HFES has committed to make participation in our meetings as accessible as possible to the widest audience possible. To be successful means to go beyond the minimum standards of compliance; rather, we aim to create a culture that is welcoming to members and others who have access needs and may be a member of disabled, deaf, blind, autistic, neurodivergent, mentally ill, chronically ill, aging, and/or other disability-adjacent communities.
We are proud to announce that we have engaged Nell Koneczny, CPACC, to help us cultivate a more accessible organization, and in particular, a more welcoming and equitable 66th International Annual Meeting for disabled people, people with disabilities, and people with access needs. Nell is a hearing, sighted, physically disabled, and neurodivergent, queer, white woman. She is a disability rights and justice activist and has spearheaded and supported accessibility initiatives in academic, student, activist, and association spaces. Nell completed her Master of Science in Disability and Human Development at the University of Illinois at Chicago and her Bachelors of Art in Anthropology and European Studies at Vanderbilt University. Currently, Nell leads accessibility and accommodation initiatives at the American Anthropological Association (AAA) as the first Accessibility & Meetings Manager for that association.
Nell has visited our meeting venue in Atlanta to review the degree of accessibility of the hotel property. She will provide both a brief accessibility summary as well as a detailed report aimed to provide transparency to meeting attendees regarding the state of accessibility of our physical meeting location. She also will assist our staff in developing an outline of meeting accessibility features and services available to our attendees. This includes those that are routinely provided by HFES as well as those available through accommodation requests by meeting registrants.
We will ask our presenters to support us in advancing a more accessible meeting. Nell is developing four specific speaker and presenter guidance documents concerning the best accessible presentation practices for posters, slides, and presentation methods in physical spaces. The fourth guidance will outline the appropriate and acceptable use of disability and accessibility language to support a more inclusive and welcoming environment for our meeting community members who are also disabled or have access needs. We will share each of these resources as they become available. For the presenter materials specifically, we invite our presenters to review and reference them as much as needed while preparing for their presentations at the 66th International Annual Meeting.
We are excited to advance this journey and to craft a more welcoming culture for our peers in our discipline who are disabled and have access needs. Learn more on the 66th Annual Meeting website, HFES2022.org.
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