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Pandemic Parallels: Panel considers impacts of COVID-19

Drawing of a COVID molecule with a drawing of the earth at the center, indicating the global impact of the COVID pandemic.

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised many questions about the ways in which we exist in the world. From how we use our bodies to where our bodies can go and interact with one another, life has drastically shifted, particularly for underserved populations, including people with disabilities. As the pandemic evolves, society as we know it continues to be reimagined.

These and other current issues were discussed in a Virtual Panel discussion and presentation on May 28, 2020. The discussion centered on questions such as how society’s understanding of disability influenced the way pandemics have been mitigated over time? How can humanity be reshaped and “edited” in this process? How does our understanding of humanity determine whose lives we value? Who will be left in a post-pandemic world?

Featured panelists included Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, a disability justice, bioethics scholar and activist; Christina Palmer, Professor and Director of UCLA’s Genetic Counseling graduate program; and Neal Baer, a medical doctor in the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health who has reached popular audiences with health messages through his work with Hollywood and the entertainment industry.

The panel was moderated by Amy Bugwadia, an alumna of the UCLA Disability Studies minor and graduate student at Stanford’s Prevention Research Center.

Image credit: Philippa Steinberg for the Innovative Genomics Institute.

Pandemic Parallels: Reimagining Disability