A candidate for the Disability Independence Assistant Professor position in the College of Health is a postdoctoral fellow with a Center for Excellence in Disabilities at a University, where they teach and conduct community-engaged research. They work primarily in community-engaged and policy-driven research with disabled and marginalized populations. They received their PhD in medical anthropology in December 2020. Their NSF-sponsored work focuses on the embodiment and social construction of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), a disability which they share. The candidate has been invited to present on this research at lectures and conferences throughout the US. They received their Master’s degree at a univeristy, for which they served an extended tour with the US Peace Corps in francophone Cameroon as part of their degree. Before that, they received a BA Anthropology and African/Middle-Eastern Studies from and was awarded a Fulbright Grant to, during which they survived a severe TBI.

Job Talk: "Medicine, Disability Sociality, and the Social Life of TBI: Linking Disability Independence and Health through Social Interaction"

Abstract: Disability Sociality describes the key social relationships and interactions that make up the lives of disabled individuals. The study of it can greatly benefit both biomedical treatment and social policies for the disabled, furthering disability independence. In this presentation, the candidate will outline their approach to the subject as a disability social scientist with both a scholarly and engaged community orientation. Exploring one common but largely misunderstood group of disabilities for their dissertation, those caused by Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs), they will assess how the disability of the same name is less a bodily condition than a social one that is inscribed on the body. When TBI is understood in this way, a vast array of treatment, policy, and service improvements can be identified to benefit both TBI survivors and those closest to them. It also links the injury with the vast array of negative health and social outcomes correlated with it, including social isolation, homelessness, and even suicide. They applied these same methods and theoretical insights to other disabilities and social conditions in their postdoc at a University College of Medicine. Through the study of Disability Sociality, the candidate and their students thus explored how bodily and social conditions interact with policies and treatments, becoming the lived experiences that ultimately shape disability independence, interdependence, and human health.

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