Presenters by Session Date
July 5: Intersections and Conflicts - The ADA and Impacts of the COVID-19 Protocols
Emily Cooper - Disability Rights Oregon Legal Director
Emily leads a team of attorneys and advocates who work to uphold the rights of Oregonians with disabilities. She spearheads DRO's class-action litigation, including the
Wyatt v. Brown lawsuit seeking a safer foster care system that provides children the services they need to thrive, as well as our ongoing monitoring of the
Lane v. Brown case aimed at closing sheltered workshops so that individuals with developmental disabilities get competitive jobs in their communities.
Joannie Tang - Advocate
Joannie Mon Yee Tang (they/she) is a neurodivergent patient advocate, community organizer, and health equity strategist, living with severe and limiting disabilities, whose work is informed by the intersection of racial equity, disability justice, and LGBTQ rights. Joannie was raised on the rural Oregon coast on Hanis Coos, Miluk Coos, Umpqua, and Siuslaw lands and is a first-generation immigrant, a first-generation college graduate, a fellow of the Asian Pacific Islander Community Leadership Institute, and a graduate of Unite Oregon's Pan-Immigrant Leadership and Organizing Training program. Their experience spans disciplines including academic research, medicine, public health, education, and social work. Joannie currently serves on the Multnomah County Public Health Advisory Board, Healthy Columbia Willamette Collaborative Community Action Team, Metro Parks and Nature Equity Advisory Committee, and Disability Rights Oregon's COVID-19 Task Force. They are a co-admin of the Portland Disability Justice Collective and are a co-founder of two equity-centered neighborhood groups.
Tina Pinedo - Disability Rights Oregon Communications Director
Tina Pinedo (she/her) has served as the Communications Director of Disability Rights Oregon since November 2021. Previously, Tina worked for three years at the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), the national association for the Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems, and Disability Rights Washington for six years. She believes disability is a part of the natural human experience and is highly motivated to make the world a more accessible and inclusive place.
July 12: Caregiver Workforce Shortages and COVID-19 Protocols - Consumers Scramble for In-home Services
Acacia McGuire Anderson - Oregon Developmental Disability Services Statewide Employment First Coordinator and Special Projects Unit Manager
Acacia McGuire Anderson is the Statewide Employment First Coordinator and Special Projects Manager for Oregon. Her role includes overseeing the transformation of Oregon’s employment services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to focus on community employment and inclusion. As part of the ODDS Special Projects, Acacia has overseen the launch of https://impactoregon.careers/, a website designed to highlight the workforce need in DD services, give a central place for job postings in the field, and also provide examples of potential career growth opportunities. In addition to Impact Oregon, Acacia has spent time working with higher education to develop curriculum for those interested in a career in DD services and is currently working on potential apprenticeship opportunities.
Cheryl Miller - Oregon Home Care Commission Executive Director
Cheryl Miller has served in the role of the Executive Director of the Oregon Home Care Commission for over 16 years. Her career in Oregon serving older adults and people with disabilities and the homecare workforce spans over 21 years at both the local and state levels. She is a problem solver and seeks opportunities to collaborate and partner share with others. Cheryl is a supporter of a qualified trained homecare workforce. She is committed to workforce development, equity, diversity, and training. She is often quoted, “We are seeking the Right Worker at the Right Place at the Right Time, to provide quality care from a person-centered perspective for Oregonians seeking in-home care paid with public funds”. Cheryl graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing.
David Scott Vining - Oregon Home Care Commission Program Analyst
With passion for equity, diversity, community, and justice, David Scott Vining has been serving Oregonians through the Oregon Home Care Commission over four years. A community developer at heart and by education, he brings over a decade of social justice work and training development to his work in Oregon. David Scott is an advocate for quality, accessible, and person-centered training for a homecare workforce to better serve individuals as they strive to live safe, healthy, and wholistic lives in their own homes. David Scott graduated from the University of Oklahoma where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Psychology, and Social Justice. He obtained a Master of Arts in International Development with an emphasis on Community Development from Eastern University.
Theresa Powell - Aging and People with Disabilities Community Services and Supports Unit Operations and Policy Analyst
Theresa Powell is an Operations and Policy Analyst in the Oregon Department of Human Services (ODHS), Adult and People with Disability (APD), within the Community Services and Supports Unit (CSSU). She serves as an AAA liaison (3 agencies), Contract Administrator, SPADO (Caregiver Sub-Committee Member), Property Tax Deferral Program Overseer, and Subject Matter Expert for the Family Caregiver Support Program. Her most recent accomplishment is the Initiation of the FCSP – State to State Networking – OAA Programs Connection. Her first position with the State of Oregon was within the Advocacy, and Development (A&D) Program back in 2013, as she presented a host of experience working in the Human Services field. Her most acknowledgeable achievement within her hired position was the Re-convening of the Oregon Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services Advisory Committee (ODHHS-AC). Theresa received a master's degree from Antioch University in Organization Development while working in the Human Services field. In addition to her employment within a Community Mental Health Center, she founded a 501(c)(3) facility for people with physical and mental disabilities. As the CEO of the facility, she managed the facility's overall operations. After eight years as the CEO, she paused her position, became a Board Member, and advanced her career within the Community Mental Health Centers as a Program Director (Family-Based). Her responsibility included planning, developing, implementing, governing, and collaborating with internal and external State, Schools, and Community agencies to create feasible resources for the consumers served. A significant accomplishment was the creation of a Deaf and Hard of Hearing Department.
Bhagavati - Aging and People with Disabilities Workforce Resilience Analyst
Bhagavati (Adrienne Mullock) has worked for DHS/OHA for the past fifteen years, beginning her career in state service as a public health educator on the training team for the State of Oregon WIC Program and later as a Transformation Analyst with the Oregon Health Authority’s Transformation Center. With the Transformation Center, Bhagavati, provided targeted technical assistance to coordinated care organizations, including the community advisory councils, and supported efforts related to Clinician Vitality. Currently, Bhagavati has been supporting DHS in strategies related to workforce resilience for direct care workers of long-term care facilities. Bhagavati served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Republic of Moldova, where she collaborated with science teachers to implement a health education curriculum into a middle school. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Bhagavati now considers Oregon home and enjoys spending time with her family in the beauty of the Northwest. Bhagavati is passionate about yoga and human potential. In addition to her professional experiences, Bhagavati has been studying yoga since 1997 and has been teaching in various capacities around the globe since 2000. Bhagavati completed the teacher training provided by the Living Yoga program in 2007 and then upon returning from her pilgrimage to India in 2010 completed 200 hours of registered yoga training at the Lotus Seed. After the birth of her daughter, Bhagavati trained with Next Generation Yoga to become certified in teaching yoga to kids. Bhagavati bridges her state service with her passions for yoga and holistic healing by offering a free weekly yoga class, via Zoom, to her fellow state employees - across agencies & across the state. As a bhakta, Bhagavati weaves her devotion into her daily rhythm – on and off the mat and is devoted to promoting opportunities for cultivating wellness for all Oregonians.
July 19: Dangerous Assumptions - Understanding Audism and Changing Perspectives about Communication
Chris Mortenson - Partnerships in Community Living Employment Specialist
Chris Mortensen is a Deaf and Hard of Hearing (Deaf/HOH) Employment Specialist at Partnerships in Community Living’s (PCL) serving on the Job Launch team. Chris's passion lies with serving the youth and adult Deaf/HOH community through providing direct language access and culturally competent services. His 16 years of experience serving the I/DD Deaf/HOH community has given him a specialized understanding of the unique challenges facing this population. Chris has served as a fierce advocate on multiple state and national boards addressing issues impacting Deaf/HOH communities. Over the past 3 years, Chris has been intensely focused on supporting youth in transition at Oregon School for the Deaf (OSD), in partnership with Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation Services, to ensure students have access to appropriate assessments as well as quality employment and independent living skills services. He is a parent of 4 children and foster parent of 4 foster children as well.
Joanna Wilson - Advocate
Joanna Wilson was born and raised in Boise, Idaho and then moved to Medford, Oregon in 1981. She has three adult children and 4 grandchildren. Her hobbies are swimming and fishing. Joanna currently serves on the Disability Services Advisory Council for Jackson and Josephine County and also as a Commissioner on the Oregon Disabilities Commission (along with being a member of the Executive Committee). Joanna has been an advocate for people who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deafblind for decades.
Korian “Koko” DeMont Thomas – Oregon Health Authority COVID-19 Response and Recovery Equity and Accessibility Unit Operations and Policy Analyst
Koko was born and raised in Dallas, Texas. He attended mainstream schools. He earned a bachelor's degree in Social Work and a master's degree in Public Administration from Gallaudet University and a master's degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of North Texas.
July 26: Evolution of the ADA - Past, Present and Future
Dr. James "Jim" Davis – Advocate
Dr. Jim Davis is a gerontologist, psychologist, educator, and advocate. He retired in 2016 after serving for 11 years as an associate professor in the Human Sciences Department at Marylhurst University, where he coordinated the Psychology and Social Sciences Programs and taught psychology, gerontology, and social policy. He won the 2013 Award for Faculty Excellence in Academic Service and Teaching. Dr. Davis currently is the Chair of the Oregon Disabilities Commission. He is also the Chair of the state's Older Adult-People with Disabilities Behavioral Health Advisory Council, after serving as the Co-Chair of the Oregon Legislative Work Group on Senior and Disability Mental Health and Addictions. He has served on the Oregon State Insurance Advisory Committee for 30 years. Dr. Davis is the long-time Executive Director of the Oregon State Council of Retired Citizens and United Seniors of Oregon, both of whom he has served since the 1970s. He is a long-time member of the Board of Directors for the Oregon Consumer League, where he served as President for 5 years. He also was President of James A. Davis and Associates, coordinator of the SDSD Senior Mental Health Projects, Mental Health Gerontologist for the Oregon Mental Health Division, and a professor/administrator at the University of Maryland. He received his bachelor's in political science, master's in Gerontology and Administration, and doctorate in Educational Psychology/Gerontology, all from the University of Oregon.
Max Brown – Aging and People with Disabilities Long-Term Care Services and Supports Section Operations and Policy Analyst
Max Brown is a Policy Analyst in the Oregon Department of Human Services, Office of Aging and People with Disabilities (APD). His focus is on aging and disability policy. He is currently working with a team on the 1115 Medicaid Demonstration Waiver for Oregon Project Independence and the Family Caregiver Assistance Program. Max has worked in APD since 2005, and he supported the Oregon Disabilities Commission from 2008 to 2016. On evenings and weekends, Max enjoys reading, gardening, cooking, and taking long walks in the neighborhoods and trails of North Portland.
Ray Petty – National Advocate
Ray’s experience in the disability rights movement predates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) when he was pushing for change to make programs, policies, and laws work more fairly and effectively for people with disabilities, not only in his home state of Kansas but for the entire country. Ray’s involvement in grassroots advocacy and lobbying in legislative arenas alongside his fellow activists turned the dream of the ADA into a reality. Ray currently works for the Great Plains ADA Center, where he is responsible for the delivery of ADA Network services in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, and Iowa. Ray provides training, technical assistance, consultation, outreach, and capacity building activities; serves on the advisory board of the Assistive Technology for Kansas; and was recently appointed by Kansas Governor to serve on the State Independent Living Council of Kansas.