On June 11, 2024, Powers Law Managing Partner, Peter Thomas, joined Danish Ambassador to the United States, Jesper Møller Sørensen, at his Washington, DC residence in moderating a roundtable discussion on “Achieving Health Equity for People with Disabilities.”  The event was attended by twenty experts in the field offering a diversity of perspectives on health disparities and focused on recent achievements in health equity for people with disabilities.  The Danish Government is acutely interested in health equity issues and public-private partnerships between government and industry.  Coloplast, a Danish Company, attended the event and focuses on products and technologies that serve the health care needs of people with disabilities.

After Ambassador Sørensen welcomed guests to the event, Peter opened with comments about the pressing issue of health equity for all health disparity populations, particularly for people with disabilities and chronic conditions. He noted his own experience with prosthetic limbs for most of his life.  After presentations from representatives of the Domestic Policy Council of the White House, the National Council on Disability, and the National Medical Association, guests continued in-depth discussion at a formal dinner hosted by the Ambassador.  A wide variety of stakeholders shared their views including representatives from other federal agencies, disability organizations, industry officials, and physicians with expertise in urology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, and family medicine.

Danish Ambassador to the United States, Jorgen Sørensen (center front), is joined by a diverse set of stakeholders at a roundtable discussion held at the Danish Ambassador’s residence entitled, “Achieving Health Equity for People with Disabilities.” Moderator Peter Thomas, Powers Managing Partner, is pictured far left in the back row.

The conversation touched on recent major milestones in health equity for people with disabilities including the whole-of-government response to this issue in recent years triggered by key Executive Orders, publication of the Health Equity Framework for People with Disabilities by the National Council on Disability, designation by the National Institutes of Health of people with disabilities as a health disparity population, and other achievements.  The disability perspective was shared by representatives of United Spinal Association and Spina Bifida Association who offered real-life perspective on issues of equitable access to mobility devices and the importance of bladder and bowel management for people with paralysis and other conditions.  Physicians from the National Medical Association discussed the intersectionality of health inequities on the front lines of health care delivery and the importance of focusing on these health disparity issues to improve access and outcomes in care.

The discussion, moderated by Peter, was fruitful and provided attendees with new perspective on health equity from a disability perspective.  Many attendees discussed important lessons learned to incorporate into their continued efforts to improve health equity in the future.

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