Virtual Ability, Inc.® presented the 11th Annual International Disability Rights Affirmation Conference (IDRAC) on Friday, October 28, 2022.

This is an annual professional conference held online, that is free and open to the public.

The conference took place in Second Life® at The Sojourner Auditorium on Virtual Ability Island, and was also Live Streamed on YouTube.

Our theme this year was “Access To Justice”.  We had lively discussions and information sharing among presenters and our very interested and interactive audience.

Below is an at-a-glance schedule of the presenters who shared their observations of the progress, benefits and challenges in disability rights in different parts of the world as applied to this year’s theme.

IDRAC 2022 Schedule of Events

All times are in SLT/PDT.
Friday, October 28
7:00 AM Hillary SussmanAuthorInclusive Children's Books; Promoting Self Confidence, Acceptance, and KindnessSussman Transcript
8:30 AM Hannah Mueller, Kimberly LopezUniversity of WaterlooPoised Against Ableism: Contemporary Unmakings and Remakings of Disability Through Critical Disability ApproachesMueller, Lopez Transcript
10:00 AMHenry Germain-McCarthyLouisiana State University Health Sciences CenterMy Grateful, Continuing Journey into Awareness, Advocacy, and Allyship for Disability RightsGermain-McCarthy Transcript
11:30 AMJeannette CoxUniversity of Dayton School of LawWork Hours and Disability JusticeCox Transcript
12:30 - 1:00 PM Musical Interlude
1:00 PMAlice KruegerVirtual Ability, Inc.Justice Isn’t Always Comfortable: Utilitarian Ethics and Healthcare Decision-MakingKrueger Transcript

IDRAC 2022 Speaker Biographies

Biographies are listed in order of scheduled presentation.

Hillary Sussman
Hillary Sussman has been a physical therapist for 23 years, and often works with children who lack self-confidence due to their disabilities. Sussman’s dog, Roxy, had undergone four surgeries, and gave her an idea how to help these children. Roxy’s story could show kids that their limitations do not have to give them a lesser quality of life. Sussman wrote a series of children’s books in which Roxy and her animal friends overcome their insecurities and are accepted by others in spite of their differences.

Kimberly Lopez
Dr. Kimberly Lopez (she/her) works as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. She is interested in critically examining social structures and processes that reinforce difference and marginalisation. As a community-engaged qualitative researcher, she is interested in aging and long-term care (LTC), care labour, and well-being. In particular, Kim values working collaboratively and creatively to amplify BIPOC and other Othered identities (gender, ability, class, ability, and age) in the context of caring labour and leisure – practices inextricably linked to the social through labelled bodies. To learn about practices of labour engaged in LTC caring work and hear about the different ways identity is embodied, Kim looks to influencers of anti-racist feminisms, anti-colonial/restorative practices, and post-identity literature/art.

Hannah Mueller
Hannah Mueller is a fourth-year PhD Candidate at the University of Waterloo (Ontario, CA). She has a Bachelor's degree in Therapeutic Recreation (2014) and a Master's degree in Recreation Management (2018) from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. She has been a CTRS since 2014 and employed in the field of TR since 2012 working with various populations: SCI/TBI, geriatrics, mental health, and community-based programs. Her research is often situated at the nexus of leisure and disability. Her hobbies include knitting, traveling, and reading scholarly things.

Henry Germain-McCarthy
Dr. Henry Germain-McCarthy is Professor Emeritus at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center (New Orleans). His research about and advocacy for disability rights is long-standing. He works to promote the legacies and leadership of disability activism movements and improve public awareness, professional education, and social policy regarding quality of life for all people. His work has brought him to more than 40 cities in the Caribbean, Central America, Europe, and the U.S. His most recent publication is titled “Self-Advocacy and Ally-Advocacy for Disability Justice: Organisational, Psychosocial, and Political Resources.”

Jeannette Cox
Jeannette Cox is a Professor of Law at the University of Dayton School of Law. Her research focuses primarily on disability and employment discrimination. She teaches courses in disability rights law, civil procedure and statutory interpretation. She also serves as faculty advisor for the Disability Law Association student group and a member of the executive committee for the American Association of Law Schools Disability Law Section.

Alice Krueger
Alice Krueger is the founder and CEO of Virtual Ability, Inc. A former science and health educator in classroom and K-12 special education, she never managed to purge the teacher germ from her bloodstream. Working as Gentle Heron in Second Life, she, along with other members of the Virtual Ability community, continues to promote evidence-based health and wellness learning.