BBI Receives $6.2 Million Award for Southeast ADA Center to Advance Understanding of Disability Rights, Responsibilities

For the third time in 15 years, the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) has been awarded a five-year, $6.2 million grant to advance and support understanding of rights and responsibilities under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) through its Southeast ADA Center.

The funding comes from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration on Community Living (ACL), National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). Continue Reading

BBI Chairman Peter Blanck, Fitore Hyseni, and Fatma Altunkol Wise author Special Issue of American Journal of Law & Medicine

American Journal of Law & Medicine Special Issue on National Study of Discrimination in the Legal Profession Facing Lawyers with Disabilities and Who Identify as LGBTQ+, by BBI Chairman Peter Blanck, Fitore Hyseni, and Fatma Altunkol Wise

The Spring 2021 issue of the American Journal of Law & Medicine (AJLM), the country’s leading health law journal, presents the research of Peter Blanck, University Professor and Chairman of the Burton Blatt Institute, Fitore Hyseni, and Fatma Altunkol Wise, who have conducted a seminal national study on reported discrimination and bias in the legal profession facing lawyers with disabilities and lawyers who identify as LGBTQ+ — with additional commentary by prominent legal practitioners and scholars. Continue Reading

Southeast ADA Center Announces Launch of Disability Rights Today Podcast Series in celebration of the ADA 31st Anniversary

Court House stepsThe Southeast ADA Center, a project of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University, is pleased to announce the launch of a new podcast series, Disability Rights Today –your source for in depth discussion about important court cases that shape the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  In celebration of the 31st ADA anniversary, please join us on July 26 for our next episode featuring the recently decided court case – Crawford v. Hinds County Board of Supervisors, (5th Circuit Court of Appeals, 2021). Topics include jury duty and courthouse access.  Our guests will be the plaintiff, Dr. Scott Crawford and his lead counsel, Andrew Bizer, with the law firm Bizer & Dereus, New Orleans, LA.

On Disability Rights Today (DRT) each episode will explore the facts, issues, and arguments of the court case, and also how the case might change the legal rights and the lives of people with disabilities. You will hear from the plaintiffs, attorneys, and subject matter experts involved in the highlighted case. The host for Disability Rights Today is Dr. Peter Blanck, an American academic, psychologist, and lawyer who holds the titles of University Professor and Chairman of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University. The podcast will appeal to disability rights advocates, attorneys, and others wanting to keep current on the latest legal developments involving the ADA. Tune in at


Featured Case – Next Episode

On July 26, Disability Rights Today will feature Crawford v. Hinds County Board of Supervisors, (5th Circuit Court of Appeals, 2021). In 2017, wheelchair user Dr. Scott Crawford, a retired clinical neuropsychologist, sued Hinds County, Mississippi under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) saying he was unable to perform jury duty in 2012 and 2015 because of the inaccessibility of the Hinds County courthouse. U.S. District Judge Tom Lee of the Southern District of Mississippi found that Crawford had proven the Hinds County courthouse was not accessible to people with disabilities. The judge also reversed his earlier ruling that Crawford had standing, finding that the possibility of being excluded from future jury duty was too speculative. On appeal to the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court, Dr. Crawford argued he has standing both as a juror and as an engaged citizen. On June 16, 2021, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court found that Dr. Crawford did, indeed, have standing.


About BBI
The Burton Blatt Institute (“BBI”) at Syracuse University reaches around the globe in its efforts to advance the civic, economic, and social participation of people with disabilities. Through program development, research, and public policy guidance, BBI advances the full inclusion of people with disabilities. BBI builds on the legacy of Burton Blatt, a pioneering disability rights scholar. BBI has offices in Syracuse, NY; Washington, DC; Atlanta, GA; New York City, NY; and Lexington, KY.

About the Southeast ADA Center
The Southeast ADA Center is a leader in providing information, training, and guidance on the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and disability access tailored to the needs of business, government, and individuals at local, state, and regional levels. It also conducts research to reduce and eliminate barriers to employment and economic self-sufficiency and to increase the civic and social participation of Americans with disabilities. Located in Atlanta, GA, it is a project of the Burton Blatt Institute (BBI) of Syracuse University and one of 10 regional centers in the ADA National Network, funded since 1991 by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR).

“The contents of this podcast were developed under a grant from the Administration for Community Living. However, those contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Administration for Community Living, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.”

BBI’s Jonathan Martinis featured in Times, Washington Post, PBS, and BPR “How Britney Spears’ Case Could Change the Future of Conservatorship”

“Every time we shine a little bit of light, things get easier for everyone after that. Britney’s not just shining a light, she’s a huge spotlight,” says Martinis. “So maybe just maybe the conversation changes a little bit and the culture changes a little bit. And we say before guardianship, what else can we do?” “It’s a cultural failure,” says Jonathan Martinis, senior director for law and policy at Syracuse University’s Burton Blatt Institute and a leading expert on alternatives to conservatorship. Continue Reading

BBI Chairman, Peter Blanck, guest edits Journal of Disability Policy Studies special issue on Supported Decision-Making

Peter Blanck
Peter Blanck

Supported decision-making (SDM) is a paradigm in which people use friends, family, and professionals to help them address the situations and choices they encounter in everyday life. SDM is to empower individuals to make their own decisions to the maximum extent possible to increase self-determination. SDM is an alternative to restrictive guardianship or substitute decision-making regimes to which persons with cognitive and mental health disabilities historically have been relegated.

To examine emergent issues in SDM in research, law, and policy, the Journal of Disability Policy Studies is proud to present a special issue of articles guest edited by Dr. Peter Blanck, University Professor at Syracuse University and Chairman of the Burton Blatt Institute ( The special JDPS issue examines SDM from American and comparative law, research, and policy perspectives, as recognized in Article 12 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and from the perspective of the lived experience. Continue Reading

BBI Chairman Peter Blanck to speak to DRI, leading organization of defense attorneys and in-house counsel

Thursday June 17, 2021 Peter Blanck and colleges will discuss Removing Barriers for Those who have Mixed-visible or Non-visible Diversity at the 2021 Diversity for Success Seminar. Often diversity issues are focused on visible traits such as gender or race. But some disabilities, sexual orientation, and gender identity are not readily visible to the eye. This panel will discuss how to create an environment where those with invisible diversity can operate at the highest level. Continue Reading

Diane R. Wiener will read from her new poetry chapbook, Flashes & Specks, at the Tioga Arts Council (TAC),

Full-color book cover featuring original artwork—“The Origins”—by Lucy Wales. Book title in rectangular banner, top; deep blue background with white sans serif, capitalized lettering. The words “Poems by Diane R. Wiener” (at the very top) look as if made with an old school label maker, with the effect of appearing to be embossed. The words “Flashes & Specks” (after a white horizontal line) have blue spots in the lettering, as if mottled—possibly like a Crip appaloosa horse. The main scene on the cover is a fantastical world depicting steampunk grasshoppers, slugs, and snails. The slugs are suspended from shells (like hot air balloons) as they travel from a watery planet-orb through the sky to the land below. When they land, the shells connect to their bodies, and they become snails. The grasshoppers, aloft, have top hats and gears; the slugs-to-snails have steam engines on their shells (with accompanying, emergent smoke) and wear monocles. The artwork is multi-media—ink with watercolor. The color palette is a reflective mixture of the environments depicted—blues, greens, grays, and tans, with some creams, ivories, whites, and, indeed, magic

On Saturday, June 26, 2021, at 1:30 p.m. (Eastern), Diane R. Wiener will read from her new poetry chapbook, Flashes & Specks, at the Tioga Arts Council (TAC), in the gallery located at 179 Front Street, in Owego.

The reading can also be accessed on Zoom:
Zoom Meeting ID: 987 6304 4729
Automatic captions will be provided on Zoom, with Continue Reading

ADA Live! A Look at the Mental Health Needs of Indigenous People in America

Wednesday, June 2, 2021 – 1:00 pm EDT

Indigenous people – Native Americans or Alaska Natives – make up nearly two percent of the U. S. population, and many have more than one ethnic identity. Indigenous people experience greater health problems with lower life expectancy, higher rates of substance abuse, and a suicide rate 2.5 times greater than the rest of the United States. Economic barriers and poor access to medical care, and cultural differences result in a higher prevalence of mental health conditions for Indigenous people.
Continue Reading

USC Gould’s Saks Institute Spring Symposium 2021 Psychiatric Advance Directives and the Importance of Choice

USC Gould’s Saks Institute for Mental Health Law, Policy, and Ethics supported by California’s Mental Health Services Oversight & Accountability Commission

presents Spring Symposium 2021: Psychiatric Advance Directives and the Importance of Choice

Wednesday, May 5, 2021 at 10:00 AM PST – 2:00 PM PST

FREE Register Now

Join Peers, Consumer Advocates, Mental Health Lawyers and Professionals for a discussion about autonomy and choice for people living with serious mental illness. This virtual symposium will focus on understanding Psychiatric Advance Directives as a form of Supported Decision-Making – and the State of California’s MHSA multi-county Innovations PADs Project. Continue Reading

Peter Blanck presents, Inclusivity in Sustainable Design: Global Universal Design Commission – How architecture can transcend accessibility, innovate and serve all


person measuring a tableJoin us for a look at the essential role of inclusivity in design through the lens of innovation as we explore how the sustainable future of inclusivity embraces global universal design principles.
The highlight discussion will focus on insights, design details and a critical paradigm shift towards implementation. Chairman of the Global Universal Design Commission, Peter Blanck, Ph.D., J.D., will share the universal design principals that allow the design and development of buildings and environments to be usable by all people to the greatest extent possible without the need for retrofitting or specialized design. Moderator, Dr. Christine Bruckner, FAIA of M Moser Associates and past AIA IR President will introduce the essential importance of implementing inclusivity in architecture to serve all users and the importance of embracing universal design as an innovative baseline for a sustainable, vibrant, inclusive future. Continue Reading