UCLA School of Public Health Field Studies Program


Community Health Sciences

Field Placement: University of Southern California, University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Center for Disability Studies
Location:
Los Angeles, CA
Preceptor:
Barbara Wheeler, RN, PhD
Student Name: Rita Maldonado
Year: 2005

People with developmental disabilities face many difficulties throughout their lives and are often dependent on society to provide for their needs. However, at present there are many needs that continue to be unmet for this population and thus when compared to others in society it becomes apparent that a disparity exists. Two such disparities, health and victimization, were the focus of my internship and the projects I worked on.

I conducted my field studies requirement at the University of Southern California, University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Center for Disability Studies. At the Center I coordinated two projects. The first, Opening Doors to Multicultural Disability Communities was funded by The California Endowment and is an effort to bring together ten minority disability organizations to form on larger federation. Their goal is to use this federation to have greater influence over policies that impact their constituency and to increase their chances when applying to large grants allowing them to have a greater impact in the lives of minorities with disabilities. This project taught me a lot about coalition building and the difficulties that often arise when organizations of varying size, interests, and make-up try to come together.

The second project was Project GUIDE, which is funded by the Department of Justice. This project aims at improving the ability of police officers to interview and work with crime victims with developmental disabilities. In order to accomplish this goal we worked to create a training video for use in police academies and police departments
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