Leave No One Behind: Exploring the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on People with Disabilities in North Carolina (2020-2021)

The pandemic has exacerbated many challenges for North Carolinians living with disabilities, including disrupting healthcare services, furthering isolation, and increasing financial stress and mental health burdens. This project team investigated the lived experiences of people with disabilities in Orange, Durham and Wake counties to develop evidence-based, disability-inclusive policy recommendations in response to the pandemic.

Team members conducted six key informant interviews to gather personal testimonies and held focus groups with representatives from five community-based organizations to discuss how they’re adapting to meet community needs. The team also conducted a second round of interviews using innovative, arts-based methods that incorporate photography, storytelling and body mapping.

A Summer 2022 Story+ team expanded the team’s research to include voices from the BIPOC community living with a disability, and, in 2021-2022, the team is developing a Massive Open Online Course that examines the intersections of disability, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status and human rights among people with disabilities across North Carolina. Ultimately, this body of research is designed to create community, ensure visibility and bring about policy change for people living with disabilities in North Carolina and beyond.


Fall 2020 – Summer 2021

Team Outputs

Disability-inclusive Pandemic Response (2021 Fortin Foundation Bass Connections Virtual Showcase)

Exploring the Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on People with Disabilities in North Carolina (poster by Simran Prakash, Zavera Basrai, Ayra Charania, Tessa Delgo, Ashwin Kulshrestha, Gabrielle Lee, Symon Ma, Derek Mackel, Anil Prasad, Sophie Vera, Deepti Agnihotri, Elizabeth Aimone, Anna Tupetz, Marion Quirici, Kearsley Stewart and Michel Landry)

This Team in the News

Meet the Members of the 2021-2022 Bass Connections Student Advisory Council

See related Story+ summer project, What's Past is Prologue: Exploring the Intersectionality Between Race, Justice and Disability in North Carolina (2021).


Team Leaders

  • Michel Landry, School of Medicine
  • Marion Quirici, Arts & Sciences-Thompson Writing Program
  • Kearsley Stewart, Duke Global Health Institute

/graduate Team Members

  • Deepti Agnihotri, Global Health - MSc
  • Elizabeth Aimone, Global Health - MSc
  • Susan Webb, Master of Fine Arts - Dance

/undergraduate Team Members

  • Zavera Basrai, Neuroscience (AB)
  • Ayra Charania, Biology (BS)
  • Tessa Delgo, GCS in Literature Program (AB)
  • Ashwin Kulshrestha, Biology (BS)
  • Gabrielle Lee, Psychology (BS)
  • Symon Ma, Chemistry (BS)
  • Derek Mackel, Neuroscience (BS)
  • Simran Prakash, Program II (AB)
  • Anil Prasad, English (AB)
  • Sophia Vera, Neuroscience (BS)

/yfaculty/staff Team Members

  • Anna Tupetz, School of Medicine-Surgery: Emergency Medicine

/zcommunity Team Members

  • The Alliance of Disability Advocates