2018 Geisel Martin Luther King Celebration

“If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”- MLK

“INACCESSIBLE AMERICA: Advocating for Differences in Race and Abilities

Statement of Purpose –

The Geisel School of Medicine is dedicated to celebrating the words and life of Martin Luther King Jr. through action. This year, we are taking action against inaccessibility, action against the system that makes it harder to walk, harder to run, and harder to fly for people of different races and abilities. We come together to celebrate those differences and contribute to MLK’s life work of making America more accessible for all!

All events will be held in the Life Sciences Center, Oopik Auditorium.

Friday, January 12th

5:00 PM  –  Documentary: “Lives Worth Living”, Dinner provided!

"Lives Worth Living" is a documentary that explores how the Americans with Disabilities Act came about and gives a history of the fight for disability rights

Co-Facilitators:Tatiana Lamia, MD, Physiatrist at the White River Junction VA Hospital, and
Stephanie Patrick, Executive Director of the New Hampshire Disability Rights Center

Saturday, January 13th

9:30 AM  –  Continental Breakfast


10:00 AM –  "The All-American Dream"

Tanner Gers was an All-American kid growing up. All-American boy. All-American skills. All-American dreams. Then one day, he woke up without any dream. They were dead. Today, Tanner is fighting to revive his dreams, fighting for the hundreds of thousands of other dreamless Americans and millions of dreamless others, living day by day in a dreamless reality. You can help protect the dreams that have yet to die and restore the ones that they already have. If you have a dream, and understand how important your dreams are to you, how important dreams are for every human being, you will want to learn how at this presentation.

Speaker: Tanner Gers - Executive Director of My Blind Spot Inc.

11:00 AM  - “Understanding the Social Determinants of Health and Equity when Working with Unserved and Underserved Communities”

During this session, Dr. Avila will speak to the importance of understanding social determinants, cultural and linguistic competency, and workforce diversity in promoting health equity for unserved and underserved racially/ethnically and other culturally diverse communities. The session will also highlight the importance of promoting diversity, equity, inclusion and cultural-linguistic responsiveness in every aspect of service provision.

Speaker: Maria Mercedes Avila PhD, MSW, Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Director of the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Program at the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine

12:00 PM -  Lunch with performances by:

The Dermatones, a Geisel School of Medicine Student A Capella Group, and

Soyeya, a Dartmouth College African Dance Troupe.


1:00 PM  -  "Justice Everywhere: Applying Dr. King’s Civil Rights Model to Disabuse Disability"

"The quest for full inclusion of people with disabilities is founded on the same recognition of human equality that drove Dr. King’s leadership of the American Civil Rights Movement. It is the lived experience of Dr. Feranmi Okanlami, an African-American physician with physical challenges resulting from a diving accident who has dedicated himself to overcoming barriers for both patients and providers in the medical community."

Keynote Speaker:
Feranmi Okanlami MD, MS
Assistant Professor of Family Medicine and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation
Faculty Lead for Medical Student Success in the Office for Health Equity and Inclusion
Chief Medical Director of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America