DAN symposium a big success in Chico; more events planned

CHICO – Nearly 150 north state first responders, public health advocates and nonprofit disability related vendors attended the second annual Leadership Voices on Healthcare Direction Symposium at the Enloe Community Room.

The non-profit community and public heath officials contributed much to the second annual symposium hosted by the Disability Action Center in Chico. (Dan Murphy photos)

The Diversability Advocacy Network coalition, part of the nonprofit Disability Action Center of Chico and Redding, hosted the well-attended event, whose specific focus – Improving Emergency Readiness, Response and Recovery – was based on the 2018 wildfires that devastated Butte and Shasta counties.

For the second straight year, the SCAN Foundation, an independent public charity that advocates for improved senior citizen independence and healthcare, grant-funded the event.

DAC staff members Carolyn Nava and Wendy Longwell, and executive director Evan Levang, were key in organizing the successful event along with the DAN coalition that includes Goldie House (Systems Change Advocate) and Sarah May of the State Council on Developmental Disabilities. The coalition meetings are also regularly attended by representatives from Passages and Anthem Blue Cross.

Butte County Sheriff K.L. Honea told the audience preparedness by the public was the key to properly responding to the next large-scale emergency like a wildfire.

DAC consumer Bryan Murphy opened the event by telling his success story. With DAC’s help, he found special needs housing in Anderson after being displaced by the wildfires.

DAC consumer Brian Murphy opened the event by telling his success story. With DAC’s help, he found special needs housing in Anderson after being displaced by the wildfires.

In closing the event, Nava challenged the audience to “continue the conversation” about being better prepared for an emergency.

The symposium was covered at length by Mike Mangas of KRCR-TV Channel 7.

DAC officials said the event’s success will lead to more center-sponsored symposiums in the near future, due to the positive response by the public.

“We got our name out there and people are responding,” said program director Wendy Longwell.

At least one of the upcoming events will be held in Redding, home to DAC’s satellite office on Park Marina Drive.

Formed in 2012, the Diversability Advocacy Network (DAN) is led in partnership by the Disability Action Center and the State Council on Developmental Disabilities. DAN serves the Northern Sacramento Valley and surrounding mountain counties. DAN commits to advocating for changes that improve the lives of older adults and people of all ages with disabilities in the far Northeastern counties of California.

Living with dignity, being part of a community, feeling safe, maintaining health and mobility, aging in place, being able to exercise choice – these are expectations that we all have. Community-based supportive services are a necessary part of the equation in helping us meet the challenges of living successfully in our communities, now and in the future.

DAN supports strengthening non-medical services that enable older adults and persons of all ages with disabilities to remain in the community while improving well-being and quality of life including the following core ideals:

  • Transportation
  • Nutrition programs
  • Education regarding life and skills planning
  • Caregiver supportive services
  • Conversation around end-of-life decision.
  • Assistance with accessible technology affordable housing and long-term care options
  • Advocacy to help empower persons with disabilities obtain their personal, administrative and civil rights
  • Adult day service
  • In addition to the symposium, DAN continues to focus on coalition members holding that greater success is possible through a new network of collaboration than the previous efforts at advocacy by a specific interest group. 
Substantive audience participation was a big feature of the symposium.
From left at the DAC table during the symposium are assistive technology specialist Dwight Phillips, board president Kim Scott and independent living specialist David Colefield.