December 14, 2020

Virtual Symposium on COVID-19
and Vulnerable Populations

Academy for Justice
Arizona State Law Journal Online

Register now!
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The coronavirus pandemic has powerfully and tragically harmed vulnerable peoples across the United States, from Native Americans in rural communities, to detainees in immigration detention centers and people incarcerated in confined spaces, to individuals with mental and physical disabilities. The Academy for Justice at Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, in conjunction with the Arizona State Law Journal Online, is hosting this Virtual Symposium on COVID-19 and Vulnerable Populations to examine and challenge the pre-existing, health-harming legal and policy obstacles that are exacerbating the danger of the COVID-19 national health crisis to vulnerable populations.

On December 14, 2020, authors will discuss their ideas and essays in roundtable discussions followed by Q&A sessions open to the public, and a keynote presentation. The following topics will be discussed:

Criminal Justice: The criminal justice essays challenge the loss of rehabilitative programming for juveniles in custody, examine detention and access to care during COVID through a disability law framework, provide a series of arguments against solitary confinement, and propose community treatment for competency restoration.

Health Law: The health law essays describe the deregulation of telehealth and telemedicine during COVID-19, the impact of the pandemic on elderly patients with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, expose the dearth of support and services to individuals with developmental disabilities, and use a disability law framework to ensure medication for people with substance use disorder.

Indigenous Peoples and Inequity: The essays on Indigenous people and Native Americans discuss mental health treatment in tribal communities, and the overarching harm of federal Indian law in the face of this pandemic.

The wide range of essays included in this symposium will be published and posted to the Arizona State Law Journal Online, available both before and after the symposium.


Set time zone:
10:00 AM - 10:55 AM –
Treatment and Care During COVID-19: Disability, Mental Health, and Substance Use Disorder
  • Stacey A. Tovino, COVID-19, Telehealth, and Substance Use Disorders
  • Barbara Pfeffer Billauer, Mental Health and the Aged in the Era of COVID-19
  • Samuel J. Levine, COVID-19 and Individuals with Developmental Disabilities: Tragic Realities and Cautious Hope
  • Kelly K. Dineen & Elizabeth Pendo, Substance Use Disorder, Discrimination, and The CARES Act: Using Disability Law to Strengthen New Protections
  • Moderator: Associate Professor Jennifer Oliva, Center for Health & Pharmaceutical Law, Seton Hall University School of Law
11:00 AM - 11:55 AM –
The Vulnerability of Native Americans and Pregnant Women During COVID-19
  • Aila Hoss, COVID-19 and Tribes: The Structural Violence of Federal Indian Law
  • Heather Tanana, Learning from the Past and the Pandemic to Address Mental Health in Tribal Communities
  • R. Paricio del Castillo & A. Cano Linares, Mental Health and Vulnerable Populations in the Era of COVID-19: Containment Measures Effects on Pregnancy and Childbirth.
  • Moderator: Assistant Dean Kate Rosier, Director of the Indian Law Program, Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law
12:00 PM - 12:45 PM –
Keynote Address by Professor of Law Ruqaiijah Yearby, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Institute for Healing Justice and Equity at St. Louis University, followed by a Q&A session

1:00 PM - 1:55 PM –
Detention During COVID-19: Immigration, Institutionalization, Prisons and Jails
  • Nicole B. Godfrey and Laura L. Rovner, COVID-19 in American Prisons: Solitary Confinement is Not the Solution
  • Adrian Alvarez, Immigration Detention and Mental Healthcare During COVID-19
  • Madalyn K. Wasilczuk, Not for the Purpose of Punishment: Trauma & Children in Custody in the Age of COVID-19
  • Susan A. McMahon, Pandemic as Opportunity for Competence Restoration Decarceration
  • Moderator: Professor Valena Beety, Deputy Director of the Academy for Justice, Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law


Everyone entering the Beus Center for Law and Society Building is required to wear a face covering and all guests need to have an appointment.