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Disability, Justice and Health Inequities

We are currently featuring the ANS article titled State of the Profession The Landscape of Disability Justice, Health Inequities, and Access for Patients With Disabilities authored by Alina Engelman, DrPH, MPH; Claire Valderama-Wallace, PhD, MPH, RN; and Sahar Nouredini, PhD, RN.  In this article, the authors make a compelling case for addressing healthcare inequities for people with disabilities using an intersectional social justice approach.  We are also offering continuing education for this article, and invite you to download the article at no cost while it is featured, and share you comments below!  Here is a message from the authors about their work –

from left: Dr. Sahar Nouredini, Dr. Claire Valderama-Wallace and Dr. Alina Engelman

We see our article as a clarion call for the nursing profession to address health inequities of patients with disabilities — in part, by more readily welcoming disabled practitioners into our own ranks and shifting the orientation of the nursing curriculum away from the colonial project of the medical model to one that is rooted in inclusion and anti-oppression. This article is the result of an interdisciplinary collaboration and relationship building among public health and nursing faculty at California State University, East Bay who bring varied social and methodological perspectives to the issue. Alina Engelman, DrPH, MPH is an Assistant Professor of Health Sciences, and Claire Valderama Wallace, PhD, MPH, RN and Sahar Nouredini, PhD, RN are Assistant Professors of Nursing. We strive to nurture each other as women faculty and friends.

This article originated from a dialogue among colleagues deeply concerned about the failure of health professions to fully come to grips with equitable and accessible care for patients with disabilities. Particular responsibilities and positionalities brought this topic and lens to the forefront as this area of concern must not be seen nor treated as just within the purview of people with disabilities.

Professor Engelman identifies as deaf and her work as an activist, educator and academic have focused on health disparities facing the deaf and hard-of-hearing, including emergency preparedness communication, and community-based HIV/AIDS services in Kenya. Among other health sciences courses, she teaches global health and disability and is a member of the Community Health Commission in the City of Berkeley.

Professor Valderama-Wallace identifies as a lifelong learner calling for antiracist and anticolonial nursing education, research, practice, and policy. She stands upon the shoulders and fierce efforts of ancestors, scholars, friends, and communities. Her research focuses on social justice in nursing education and is also preparing a project focusing on the experiences and perspectives of Filipinx health workers.

Professor Nouredini identifies as a teacher-learner, activist and researcher. Her research interests include environmental justice, occupational health inequities and the integration of environmental health in nursing curriculum and creating a more inclusive community health nursing curriculum.

Our article provides an overview of the health and health care access disparities faced by people with disabilities, followed by an overview of various models of disability with recommendations for the application of specific models to the nursing curriculum and nursing practice. Our article makes the case for an intersectional social justice approach to nursing education by contextualizing the current state of affairs within historical and contemporary models of disability. By doing so, we can better prepare future nurses to address root causes of inequity and to better care for people with disabilities.

We invite you to read our article about the state of our profession in terms of disability justice, consider how the topic is lived, maintained, and shaped where you practice, educate, and develop policy. We share this with the Future of Nursing Study Team for their consideration as a Future of Nursing Initiative would be grossly incomplete without an intentional effort to be inclusive of people with disabilities as colleagues, classmates, and community members we aim to serve. In doing so, we aim to uphold the highest standards of the nursing profession.



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