ADA National Network Learning Session: How Personal Assistance Services Promote the Self-Determination of People with Disabilities Recovering from Disaster
The Personal Assistance Services Addendum to the Mass Care/Emergency Assistance Pandemic Planning Considerations released in January 2021 increases collaboration, planning, and knowledge surrounding the importance of establishing continuity of services for people with disabilities, prior to a disaster. Without proper planning for, or providing, Personal Assistance Services at the onset of a disaster sheltering mission, the health and safety of disaster survivors may be at risk.
- Understanding important information regarding ensuring equitable survivor services through continuity of Personal Assistance Services (PAS).
- Understanding legal obligations, and potential reimbursement for services rendered.
Linda Mastandrea serves as the Director of the Office of Disability Integration and Coordination (ODIC). The office leads FEMA's commitment to whole-community emergency management by integrating individuals with disabilities into all aspects of disaster preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation. Ms. Mastandrea has built a reputation as a subject matter expert on inclusive emergency management practices. She has provided training, consultation and technical assistance to emergency managers around the nation and served as a Disability Integration Adviser Reservist with FEMA. Before joining FEMA, she spent the majority of her career as an attorney concentrating her practice in disability law and civil rights, representing people with disabilities who have experienced discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodations, and government services and benefits.
Zachary Usher currently serves as the branch chief for mass care, voluntary agency coordination, and community services at FEMA. In this role, he works with voluntary organization, faith based, and other partner organizations to help survivors and communities recover from disasters. Zach has worked in emergency management for 19 years, including roles in both mitigation and recovery. Zach lives with his wife and two sons in the Washington, DC area.
Star Black serves as the FEMA Public Assistance Training Deputy Section Chief out of FEMA Headquarters which is responsible for all Public Assistance course content/delivery, webinars, and the Grants Portal/Grants Manager hotline. Since 2002, she has served in the Public Assistance Program working with State, Local Tribes, and Territories assisting Applicants through the FEMA grant process. She not only has had over 210 deployments during her career, but has performed in various Public Assistance roles.
Amy Nicholas is a Senior Attorney Advisor at the National Council on Disability (NCD) and has been with NCD for over six years. Amy has subject matter expertise in subminimum wage/AbilityOne, FEMA/emergency management and transportation. Amy served as NCD designee on FEMA's National Advisory Council (NAC) IPAWS Subcommittee and has represented NCD on multiple other emergency management committees during her tenure. Prior to joining NCD, Amy worked at the Department of Transportation as an Equal Opportunity Specialist in its Federal Transit Administration Office of Civil Rights. Amy graduated from the Robert H. McKinney Indiana University School of Law with a Doctor of Jurisprudence (JD) and attended the University of Cincinnati where she received her Bachelor of Arts in Electronic Media.
Mary Casey-Lockyer is currently the Senior Associate for Disaster Health Services at the national headquarters of the American Red Cross. For close to ten years, she has fulfilled this role for program development and continuous quality improvement for Disaster Health Services at national headquarters and manages a cadre of 2600 + Disaster Health Services volunteers. As a Disaster Health Services manager/chief with the Red Cross, she has been on twenty national deployments, most recently to the Disaster Relief Operation in Saipan and supporting other Red Cross Disaster Relief Operations from national headquarters' Disaster Operations Coordination Center (DOCC). Mary is currently assigned as Senior Medical Advisor to Red Cross national disaster operations. Mary continues to act as the Red Cross liaison to the Secretary's Operation Center at the Department of Health and Human Services and serves on the board of Healthcare Ready.
Everett Sedgwick is FEMA Individual Assistance's first Disability Advisor working in the Mass Care/Voluntary Agency/Community Services Branch. He was with the Office of Disability Integration and Coordination for seven years before joining IA in 2019. Before joining the ODIC staff in 2011, he was with the FEMA IA Mass Care and Emergency Services Section where he was the Project Manager for FEMAs 2010 "Guidance on Planning for Integration of Functional Needs Support Services in General Population Shelters" and the "Guidance on Planning for Personal Assistance Services In General Population Shelters".