Jessica N. Nelson
Date of Defense:
October 30, 2014
Objectives: To describe the current state of disability training in global health training programs in accredited schools of public health (SPH) in the United States (US) and the importance pre – service training on disability has on workforce development of global public health workers. To identify gaps in training and provide recommendations on how schools can leverage their influence to improve outcomes for individuals with disabilities worldwide.
Methods: This study used mixed methods to determine the availability of disability training within US – based accredited SPH that have global or international health programs – as identified through the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) website. Data were collected through a document review of online data (via SPH websites) and a cross – sectional survey that was distributed to global public health prog ram coordinators/directors/staff.
Results: Web Search: Some training in disability — available through the global health program and/or SPH — was identified in 82% of the programs (n=23). Disability training opportunities were found in centers of global health research (n=3), coursework (n=9), faculty (n=16), and schools with Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) Fellowship Programs (n=10). Survey: 14 of 28 programs (50%) completed the survey. Some training in disability — through the pro gram, SPH, or student – led initiative (e.g., student internships, research, or thesis) — was reported in all programs surveyed (n=14). Of these, 64% (n=9) reported some disability training within their global health program, 71% (n=10) reported some disability training within their SPH, and 71% (n=10) reported disability training through student – led initiatives of global public health students. Disability training opportunities were found in centers of global health research (n=6), program sponsorship of event s on global disability (n=5), coursework (n=8), faculty (n=11), LEND (n=2), and other global health student activities (n=10). However, when directly asked, only 36% (n=5) of programs said they were training the upcoming global public health workforce in d isability and only 14% (n=2) of programs said they have plans to expand their program’s or SPH’s training in disability in the future.
Conclusions: Despite their availability of disability training opportunities, programs are failing to recognize these resources as opportunities for pre – service training in disability for the global public health workforce. Therefore, by failing to train the upcoming global public health workforce in disability, US – based ASPH are missing a great opportunity to meet international needs and prioritization of disability programming and legislation by the United Nations (UN) and World Health Organization (WHO).
Key Words: Global disability; Workforce development; Disability and development; Human resource capacity; Disability – inc lusive development; Inclusion of persons with disabilities; Global health competency in disability.