2012 News and Events
UCHC’s Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities sponsored a Community Discussion to Enhance Access and Inclusion of Residents with Disabilities
The A.J. Pappanikou Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research and Service at the UCONN Health Center in coordination with the Farmington group, Citizens Coalition for Equal Access (CC=A), sponsored a community discussion event that took place at the Health Center’s Farmington campus on May 16, 2012 from 5-9pm.
The event inspired people to think about individual and community strengths and to act constructively to use those strengths in assuring full participation of people with disabilities in community life. The evening event featured keynote speaker, Dean Emeritus and former Vice President of the University of Connecticut Health Center, Dr. Peter Deckers. In addition, Sens. Beth Bye and Terry Gerratana, state Rep. Bill Wadsworth, Town Councilors Mike Demicco, Nancy Nickerson and John Vibert, police and town staff, residents, Farmington High Schools students and members of the medical community were in attendance and participated in the discussion.
Members of CC=A performed skits, acting out their experiences of discrimination. Then participants broke up into focus groups to discuss the problems in Farmington of both accessibility and inclusion – and how to fix them. The biggest challenge is drawing the larger community into the conversation, many agreed during the discussion. Some said fear, ignorance and isolation need to be dispelled to move the agenda forward. Both mean bringing people with disabilities together with able-bodied people. Dr. Peter Deckers, Dean Emeritus and former Vice President of the UConn Health Center, told the group that the country’s health care system is unable to well serve people with disabilities for a number of reasons. “The disabled confuse our science. They disrupt our efficiencies. We’re told we have to see 25 patients in an afternoon… but it’s difficult to deal with disabled patients. It disturbs our organizational and economic guidelines – taking care of disabilities is expensive. You fail to adjust to our tight, rigid protocols… it makes us uncomfortable,” Deckers said. He closed by saying people with disabilities deserve the best care and finding innovative ways to serve them could hold great potential for UConn. But while they’re waiting, the disabled community must continue to work aggressively to solve its own problems, he said.