Show Me the Money! Funding Disability Inclusive Preparedness, Response and Recovery (Z)
  • Ben Smilowitz, Smart Response, Disaster Accountability Project
  • Rebekah Tosado, DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
  • Marcie Roth, Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies

1 :30-2:30 All Disasters are Local-Getting It Right on the Ground (Z)

  • Kelly Buckland, National Council on Independent Living
  • Disability Leaders from Puerto Rico, Texas and California
    • Living Hope Wheelchair Association, Houston, TX
    • California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (invited)
    • Puerto Rico Disability and Disaster Network
    • Hawaii Disability and Communication Access Board (invited)

2:30-3:30 Public Health, Mass Care and Disability Rights (Z)

  • Marcie Roth, Moderator
  • Mary Casey Lockyer, American Red Cross
  • Margaret Schaefer, DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties
  • Merrill Friedman, Anthem Health
  • Patrick Cokley, Anthem Health
  • Zachary Usher, FEMA Individual Assistance

3:30-3:45 Break

3:45- 4:45 Equipment and Devices Lost, Left Behind, Damaged and Destroyed- Now What? (Z)

  • Carolyn Phillips, Interim Director, AMAC Accessibility Solutions & Research Center, Georgia Institute of Technology,Moderator
  • Liz Persaud, Pass It on Center
  • Jessica Michot and Angela Lorio, Trach Mommas
  • Dustin Snowadzky, Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies

4:45 - 5:45 The Inconvenient Truth About Registries, Power, Alerts and Evacuation (Z)

  • June Kailes, Associate Director, Harris Family Center for Disability and Health Policy, Western University of Health Sciences, Moderator
  • Sarah Tuneberg, CEO, Geospiza, Inc.
  • Maria Town, Director, Houston Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities

5:45- 6:15 Linda Mastandrea, Director, FEMA Office of Disability Integration and Coordination (Z)

6:15 – 7:00 Exhibitor reception

Friday, May 25, 2018

8:00 - 8:30 Breakfast with exhibitors

8:30 - 9:30 Mayors Forum (Z)

  • Maria Town, Director, Houston Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities
  • Mayor Maria "Mayita" Melendez, Ponce, PR
  • Mayor of San Juan, PR (invited)

9:30 -10:30 Disaster Recovery and Community Resilience- Housing, Universal Design, Inclusion and Civil Rights (Z)

  • Brian Parsons, Senior Policy Advisor, DHS Office of Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Moderator
  • Rebecca Cokley, Center for American Progress
  • Sarah Mickelson, Senior Director of Public Policy, National Low-Income Housing Coalition
  • Chris Smith, FEMA Individual Assistance (invited)

10:30 -10:45 Break

10:45 - 11:15 Preparing the Territories- What Have We Learned, What Happens Now? (Z)

  • Adriane Griffen, Senior Director of Public Health and Leadership
  • Association of University Centers on Disabilities

11:15-12:00 Getting the Disaster and Disability Story Right, No More Inspiration Porn (Z)

  • Sarah Blahovec, National Council on Independent Living
  • Stephanie Hydal, Westside Center for Independent Living
  • David Perry, Journalist
  • Anita Cameron, ADAPT

12:00 12:30 Closing Session: Getting It Right, Right Now, A Call to Action (Z)

  • Marcie Roth

Zoom Webcast Schedule (Eastern Daylight Time):

Wednesday May 23


Thursday May 24

8:30am- 12:30pm

(break: 10:20am-10:30am)


(break: 3:30pm-3:45pm)

Friday May 25


(break 10:30-10:45)

For more information, please contact us at

Individuals and organization interested in sponsorship and exhibitor opportunities are encouraged to contact Michael Decker at

American Sign Language interpreters and Computer-Aided Realtime Transcription (CART) will be provided. Attendees who require other accommodations are asked to email Jessica Justus at with “disability accommodation” in the message subject heading.

Jessica Justus can also answer your conference-related questions.


Stakeholder organizations and individuals actively involved or interested in inclusive disaster...



Conferences and workshops that bring together people with disabilities and first responders.



The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies, a clearinghouse for information and a community...


Donate to the cause.


The Partnership galvanizes and amplifies the voice of the national disability community and works with local, state, tribal, territorial and federal emergency managers to create a more inclusive and accessible structure within their jurisdictions. The Partnership looks to the Trump Administration for support on our initiatives and to share our mission to achieve whole community inclusive emergency preparedness and equal access to emergency services and programs in every community.


Man in wheelchair by the water

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