Virtual Ability’s International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference 2016

“We’re Part of the Community”

November 18-19, 2016

The Sojourner Auditorium, Virtual Ability Ability/53/172/23

In Second Life


The fifth annual IDRAC conference continued to celebrate successes, identify issues and re-affirm the rights of people with disabilities across the world. The slate of presenters included academic researchers and others from the US. South Africa and Canada. Topics included:

  • the use of virtual worlds by persons with disabilities, individually, in research projects, and as adjunct to physical world groups
  • online health communities, such as blogs
  • intentional physical communities (LArche)
  • rural community-based health care
  • the hidden stories of people with disabilities involved in the 9/11 tragedy

Information about the 2016 IDRAC conference, the speakers, and the schedule is available on Virtual Ability’s blog at


Caroline Pavis
Caroline Pavis of Johnson and Johnson talked about their HealthEVoices disability bloggers conference.

Transcript of Ms. Pavis’s presentation: Caroline Pavis Transcript

Theresa Lorenzo and Siphokazi Sompeta
Theresa Lorenzo and Siphokazi Sompeta of the University of Cape Town, South Africa, talked about their research on ways to make disability-inclusive services available in rural areas of South Africa, Botswana and Malawi.

Transcript of Ms. Lorenzo and Ms. Sompeta’s presentation: Theresa Lorenzo and Siphokazi Sompeta

Chronic Pain Anonymous
A panel of members of Chronic Pain Anonymous discussed peer support in various social media venues.

Transcript of the panel discussion: Chronic Pain Anonymous

Baylor College of Medicine
Members of the Baylor College of Medicine (TX) Center for Research on Women with Disabilities talked about their GoWoman weight management project for women with mobility disabilities.

Transcript of the Baylor presentation: CROWD

Maggie Sheets
Maggie Sheets with the Disability Policy Consortium of Massachusetts explained the importance of including people with disability in policy making.

Transcript of Ms. Sheets presentation: Maggie Sheets – DPCMA

Melanie Saxon
Melanie Saxon, Community Leader/Executive Director of L’Arche Jacksonville, Florida, USA. (, discussed l’Arche, an intentional mixed residential community for people with and without intellectual disabilities.

Transcript of Ms. Saxon’s presentation: Melanie Saxon – L’Arche

Margaret Nosek
Margaret Nosek, professor in Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine, will talk about her research projects in Second Life for women with physical disabilities.

Transcript of Ms. Nosek’s presentation: Margaret Nosek

John Lester
John Lester, expert in online communities and former Education Liaison with Linden Lab, will talk about early patient support communities in virtual worlds created by Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard.

Transcript of Mr. Lester’s presentation: Pathfinder Lester

A presentation by Virtual Ability community member KriJon about people with disabilities and 9/11.

Transcript of KriJon’s presentation: KriJon