Christy Dunaway

Christy was born and raised in Jackson, MS as the daughter of Pat and Linda Gilliland and sister to Lee Gilliland and Leslie McMellon. Christy was born with triple amputations, both arms below the elbow and the left leg below the knee. She is a graduate of St. Andrews High School and Millsaps College and has a Masters of Counseling from Mississippi College. Christy also received an honorary doctorate in Public Service from Millsaps in 2010. Christy began working in the independent living movement as a peer counselor to others with disabilities, when she was 19 and still a student at Millsaps. Christy has worked in all aspects of the independent living field. Christy started her career with the MS Department of Rehabilitation Services, working as a peer counselor before becoming an Independent Living Counselor and Counselor Supervisor with the Independent Living Program. She also was the Program Director for the state’s first Disability Prevention program funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Christy left employment with MDRS in June 1995 to work as the Center Director for the Jackson office of Living Independence For Everyone of Mississippi, the state’s non profit center for independent living. From there she became the Executive Director of LIFE in 2000. She remained Executive Director of LIFE until August of 2014, when she retired to pursue her and her late husband’s dream of starting their own business. Christy was married to Daryel Dunaway for 11 years until his untimely death in 2011. Dunaway Consulting provided disability and equal rights information, training and technical assistance regarding all aspects of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Emergency Planning. Christy had consulting contracts with Portlight Inclusive Disaster Strategies, LIFE of Mississippi, the Southeast ADA Resource Center and the MS Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) before recently accepting a full time position with MEMA as the agencies first Disability Integration Advisor where she will be actively involved in ensuring that all aspects of emergency management in Mississippi are fully inclusive. Christy has been actively involved in the civil rights of individuals with disabilities for over 30 years. She has organized and participated in many actions, conferences and events both statewide and nationally. She has written, developed and received numerous grants for funding and created and managed various programs designed to assist individuals with disabilities to live independently in their own homes and communities. Christy is most proud of her advocacy work within the disability community and of course, her years living with and working alongside Daryel. In her spare time, Christy is actively involved with St. Philip’s Episcopal Church as a Vestry member and volunteer. Her hobbies are swimming and spending time with family and close friends.


Inclusive Emergency Management 101: Integrating the Disability Community in Disaster Planning and Response

People with disabilities make up nearly 20% of the population of the United States, and they are active, participating members of our communities. It is imperative that emergency management plan for and respond to them equally and effectively, as part of the whole community. In order to be successful in their efforts, both government and non-government emergency management and other entities responding to disasters must be fully inclusive of individuals with disabilities and their families and support systems.

This course was developed by individuals with disabilities who themselves have experience in the field of Emergency Management. It is designed to promote Disability Competency by improving the disability-related body of knowledge of Emergency Management students and professionals, first responders, the workforce of disaster relief and recovery agencies and non-profit organizations. It is, by any standard, the best available introductory tool for inclusive emergency management and disability integration for any individual or organization engaged in any or all disaster cycle services - response, recovery, mitigation and preparedness.

Inclusive Emergency Management 101 is offered as a standalone, web-based course which can be incorporated into college-level emergency management curricula, and applied to other related disciplines, as desired. There are four modules consisting of a total of 13 lessons and covering the history of disability rights and the Independent Living Movement; litigation, laws and policies directly impacting equal access and emergency management; the roles of various government and non-government entities in disaster response and recovery; best practices and replicable models for inclusion and integration in all phases of emergency management; and knowledge needed to build and maintain relationships within the disability community.

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