August 12, 2019
Disability Policy Consortium Weekly Update


This week we share with you an example of the work that the DPC does that you don't always hear about   It is about the quiet systemic advocacy that occurs behind the scenes.  Recently, Dennis Heaphy served on an expert panel aimed at increasing safety in hospital emergency departments.  The result was an in-depth report and case examples for emergency departments on innovative practices.  We share it with you below.

The DPC is working on a three year study with Brandeis University looking at opioid use and its impact on people with disabilities.  We are coordinating three listening sessions and we are seeking participants.  If you know someone who is qualified, please share this with them.

We also share with you some information from MCDHH and stories from the community.

Until next week, happy reading. 

John Winske
Disability Policy Consortium
DPC in the News:  Improving Emergency Department Safety

Many of us with disabilities realize that  a  hospital emergency room is the last place you want to be.  Not only because it means something potentially serious has happened to you, but because it is a place unaccustomed to the unique needs we have.  As a result, we at the DPC have focused a large part of our research on emergency services.

The Betsy Lehman Center is a state agency that supports providers, patients and policymakers working together to advance the safety and quality of health care.

Because of our work, Dennis Heaphy was invited to serve on an expert panel by the Betsy Lehman Center looking to improve safety at Emergency Departments in Massachusetts.  We are pleased to share this link to their report, and accompanying toolkit at
DPC/YesHealth Research: Participants Needed for National Opioid Project

DPC is collaborating with researchers at Brandeis University on opioid use in the disability community. We are currently recruiting for our first focus group to be held in Boston MA on 8/22/2019. We are looking for people with lived experience with a disability who have had problems with using opioids such as heroin, fentanyl and opioid medications such as oxycodone.

Focus group participants will receive a $25 gift card, and lunch/refreshments will be served at the focus group. Anyone interested in participating in the focus group can contact Pili at 617-307-7374 or email her at

For more information, a flyer for the project is here.
Community News:  Two Important Vlogs from MCDHH Commissioner Steven A. Florio 

We are proud to share this information in ASL with our readers.

EEE Virus Alert in Massachusetts


Communities entirely within the spray zone (except for exclusions):

Bristol County: Raynham, Taunton, Dighton, Berkley, Freetown, Acushnet

Plymouth County: Whitman, East Bridgewater, West Bridgewater, Hanson Bridgewater, Halifax, Plympton, Kingston, Carver, Middleborough, Lakeville, Rochester

Communities partially in the spray zone:

Bristol County: Easton, Norton, Rehoboth, Swansea, Fall River, Dartmouth, New Bedford, Fairhaven

Plymouth County: Brockton, Rockland, Hanover, Pembroke, Duxbury, Plymouth, Wareham, Marion, Mattapoisett


For questions about aerial spraying, contact the MDAR Crop and Pest Services at (617) 626-1700.

For the most updated information on EEE risk and aerial spraying, contact the DPH Division of Epidemiology at (617) 983-6800 or visit the DPH website at For updated risk levels, mosquito results, maps and incidence of positive mosquito samples, visit

For questions about mosquito control in your city or town: Contact your local board of health (listed online or in the telephone directory under "government").

For general information about mosquito control, go to Mosquito Control Projects and Districts or contact the Bristol County Mosquito Control Project at (508) 823-5253 or the Plymouth County Mosquito Control Project at 781-585-5450.


Commissioner Florio has produced the following vlog as an update on the FY20 budget:
Community News:  Boston Police Toss Wheelchairs of Homeless into Garbage Trucks  

In a move that can only be described as deeply troubling, the Boston Police Department (BPD) threw two and possibly three wheelchairs into waiting garbage trucks where they were destroyed.  They were  utilized by homeless individuals.  The BPD was attempting to combat drug sales and nuisance crimes which had been occurring in the area often referred to as the "Methadone Mile", near Boston Medical Center.  You can read more in this article from the Boston Globe
Recreation Opportunity:  Upcoming Outdoor Recreation Programs 

From the Department of Conservation and Recreation's Universal Access Program.

Make the most of the remaining summer days by joining us for adaptive recreation opportunities! Explore Walden Pond, Lake Cochituate and Lake Quinsigamond by kayak, or canoe on pristine Pottapaug Pond. Discover the beauty your Massachusetts state parks have to offer, and paddle your way to outdoor adventures this August! Meet other participants and make social connections while having fun outdoor experiences.

We have open availability at the following weekly programs (see flyers attached for additional details):
  • Kayaking on Lake Cochituate in Natick
  • Kayaking on Lake Quinsigamond in Worcester
  • Canoeing on Pottapaug Pond in Petersham
We have open availability at the following program on Tuesday, August 13th:
  • Kayaking for Beginners on Walden Pond in Concord from 1 p.m.-3 p.m. Contact Steve to register: or call 781-325-7980 ext 185.
For our complete upcoming adaptive program schedule, visit us online at

Download the DOC flyers for more information:
Adaptive Kayaking Cochituate.doc
Adaptive Kayaking Quinsigamond.doc
Adaptive Canoing.doc

If you have any other questions, please get in touch! Happy paddling!

Laila Soleimani
MA Dept. of Conservation and Recreation
Universal Access Program
Outreach Coordinator
PO Box 484, Amherst, MA 01004
413545.5759 Office
857.260.1519 Cell
Net News:  ASAN Ends Partnership with Sesame Street  

The nonprofit Autistic Self Advocacy Network ( ASAN) announced that it was ending a partnership with "Sesame Street".  They argued that the shows used material that further stigmatized autistic children and adults. "Sesame Street" consulted with ASAN to develop the autistic character Julia and the See Amazing project for autism awareness. Despite ASAN's protests, "Sesame Street" continued airing PSAs with controversial material from Autism Speaks, including material that ASAN claimed treated autistic people as "burdens" on their families.  ASAN called on "Sesame Street" to sever its ties with Autism Speaks and to promote inclusive programs. 

In response, "Sesame Street" noted in a statement that it "continue[s] to work with a wide range of advisers and organizations to ensure that [the See Amazing campaign's] resources meet the needs of families and promote acceptance and inclusion."
Net News: Check Out This Artist

Watch this artist work.  Pema  Tshering of Bhutan, was born with cerebral palsy and produces wood carvings using only his feet.  I think you will find his work amazing.
In This Issue
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Disability Policy Consortium
11 Dartmouth Street
Suite 301
Malden, MA 02148
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