Organization Spotlight: Emory Disability, Illness, and Divergent Collaborative (EDIDC)

By Dania Hussain MPH’23, Global Environmental Health

Emory Disability, Illness, and Divergent Collaborative (EDIDC) is Emory Rollins School of
Public Health’s very own organization founded in the fall of 2022 by Elizabeth Zimmerman, MPH’23. The
leadership includes 2 co-presidents (Zimmerman and Yasmine Shakur MPH’23), a vice president
(Ashley Woods, MPH’23) and an outreach coordinator (Brielle Berkowitz, MPH’23). EDIDC was created to raise disability awareness and accessibility for students, establish a space to share stories, advocate for disability justice, and dismantle ableism.


EDIDC intends to provide a safe space for events, mentorship from peers, and guidance with the Disability Accommodation Services and coursework. This student organization is all access, open to anyone who have an interest in neurodiversity, disability, and chronic illness.

I had the opportunity to interview one of the co-presidents, Yasmine Shakur. Yasmine is a second
year MPH student in the Global Health Department in the Sexual Reproductive Health
concentration. She has been a huge advocate for patients of autoimmune diseases through
her work with the Lupus Foundation of America.

Dania: Can you explain what EDIDC is, and what motivated you to become part of EDIDC’s
executive board?

Yasmine: EDIDC is Emory’s Disability, Illness, and Divergent Collaboration. It’s a space that we
created for those who are lacking community at Rollins and in this space, we raise disability
awareness and accessibility for students. 

Dania: Would you be able to expand a little bit more on what EDIDC offers to the RSPH
community?

Yasmine: For the community, EDIDC helps with advocating for students who may not feel
empowered to do so on their own, it can be an isolating experience to go through a new
diagnosis or deal with an illness during grad school. So, by creating this space we invite those
who are passionate about building disability awareness and changing systems in place to be more
accessible. 


Dania: Do you have any events that you found to be the most rewarding or the most fun?

Yasmine: Since we are a new organization, we haven’t had many events yet, but one that we are
very excited about is our showcase of disability, illness, and neurodivergence in an art showcase
coming up at the end of the year during National Public Health Week (April 3-9)! I think it’ll be a great space for creatives to showcase talents and public health messaging. To keep up with EDIDC events, follow EDIDC on Instagram (@edidc.rollins)!

Dania: Why should other students get involved with EDIDC?

Yasmine: Students should get involved in EDIDC because you don’t have to be disabled to
recognize that spaces need more accessibility. It helps students also have a community that they
wouldn’t have otherwise for those who fall into this category. 


Dania: What is the best part of being a part of EDIDC?

Yasmine: For me, the best part of being part of EDIDC is being able to make changes for
students who otherwise feel like they don’t have a voice. I think being an advocate is an
important part of why I came to Rollins personally and I want to help empower other students to
feel they can as well! 


Dania: What do you hope EDIDC accomplishes in the next few years?
Yasmine: I hope that EDIDC will be a place where students feel comfortable and have a
community of people who understand what it’s like completing a higher education with disability
and also makes systematic changes needed to better accommodate students. Our goal is to make
those with disabilities comfortable at Emory, this is a space that has been missing for a while and
we hope that this new space in the Rollins community makes more students able to succeed.

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