By Anju Khubchandani, MA
Back in 2011, the Spotlight on Disability newsletter highlighted, as its theme, the intersection of health and disability with a particular focus on health disparities. That series of articles underscored the pervasive attitudinal and institutional barriers encountered by people with disabilities in accessing health care.
We carry that theme to this issue by highlighting the ways in which those barriers can be addressed. In her article, The VA Polytrauma System of Care: Serving those who served with Multiple Disabilities, Erin Andrews, PsyD, introduces the Veterans Health Administration’s Polytrauma System of Care. Polytrauma units serve unique functions within the VA health care system: they allow veterans to be treated by multiple health care professionals for multiple issues. For example, an individual being admitted may find the need to talk to a psychologist, who is readily available at a polytrauma unit. Ann Marie Warren, PhD, in her article, Considering Disability in Acute Care Settings: The Psychologist’s Role, emphasizes that importance of psychologists, whether or not in the acute care setting, to consider disability and ensure that they are educated when working with clients who have disabilities.
Another article, Health Care Disparities in the Deaf Community, this one from Lawrence Pick, PhD, draws attention to the health care inequities experienced by individuals with hearing loss and introduces ways to meet the health care needs of deaf and hard of hearing people. Serving as bookends to these three articles are two additional features, one exploring disability identity and the other on universal design.
Inside these pages, you will also learn more about the work of our Disability Issues Office and the various activities of the Committee on Disability Issues in Psychology (CDIP). In addition, Stefanie Reeves of the APA Government Relations Office provides an update on the legislative side of disability advocacy. We are delighted to share some of our latest accomplishments and look forward to your continued interest and involvement in 2014.