Erica Ficklin is a first-year student in the Combined Clinical and Counseling Psychology program at Utah State University. She is currently working with Dr. Eduardo Ortiz in the USU Center for Persons with Disabilities. Erica is a proud member of the Tlingit and Lakota tribes, and she is passionate about the need to address health disparities among the Native American population. She aims to focus her training and career on research to address disparities.
Erica and Dr. Ortiz are investigating the perception of disabilities among Native American communities within the state of Utah. Native Americans are diagnosed with disabilities six times more than the general population. Research is needed to understand the factors leading to this disparity. Dr. Ortiz and Erica believe that the best method in which to achieve this is by using qualitative methodologies to provide insight into how disabilities are defined and perceived by the Native American community. This study will enable further research on how to address the needs of Native Americans with disabilities and to bring awareness to public health issues regarding disabilities.