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Emergency Experience

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June Isaacson Kailes (http://www.jik.com) has a Disability Policy Consulting practice and is the Associate Director of the Harris Family Center for Disability and Health Policy at Western University of Health Sciences, Pomona, California. June’s consulting and publications focus on building disability actionable competencies in the worlds of health care and emergency management to ensure people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs are integrated and included in service delivery processes, procedures, protocols, policies and training.

June is one of just a handful of people with disabilities who focused on disability related emergency issues decades before Hurricane Katrina.  As far back as the 1970s and 80s, June documented the deep and dramatic lack of equal and inclusionary emergency services for people with disabilities.

June has over four decades of emergency experience and works internationally, as well as with local, state, and federal governments, and with community-based organizations. Her breadth and depth of experience in access and functional needs and her work as a writer, trainer, researcher, policy analyst, advocate, subject matter expert and expert witness is widely known and respected. She has the unique ability to blend and bridge two worlds: disability lived experiences and emergency management experience.

She has worked nationally with FEMA, the Centers for Disease Control, Department of Homeland Security, and Health and Human Services on policy, planning and training issues. She co-chaired The United States Department of Homeland Security’s working group  which developed a Functional and Medical Support Sheltering Target Capabilities List, worked on FEMA's Guidance on Planning for Integration of 
Functional Needs Support Services in General Population  Shelters, and is a member of FEMA's National Advisory Council.

In the emergency management world, June is a pioneer, leader and innovator. Seven examples of her impact and influence include:

1.    1. Researching and writing “Southern California Wildfires After Action Report ” for California Foundation for Independent Living Centers, one of the first After Action Reports (AAR) to incorporate a civil rights and disability related functional needs perspective. This effort was motivated by the finding that most AARs are scrubbed, homogenized and sugar-coated political documents that are silent or at best make only cursory reference to the disproportional impact on people with access and functional needs related to maintaining their health, independence and safety.

This AAR is widely used and cited. It details what worked, didn’t work and needs works and makes 71 recommendations serving as a roadmap for future lessons to apply. Areas covered include:

·       cross cutting issues,

·       communication access,

·       mass care and shelter,

·       evacuation and transportation,

·       role of nongovernmental provider and advocacy organizations in disaster response,

·       long-term care facilities,

·       training and exercise programs.

2. Developing inclusive emergency management plans that close service gaps, prevent civil rights violations, and emphasize and incorporate standard operating procedures, field operation guides, just in time checklists, and exercises.  
3. Training that focuses on maximizing impact, actionable disability practice competencies and measurable skill sets needed to provide equally effective services. This emphasis replaces the ambiguous disability etiquette, sensitivity and awareness.
4. Conceiving, promoting, and moving the emergency management world from the vague “special needs” focus to operationalizing an access and functional needs approach to planning and response. This fosters clearer understanding of who is included in the large numbers and diversity of people with disabilities and others with access and functional needs. June’s CMIST is a memory tool that helps you remember and plan for the five functional needs that individuals will likely have in an emergency: communication; maintaining health; independence; support, safety and self-determination; and transportation.

CMIST offers clarity, precision, and specificity for building competencies to inclusive planning and service practices. Emergency plans based on optimizing function rather than “specialness” increases the chance of successful accommodation of predictable needs.In emergencies, people with disabilities continue to lose their health, their independence and sometimes their lives. This is because over decades, information transfer regarding these predictable needs, and lessons observed, relayed, and documented, are not integrated into plans, policies, procedures, training, and exercises. June’s work focuses on consistently and repeatedly applying these lessons so that they can be eventually claimed as lessons learned.

4.    5. Originating and working with the State of California to adopt and implement the use of Functional Assessment Service Teams (FAST). These teams strategically link government, nonprofit and business sectors to work with individuals with access and functional needs to enable people to maintain mobility, health, safety, independence, during and after emergencies. Teams blend the competencies and skill sets of governments with those of community disability services and help to retool interventions that reflected old, but still common, stigmatizing biases, stereotypes and beliefs about people with disabilities. Versions of this model are being put into practice in California and other states and counties.

5.    6. Documenting the critical need to accurately evaluate the use of emergency registries in order to avoid symbolic planning (i.e. planning which cannot be fully operationalized to achieve even the most well-intentioned objectives) and think through the implications of using a registry as the sole or primary answer to addressing access and functional needs in emergencies.

June publishes extensively and some of her frequently used and cited publications include:

Planning and response:


As a critical thinker and lifelong learner, she never hesitates to critic and revise her prior work. June believes the emergency sector’s performance depends on resilience and flexibility to evolve as economic, learning, technology, legal and social landscapes change.

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Available on request CV / Resume which includes updates for:

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Created 11/8/97  |  Updated 02.24.18