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How to Make Scientific Meetings and Conferences More Accessible: A Toolkit

“Ensuring a conference is accessible, equitable, and inclusive begins early in the planning process, should be ongoing during the conference, and continues after the conference ends.” Conference and scientific meeting presenters and sponsors seeking help in ensuring that their events are accessible can use a free toolkit explaining “How to Make Scientific Meetings and Conferences Accessible.” Designed by researchers with visual impairments, the toolkit provides step-by-step “guidance for making scientific conferences more inclusive and accessible for people with vision impairments or who are blind.” This resource covers the entire process, beginning with steps to take before the conference, such as how to learn more about accessibility, selecting the venue, orienting staff, and ensuring that registration and other materials are available in accessible formats. Guidance for sessions, exhibit halls, and overall site accessibility are provided as well. Post-conference advice, for surveys and sharing conference materials, is also offered. The toolkit was developed by the Johns Hopkins Disability Health Research Center and the International Network of Researchers with Visual Impairments and their Allies. Funding was provided by a National Institutes of Health grant, awarded by Dr. Bonnielin Swenor at the Johns Hopkins University Disability Health Research Center. To find out more, read the flyer on How to Make Scientific Conferences and Meetings Accessible. For the full resource, visit the webpage featuring the Toolkit to Design More Accessible Scientific Meetings and Conferences. Additional information is also offered in a Perkins School for the Blind feature on the Toolkit to designing more accessible scientific meetings and conferences. In addition to describing the toolkit, this piece also elaborates on the experience of Dr. L. Penny Rosenblum, who is one of the researchers involved in the Study on Scholarly Conference Accessibility, covered in the previous article in this Bulletin.