Disability and Disasters Award Winners

The Disability and Disasters Award supports people with disabilities working in disasters, as well as those who care for, study, or advocate on behalf of those with disabilities. Funds from the award, which was established in 2021, will allow the recipient to attend the annual Natural Hazards Workshop and the Researchers Meeting that follows. Learn more on the Disability and Disasters Award page.

2024 Winners

Elizabeth Davis
Elizabeth Davis

Elizabeth Davis is an emergency management consultant focusing on inclusive emergency management, marginalized population planning, disaster human services, and related issues through her firm EAD & Associates, LLC which employs a holistic, client-focused approach to providing quality services and real-world solutions.

An accomplished public speaker, Davis is considered one of the nation’s “go-to” sources regarding the convergence of emergency management and Disability Access and Functional Needs (DAFN). She began public service with the New York City's Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities as assistant to counsel and senior policy advisor. She later became the first director of the National Organization on Disability’s Emergency Preparedness Initiative. Davis is an advisor to the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, sits on many research review boards and serves on several national advisory boards, including as an appointed voting member of the National Advisory Committee on Disability and Disaster to the Secretary of Health and Human Services; chair of the National Hurricane Conference Accessibility and Heath Care Topic Committee; first chair of the International Association of Emergency Managers Accessibility Committee. Over the years, she has received many awards and honors for her work. Davis is an inaugural inductee into the International Women in Homeland Security & Emergency Management Hall of Fame.

Davis received her juris doctorate and masters of education from Boston University, with a degree in the socio-bicultural study of deafness and American Sign Language. She holds an undergraduate degree with a major in sociology and a minor in political science from Barnard College at Columbia University.

Annika Doneghy
Annika Doneghy

Annika Doneghy is a dual degree student at Case Western Reserve University. She is working towards a PhD in medical anthropology and an MPH concentrated in health policy and management. Her research uses an ethnographic approach to uncover firsthand narratives and experiences of individuals with disabilities and other health conditions as they navigate ongoing cycles of disaster and recovery. Her research reconceptualizes disability and recovery to consider wide-ranging human ability and diversity in disaster contexts, showing that many people with disabilities and other health conditions have different definitions and perspectives of recovery when compared to governmental and non-governmental organizations. She aims to illustrate how traditional disaster practice and policy often fail to recognize these diverse and challenging experiences due to lack of inclusion and disability expertise. Doneghy received a Master of Arts from the University of Kentucky and a Bachelor of Science from The Ohio State University.

2023 Winner

Alina Engelman
Alina Engelman

Alina Engelman is an associate professor of public health at California State University, East Bay. Her scholarly work focuses on health disparities for the deaf and disabled, including emergency preparedness and response and global disability justice in climate disasters. Other work explores the emergency preparedness and response role of community-based organizations serving older adults and people with disabilities in Puerto Rico. Engelman received her doctorate from the University of California, Berkeley; her Master of Public Health in global health from Yale University; and her bachelor’s at Brown University.

Inaugural Award Winner

Kimberly R. Mills
Kimberley R. Mills

Kimberly R. Mills is the senior executive director of the Virgin Islands University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (VIUCEDD) at University of the Virgin Islands and an affiliate faculty member with the University of Hawaii’s Center for Disabilities Studies. She has more than 20 years of experience in executive management, direct service, research, technical assistance and clinical management and is a doctoral level board-certified behavior analyst.

Mills’ research and community priorities include best treatment practices for autism spectrum disorders, technical assistance and evaluation, study of phenomenon surrounding the school-to-prison pipeline, cultural and linguistic competence through a behavioral analytic lens, disability employment, health disparities research, and emergency preparedness.

Mills lived through through two back-to-back Category 5 hurricanes in the Virgin Islands while helping to usher her organization and the U.S. Virgin Islands disability community navigate the disasters—which decimated the region—as well. She actively participates on many local and national boards, work groups, and special interest groups related to disaster preparedness and prevention for people with disabilities.

Mills is a professional fellow in the Professional Fellows Program on Inclusive Disability Employment program at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which supports mid-career professionals from Kenya, Tanzania, and Uganda. She is a member of the board of directors of the Association of Assistive Technology Act Programs (ATAP) that oversees the operations of ATAP in each state, as well as in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.