The Intersection of Poverty and Disability: Organizing Students for Social Responsibility
Poverty and disability are inextricably linked but research and service are rarely focused on those whose lives are lived at the intersection. The proposal is a planned student-based organization designed to address the critical needs of persons who are both poor and disabled. Intended for physical therapy students, the design is applicable to all disciplines. For example, students involved in women’s issues could focus on women with disabilities. The political and economic issues are innumerable. The cornerstone of the organization, therefore, is service-learning in interdisciplinary collaboration. In addition, students are to be mentored as well as assisted by volunteers in related fields of practice. Rather than focus student efforts at either extreme, activities span the continuum of socially responsible action from local service to regional involvement, and global advocacy. Conceptually based on the organization Doctors without Borders, the organization is intended to: 1) To research the literature on the intersection of poverty and disability; 2) To identify areas of greatest need for persons with disabilities at local, state, national, and international levels; and 3) To create educational, advocacy, and service approaches to meet critical needs. Preliminary implementation is discussed.
Keywords: Poverty, Disability, Service-Learning, Advocacy
Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy
Department Chairperson and Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy