Diversity Fellow Project, Erica Ficklin

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Understanding Disabilities from a Native Perspective

Understanding Disabilities from a Native Perspective [download PowerPoint]

meet Erica Ficklin >

Project Narrative

1. Please describe your activities during your fellowship experience. Describe your final capstone project(s).
During this Fellowship experience, I worked alongside Native American communities to learn more about disabilities. I held sharing circles (a qualitative method similar to focus groups) throughout the state of Utah. I also transcribed and coded the transcripts from the sharing circles.

2. Who did your project inform, help, influence or impact? (UCEDD, individual, community, state) How?
The project helped Native American communities in Utah by working to better understand disabilities among Native Americans. In addition, the information from this study will help to inform services so that they are culturally appropriate.

3. Why did you choose to work on that project(s)?
I chose to work on this project because I feel that we should work to ensure that Native Americans receive excellent services for disabilities to reduce health disparities. In addition, I feel that this information will help us to develop more culturally-competent services.

4. What did you gain from being a Diversity Fellow?
I truly learned a lot about qualitative research from being a Diversity Fellow. I also learned more about disabilities and how they impact the lives of Native Americans. Most importantly, it gave me the opportunity to help my community have a voice about this topic.

5. How will this experience impact your education or career decisions?
I plan to continue into the URLEND program and learn more about disabilities. I also hope to continue to do research on disabilities, and am doing my thesis on this project.

6. What are your future goals? Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
My main goal is to complete my graduate program. In the future, I hope to be working with my community to further improve health conditions and reduce disparities.

7. What recommendations do you have for other Fellows?
I would recommend that other Fellows engage with other Fellows as much as possible. There is so much we can learn from each other. The monthly calls we had together were very valuable to me, and it was great to make connections with others in the field of disabilities.

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