2nd Annual Stanford Conference on Disability in Healthcare and Medicine April 10, 2021 - click here for details »

 

Combat, Foster, Promote, & Advocate

The mission of Stanford Medicine Abilities Coalition (SMAC) is to

To combat health inequities and improve access to care and services for patients with disabilities

Foster and advocate for the equal treatment and well-being of everyone at Stanford Medicine, regardless of differences.

Promote collaboration between people who are passionate about disability at Stanford Medicine.

Advocate for accessibility, resources and disability services at Stanford Medicine, above and beyond that required by law.

Promote disability as a part of human diversity, inclusivity, and equity.

 

 

A message from SMAC:

The Stanford Medicine Abilities Coalition (SMAC) stands in solidarity with our family, friends, students, residents and fellows, staff, and colleagues of color as we toil to end institutional and systemic racism in all its forms, including here at Stanford.

We denounce the appalling murder of George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis Police Department, and the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmad Arbery, Tony McDade, David McAtee, and countless other Black lives taken before them.

We categorically reject racism, white supremacy, and any insidious belief that any person or group has the right to dominate another.

We stand steadfast for civil rights that every human being has intrinsic value that must be respected regardless of the color of our skin, how or if we worship, where we come from, who we love, or whether we have a disability. 

Pain felt by one part of our diverse community is felt by all. And we have a moral obligation to reach beyond our identity group. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., "the ultimate tragedy is not the oppression and cruelty by the bad people, but the silence over that by the good people." 

It is time for us, for all of us, to collectively cry out: Black Lives Matter

 

Dear SMAC Community,

I am sharing my personal experience and feelings around COVID-19 to raise awareness of the significance of this pandemic for those of us living with disabilities and chronic illness.

I have been anxious, confronting that, because of my spinal cord injury and respiratory dysfunction, it likely makes me "high risk" of more severe disease. That is hard to accept because I consider myself generally "healthy," despite my disability. By "healthy," I don't have any chronic medical conditions such as cardiovascular, kidney or liver disease, endocrine disorders, etc. It may be counterintuitive to think of disabled people as healthy, but many do.

The CDC has been correctly emphasizing proper protective measures. But it's harder for me to effectively self-isolate because I rely on outside caregivers for self-care tasks. But what would happen if they became sick and couldn't work? That would put a massive burden on my pregnant wife. It's also hard to wash my hands thoroughly. And I also take a lot of medications and use medical supplies, relying heavily on a functioning supply chain.

Last week I decided to work and read scans from home.  It was a hard decision to make for several reasons. Still, I am fortunate that, as a non-procedural radiologist, I do not have to choose between staying home and working, continuing an active role in patient care and teaching. My Radiology colleagues and leadership are always supportive and understanding of my disability. But I know that is not universal, and that's why I'm writing this email.  

What is an anxiety-provoking and challenging time for everyone is especially so for healthcare providers with disabilities. We are obligated and privileged to take care of our patients, which may include those with COVID-19. However, our health and safety are more at risk than those of our colleagues. There are people in our SMAC community who are immune-compromised or have other medical conditions and must take special precautions.

If those of you with disabilities need accommodations to protect yourself, feel empowered to speak with your instructor, division chief or supervisor. For those of you in positions of authority, please be proactive about protecting your high-risk staff, and be generous with the provision of accommodations. Those in lower positions of power, such as students and residents, may not feel comfortable initiating the conversation.

We cannot overemphasize the importance of protecting your safety. Please let us know if there are any other ways SMAC can support you. We all need to work together to make it through this difficult time.

Sincerely,

Pete

There are several underlying medical conditions that may increase the risk of serious COVID-19 for individuals of any age.

If you are experiencing stress, anxiety, or fear, there are several resources available to you.

Resources from the CDC for high-risk populations:  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html

5 Things to Know about Coronavirus and People with Disabilities

Stanford Office of Accessible Education