Post Date: March 22, 2004

Leaders in the field of disability will speak about whether disability rights fit into the traditional civil rights paradigm, how recent government action has affected the situation of people with disabilities, and a variety of other topics during the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship Panel on Disability at Harvard Law School. The panel, which will take place in Austin East on March 23 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., will bring together speakers from several different disciplines to reflect on current pressing issues in the disability community.

“This panel represents a great opportunity for the audience to both get a comprehensive look at some of today’s most important issues related to disability and hear what leaders in fields as diverse as education, law, employment and medicine predict will be important in the future,” said Kruti Trivedi, a third-year student at Harvard Law School and current Schweitzer Fellow.

Speakers include Thomas Hehir, current director of the School Leadership Program at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and former director of the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs; Harvard Law School Assistant Professor Samuel Bagenstos, co-counsel before the Supreme Court in the recent disability cases Tennessee v. Lane and Chevron v. Echazabal; Dale S. Brown, a political activist who has authored books and articles on employing persons with disabilities; and Dr. Steve Williams who is serving as chairman, ad interim, of the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine at Boston Medical Center.

“Like other events sponsored by the Schweitzer Fellowship, this panel will seek to both educate on important public health issues and to facilitate community building around those issues,” said Susan Rohol, a third-year student at Harvard Law School and current Schweitzer Fellow. Rohol said the last half-hour of the panel will be set aside to encourage informal networking and information exchange among audience members.

The Albert Schweitzer Fellowship provides funding to graduate students interested in public health and public service. The fellows design and carry out health-related service projects for local underserved communities, plan public events, and do other public service activities. The Boston Schweitzer Program, part of the national Albert Schweitzer Fellowship, has sponsored over 200 fellows.

The panel is free and open to the public. Sign language interpreters will be available at the event.