CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky today met with a group of representatives from disability organizations and allies to discuss their concerns surrounding a recent television appearance by Dr. Walensky. Dr. Walensky apologized for the hurtful, yet unintentional, statement pertaining to COVID-19 deaths and comorbidities.
Dr. Walensky committed to continue what she has done since her first day as CDC director; address the devastating disparities and inequities that existed before COVID-19 and that have been made worse by the pandemic. She also stressed to the group that she has spent her academic career focused on breaking down barriers, increasing access, partnering with communities, and advocating for policy change.
Dr. Walensky committed to move forward together with the disability community with regular engagements between senior leaders within the agency and disability groups.
The organizations represented at the meeting were The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), The Arc of the United States, The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), Be A Hero, The Disability Justice Initiative at the Center for American Progress, Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF), Epilepsy Foundation, Justice in Aging, Little Lobbyists, and Matthew Cortland, Senior Fellow, Data for Progress.