Section Newsletter
Winter 2010

Message from the Chair - Dr. Stephen Gilson

As we enter 2010, the Disability Section has both great opportunities and challenges. We have a strong foundation built on a history of commitment and work that has advanced us from caucus to section status. In this short message, I want to acknowledge this excellent work, thank my colleagues and communicate my suggestions for our work this year.


First, as we have grown, we have also diversified in our interests, perspectives and fields of professional application.  This is a testament to the growing recognition of the importance of disability within public health. However, while this diversity has been potent for debate and cross-fertilization, it has also created challenges in how we as a Section move forward in theorizing, investigating and responding to disability within the global public health arena. To clarify our foundational heuristics and guide our collective action, I see strategic planning as essential. This year, we have established a core strategic planning group that will be working with the full Section membership to clarify our mission and activity.


Second, as a crucial means to advance our centrality in and influence on public health, we need to distinguish the Disability Section as one that provides valued, rigorous and unique scholarship and collaborative opportunity for all current and potential members. Given the scarcity of fiscal resources, we need to communicate the opportunities and benefits of the Disability Section for membership initiation and continuation.


Third, I see this year as pivotal in promoting stimulating formats, methods and topics in the annual program. In particular, I would like to see us plan to showcase and disseminate the excellent work of our membership more broadly throughout APHA and to structure session formats that allow critical discussion of important content and inquiry approaches informing disability and public health.


Finally, our future lies with the students of today. We need to plan strategies for mentorship and collaboration such that students see a benefit not only in joining the Disability Section but in becoming active and vital members and future leaders.

Student Committee Report

The APHA Annual Meeting provided a great opportunity for students to network, to present research and to explore Philadelphia.  Once again, a student scholarship was offered through AUCD. This scholarship program was made possible by the Disability Section’s CDC funding and awarded by AUCD to support five students attending the APHA Annual Meeting.  This year’s scholarship recipients were: Wajiha Akhtar, Chiaki Gonda, Kelly Kreisler, Rotem Magnagi and Genia Taitano.  This scholarship program is one of the ways that the Disability Section demonstrates its commitment to cultivating new leaders in the field.     

Many students attended the Disability Section Chair’s Forum.  This discussion provided the opportunity to engage diverse perspectives about issues in the field related to surveillance methodologies and definitions of disability. 

“This discourse showed how much potential there is in the area of disability and how much we can further grow and improve this area,” Wajiha said.

The Section awarded Cheri Blauwet the student award at the Business Meeting for her accomplishments as a medical resident, athlete and student leader.  For further details about students’ experiences of the conference, please read the Disability Section Student e-letter. 

Disability Section Leadership Council Address List 2009-2010


Stephen French Gilson, PhD


Faculty Advisor Hillel

Center for Community Inclusion & Disability Studies and School of Social Work The University of Maine

5717 Corbett Hall, Room 201

Orono, ME 04469-5717

Phone: (207) 581-1263;

Fax: (207) 581-1231 V/TTY - (800) 203-6957

E-Mail: stephen_gilson@umit.maine.edu





James H. Rimmer, PhD

Professor, Department of Disability and Human Development (M/C 626)

University of Illinois at Chicago

1640 West Roosevelt Rd.

Chicago, IL  60608-6904

Phone: (312) 413-9651

Mobile Phone: (312) 752-0900

Fax: (312) 355-4058

E-Mail: jrimmer@uic.edu


Chair-Elect (TBN)


Program Chair

H. Stephen Kaye, PhD

Associate Adjunct Professor

Institute for Health & Aging

University of California, San Francisco

3333 California Street, Suite 340

San Francisco, CA 94118

Phone: (415) 502-7266

Fax: (415) 502-5208

E-Mail: steve.kaye@ucsf.edu


Program Chair-Elect

Kiyoshi Yamaki

Research Assistant Professor

Department of Disability and Human Development (M/C 626)

University of Illinois at Chicago

1640 West Roosevelt Rd. Room 568

Chicago, IL  60608-6904

Phone: (312) 413-7860

Fax: (312) 355-4058

E-mail: kiyoshiy@uic.edu


Communications Chair

Roberta S. Carlin, MS, JD
Executive Director
American Association on Health & Disability
110 N. Washington Street, Suite 328J
Rockville, MD 20850
Phone: (301) 545-6140-ext. 206
Fax: (301) 545-6144


Membership Chair

George Jesien, PhD

Executive Director

Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)

1010 Wayne Avenue, Suite 920

Silver Spring, MD 20910

Phone: (301) 588-8252 x 207

Fax: (301) 588-2842

E-mail: gjesien@aucd.org


Policy Chair
Vince Campbell, PhD

Division of Human Development and Disability National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

1600 Clifton Road, NE, MS E 88

Atlanta, Georgia 30333

Phone Number: (770) 488-7082

Fax:  (404) 496-3060

Email: vbc6@cdc.gov


Awards Chair

Jennifer Rowland, PhD, MPH, PT

Assistant Professor

Department of Disability and Human Development (M/C 626)

University of Illinois at Chicago

1640 West Roosevelt Rd. Room 568

Chicago, IL  60608-6904

Mobile Phone: (312) 523-4236

Fax: (312) 355-4058

E-Mail: jenrow@uic.edu



Willi Horner-Johnson, PhD

Research Assistant Professor

Child Development & Rehabilitation Center

Oregon Health & Science University

Mail Stop CDRC 1270B

P.O. Box 574

Portland, OR 97207-9946
Phone: (503) 494-9273
Fax: (503) 494-6868
E-Mail: hornerjo@ohsu.edu



Meg Ann Traci, PhD

Project Director

The Montana Disability and Health Program

The University of Montana Rural Institute: A Center for Excellence in Disabilities Education, Research and Services

52 Corbin Hall

Missoula, MT 59812-7056

RTC Main Office: (888) 268-2743 Toll-free

Meg's Office: (406) 243-4956

Fax: (406) 243-2349 Fax


E-mail: matraci@ruralinstitute.umt.edu


Accessibility Co-Chairs

Catherine Leigh Graham, MEBME

Rehabilitation Engineer

USC - School of Medicine

Interagency Office of Disability and Health

3209 Colonial Drive

Columbia, SC  29203

Phone: (803) 434-3189

Fax: (803) 434-8374

E-Mail: Catherine.graham@palmettohealth.org


Anthony Cahill, PhD

Director, Division of Disability and Health Policy

Center for Development and Disability
UNM School of Medicine

2300 Menaul Boulevard NE

Albuquerque, NM 87107
Phone: (505) 272-2990
Fax: (505) 272-9594
Cell: (505) 228-7934

E-mail:  acahill@salud.unm.edu


General Council Representatives

Gloria L. Krahn, PhD, MPH


Division of Human Development and Disability National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

1600 Clifton Road, NE, MS E 88

Atlanta, Georgia 30333

Phone: (404) 498-6160

Fax:  (404) 496-3060



Charles E. Drum, JD, PhD
Street Address:

707 SW Gaines Road

Oregon Institute on Disability & Development

Oregon Health & Science University

Portland, OR  97207-0574

Mailing Address:

PO Box 574

Oregon Institute on Disability & Development

Oregon Health & Science University

Portland, OR  97207-0574

Phone: (503) 494-8047

Fax: (503) 494-6868
E-Mail: drumc@ohsu.edu


Student Liaison

Anjali Truitt, MPH
PhD Student
Institute for Public Health Genetics
Box 357236 -- University of Washington
Seattle, WA 98195
Dept phone: (206) 616-9286
Dept fax: (206) 685-9651
E-mail: artruitt@uw.edu
Alt. E-mail: anjalitruitt@yahoo.com

Student Liaison Faculty Advisor

Jana Peterson, PhD

Child Development & Rehabilitation Center

Oregon Health & Science University

Mail Stop CDRC 3134

P.O. Box 574

Portland, OR 97297-9946
Phone:  (503) 494-3534
Fax:  (503) 494-6868

E-mail:  peterjan@ohsu.edu

Accessibility Chairs - Catherine Graham and Tony Cahill

We have made it through the Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.  The public transportation strike immediately prior to the meeting threw some attendees for a loop.  However, the public train system was still running from the airport to the convention center with both stops accessible.  We provided Accessibility/Communication training to host hotel and convention center staff prior to the start of the convention.  The Accessibility Booth was visited by several attendees with a wide range of questions.  The person staffing the booth was a phenomenal asset and a real pleasure to work with during the whole event. While there were some accessibility issues that are inherent to a large convention center (session rooms can be so far apart), the physical accessibility was quite well done. 


Tony will also be visiting the Denver Convention Center staff to get a jump start on some issues that can be remedied easily with enough lead time.  In addition to working on improving physical accessibility in the coming year, Tony and I will be working on two additional issues. The first is developing simpler, more useful information for presenters on how to make every aspect of their presentations accessible. The second is improving the way sign language interpreters are scheduled.


Accessibility Online Survey-Please complete

The Section is sponsoring an online survey about a wide range of accessibility issues at the Philadelphia meeting. If you have comments or suggestions on how to improve accessibility at the Denver Annual Meeting, please take a moment and take the survey by going to http://cdd.unm.edu/dhpd. The survey is anonymous. We will be sifting through this feedback in preparation for Denver. 

Awards Committee

Disability Section Awards Committee Report

The Disability Section honored three awardees at the 2009 Annual Meeting in Philadelphia: 1) Lifetime Achievement Award: Barbara M. Altman; 2) New Investigator Award: Willi Horner-Johnson; 3) Student Award: Cheri Blauwet. Summaries of each of the awardees’ accomplishments can be found at http://thenationshealth.aphapublications.org. The December 2009/January 2010 issue of The Nation’s Health lists the Disability Section Awards on p. 17.  Call for nominations for the 2010 awards will be publicized through the Disability Section listserv beginning in February.


Lifetime Achievement Award: Barbara M. Altman

Barbara M. Altman is a sociologist with a PhD from the University of Maryland. Recently retired from the National Center for Health Statistics, CDC, where she served as Special Assistant on Disability Statistics to the office of the Director, she also worked at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality on the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey. Prior to her work in the government, she served as Undergraduate Coordinator in the Department of Sociology at the University of Maryland. She currently serves as a consultant on disability statistics issues. She played a key role in the organization and development of the work of the Washington Group, an international group working under the auspices of the United Nations, to develop culturally compatible measures of disability for international use and still consults on that activity. Her disability research interests focus primarily on disability definition and measurement, financing and utilization of health care services by persons with disabilities, and disability among minority groups, particularly Native Americans. She is the author of numerous articles and book chapters on disability topics including the recent Disability and Health in the United States Chartbook, and currently is co-editor of the series Research in Social Science and Disability. She has also been the recipient of an NIDRR Switzer Fellowship for the purpose of writing a comprehensive book on disability statistics which is forthcoming.


New Investigator Award: Willi-Horner-Johnson

Willi Horner-Johnson received her PhD in community psychology in 2002 from the University of Illinois at Chicago and completed a post-doctoral fellowship with the Oregon Office on Disability and Health at Oregon Health & Science University.  She is now a Research Assistant Professor of Public Health and Preventive Medicine at OHSU, and is an investigator in the Center on Community Accessibility.  Willi is currently Principal Investigator of two projects. The first is a grant from the National Center on Child Health and Human Development to assess the effectiveness of the Healthy Lifestyles health promotion program with adults with intellectual disabilities.  More recently, she received funding through the AUCD-NCBDDD cooperative agreement for a Research Topics of Interest project to examine health disparities at the intersection of race, ethnicity and disability.  Willi also serves as Co-Investigator of the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Health & Wellness, Co-Investigator of a Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project (DRRP) on health and health care disparities among people with disabilities, and Epidemiologist for the Oregon Office on Disability and Health.  Within the RRTC, Willi directs research studies on health measurement in persons with disabilities, and leads the RRTC National Expert Panel on Health Measurement.  Within the DRRP, she is leading secondary data analyses examining system and individual-level factors that predict health disparities among people with disabilities.  Willi is treasurer of the APHA Disability Section, and co-founder and former chair of the Disability Section of the Oregon Public Health Association. 


Student Award: Cheri Blauwet 

Cheri Blauwet, MD, was born and raised on a farm near the small town of Larchwood, Iowa. She sustained a spinal cord injury in a farming accident as a young child but was immediately encouraged to be active, involved, and to see disability as simply another way of living rather than as an impairment. Upon entering high school, her track coach encouraged her to join the track team when he learned that Iowa held sanctioned wheelchair events at the state finals. By her sophomore year she had set records at the state level and began competing nationally. In the fall of 1998 Cheri began her academic and racing career at the University of Arizona. She became the captain of the wheelchair track and road racing team and continued to realize her athletic potential. In 2000, she became a name on the international scene, bringing home a silver and three bronze medals from the 2000 Paralympic Games in Sydney, Australia. Since then, she has achieved resounding success on the international elite racing circuit: Winner, 2003, 2004 New York City Marathon; Winner, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2008 Los Angeles Marathon; Winner, 2004, 2005 Boston Marathon; Gold Medal, 2004 Athens Paralympic Games: 800 meters; Bronze Medals, 2004 Athens Paralympic Games: 5000 meters and Marathon. She was nominated for the 2003 Women’s Sports Foundation Sportswoman of the Year, in addition to two consecutive nominations, in 2004 and 2005, for the ESPY award in the category Best Athlete with a Disability. Cheri was also a nominee for the 2005 Laureus World Sport Award  “World Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability.” Cheri sees sports as one platform through which she can promote disability rights and empowerment at an international level. In 2004, she was named a winner of the Paul Hearne Leadership Award, given to three emerging leaders annually by the American Association of People with Disabilities. She has also worked at the International Paralympic Committee, promoting international sporting opportunities and a mechanism for international development, and with Rehabilitation International, a large multilateral disability rights member organization with both governmental and non-governmental representatives. She is author of “The Paralympic Movement: Promoting Health and Human Rights through Sport.” Cheri is a resident in Internal Medicine at the Brigham and Women's Hospital. Her goal is to pursue the specialty of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and to promote the health and social empowerment of people with a disability, particularly in low-resource settings.

Communications Chair - Roberta Carlin


The Communication Committee continues to send out messages on the Disability Section listserv at disability@aahdlistserve.org.  Please send announcements that you would like to distribute to members to Roberta Carlin at rcarlin@aahd.us


This year the Communications Committee will be networking with  APHA full membership and APHA sections as part of the Disability Section Leadership’s strategic plan to provide more visibility of the importance of integrating disability within public health.


The current issue of the peer reviewed Disability and Health Journal is available at www.disabilityandhealthjnl.com.  This is a special edition issue entitled, “A Disability Perspective on the Issue of Physician Assisted Suicide” and examines the issues related to assisted suicide and disability, the legal considerations and the Oregon and Washington experiences. This issue is an important issue for all of us in public health and disability.   Discounted subscriptions to the Disability and Health Journal are available to APHA members for $100, compared to the publication rate of $209.  To receive the discounted rate, go to www.aahd.us/membership and indicate on your application form that you are an APHA member.

Don't Curb Your Enthusiasm - Share It!

The Disability Section of APHA draws members from a variety of occupations and academic disciplines because, as you know, the issue of disability transcends boundaries and touches on most other public health issues. Unlike many other APHA sections whose missions focus on a particular health occupation or area, ours reaches far and wide to address disability-related health disparities. The richness and diversity of the Disability Section both strengthens our efforts and challenges us to reach out to those who would benefit from membership but who may not be aware of how relevant our mission is to their own work.

For this reason, we would like to begin highlighting the diverse backgrounds of our members to demonstrate the saliency of our efforts to those who have not yet discovered the benefits of joining the Disability Section. This information will be posted on our Web site and perhaps used in future promotional materials.

Whether you work in epidemiology, disability studies, medicine, social work, or any other area, and whether you are a student, senior scientist, or anywhere in between, your enthusiasm regarding the benefits of Disability Section membership relayed via your brief personal story may encourage potential members to join our section. If you're willing to share your photo and story, and to have them highlighted on the Disability Section Web site, please drop us a few lines to tell us:

  • what area of disability and public health you represent.
  • how many years you have been a member.
  • why you joined initially.
  • what you have gained from your membership.

Thank you in advance for your contributions. Please direct any questions or concerns to dotn@ku.edu.

The Nation’s Health - Disability Section News

http://thenationshealth.aphapublications.org/content/39/10 :

  • The Disability Section booth earned a first-place prize in the APHA Sections category of the annual booth contest (see photo with Willi Horner-Johnson, p. 6);
  • Disability Section Program Chair Steve Kaye’s paper abstract ‘Employers slow to hire disabled’ reprinted as one of five abstracts under “Meeting Findings” on page 32.