Kate Nicholson

Kate Nicholson In a Black Dress smiling at camera

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Kate Nicholson served in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice for more than 20 years, practicing health-related civil rights law and securing powerful victories including in the U.S. Supreme Court.  She is currently writing a book about her personal experiences with severe chronic pain.  Kate is also an arts writer and enthusiast who helped found the new non-profit, Tilt West, www.tiltwest.org, recently named by Westword as the “best think tank for arts and culture” in the area.  Kate was a Senior Fellow at Dartmouth College and is a graduate of Harvard Law School.

Kate also gave a great TEDx talk on the topic of Pain.

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Kate’s topic is opioid Misuse and the Under-treatment of Serious Pain

“Every news cycle carries a story about the so-called opioid epidemic and the deaths resulting from opioid misuse.  Opioid abuse is a problem that affects 2.5 million Americans and those Americans, many covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, are not being well served in the current climate.  But there is another side to the opioid issue, another pressing disability rights issue that deals with under-treatment of pain.  According to NIH statistics, 50 million Americans have severe of persistent, every-day pain.  That is 25 times more Americans than abuse opioids. Not all of them need opioids, which are a medication of last resort, but many people in serious pain require pain medicine as a palliative measure or in order to function minimally.  The under-treatment of pain is a serious problem world-wide.

Today in the United States, hysteria about opioid abuse is leading to bad public policy in which doctors, many good quality caregivers, are being prosecuted for providing opioids to people in pain.  And people in pain are increasingly tapered off of their pain medicine – with notable suicides resulting. There is certainly a history of doctors being under-educated about pain, of bad doctors creating pill mills in which pain medicine was too easily disseminated, in which pharmaceutical companies joined in supporting pain studies and encouraging opioid over-prescribing.  But most of that happened in the 1990s, and pain medication prescribing has dropped every year since 2012, while opioid-related deaths are on the rise, mostly due to illicit opioids – especially black tar heroin and fentanyl.   Our public policy is not catching up with this reality – DEA raids of pain doctors and CDC guidance that was designed to compensate for a lack of medical training about pain but is now gaining the force of law are having the effect of chilling pain treatment. ”

Kate Says “As a disability rights lawyer for the Department of Justice for 20-years and a chronic pain patient who used opioids, I am concerned that neither group of individuals with disabilities affected by this issue is being well served in the current climate.”

Aine Healy & Piers Gooding- 19 Stories

Aine in a red cap & Piers in a blue jumper
Aine Healy & Piers Gooding

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The 19 Stories Project tells the story of 19 individual Australians living full lives in their communities. The project explored what it means for people with disabilities to be “socially included”, and what it means to exercise the right to live independently and be included in the community. This right is set out in Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The materials are publicly available – www.19Stories.org – to serve as a resource for people with disabilities, families, professionals, academics, students and policymakers. Themes include employment, housing, family, the NDIS, ageing, education, travel and play.The website contains:
– Videos and articles sharing stories of the many ways Australians with disabilities belong and contribute to their communities;
– A list of themes, in the words of storytellers and their supporters, which draw out what it is that makes for a good life in community;
– a review of current scholarship on achieving social inclusion for people with disabilities in Australia;
– a discussion of the lessons that the stories might bring for policy and practice; and links and resources related to social inclusion.

Aine Healy

Aine is changemaker who spends her time working on making the world a more inclusive place. She’s headed up advocacy for the NSW Council for Intellectual Disability, worked for a range of NFPs in the disability sector and loves making things accessible – movements, policies, info, comms & beyond. She’s the founder of IDEAS INFO ACTION, a little organisations that works on the things that matter and currently the CEO of the Attitude Foundation.

Dr Piers Gooding

Doctor Gooding has a research background in law, history and political sciences. His research interests include disability justice in the broad sense of economic, social and political equality for people with disabilities. His research focuses specifically on mental health law, supported decision-making and access to justice for people with intellectual disabilities, with a special focus on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.


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Sharron Rush & Olivia Hawkins – Knowbility

Olivia Hawkins & Sharron Rush

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Since 1998, Sharron has been a leader in raising awareness and skills around the issue of access to technology for people with disabilities. Her work at Knowbility includes policy review, performance analysis, technical consultation, and training development for private and public companies, government agencies, and schools. Her technical expertise, understanding of the barriers faced by people with disabilities, and strong communication and training skills have contributed to her leadership position in the field. Since 2007, she has served as an Invited Expert at the W3C, developing and applying global accessibility standards for their Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI). In 2014 she became co-chair of the Education and Outreach Working Group at WAI.

Olivia Hawkins is Community Programs Director at Knowbility.

Olivia’s career has been centered around serving people, both in private and public sectors. Having a diverse professional skill-set in education, nonprofit program development, and expertise in both written and verbal communication, she is excited to take on her new role as Community Programs Director with Knowbility. Olivia was born and raised in Houston, TX and currently resides in Austin, TX. She attended college at Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX, where she earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature.

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AXSChat is Supported by Barclays

Rob Price & Christopher Joynson

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Rob Price & Christopher Joynson

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Rob Price  is COO for Worldline UK&I, the European leader in the payment and transactional services industry. He was previously Head of Digital for Atos UK&I, is a member of the Atos Scientific Community and was a founder of the award winning CIO/CTO Atos blog, the predecessor to Ascent. He successfully melds inspiration and creativity with strategic direction and implementation, focusing on driving more efficient and effective exploitation of technology and services to drive positive business outcomes and better connect our clients with their end consumers. The insight gained through both operational delivery roles and strategic Digital evangelist roles ensures that he views the Digital Revolution from multiple perspectives.

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Christopher Joynson is a Digital Transformation Consultant working for Atos, with experience of strategic projects across financial services and central government. As a member of the Scientific Community, Christopher brings his background in law and a fresh innovative mindset to offer holistic perspectives on the implications of technological change for our society. His main area of interest is the digital divide, and how we can ensure that sections of our society are not left behind by the digital world.

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