Advocacy, Policies & Research: Moving Forward

For the nearly 60 million Americans with disabilities who depend on Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act for health care and public services to survive, the prospective policies of the US administration could mean losing their health insurance, social safety net, legal protections and civil rights. Or it could not. With every new administration and election in the US and abroad, there is always a threat to lose what we have gained.  Potential new laws in the United States may once again expose people with disabilities to the vagaries of the private insurance market. Low-income citizens stand to be especially affected by policy changes. What steps can marginalized communities take to come together as a movement for lasting sustainable change, in spite of changing administrations? How can disability advocates assert fundamental needs and values? Where is the Sustainability in policies and practice?

Disability advocates can derive inspiration from the rights fought and won in the 1980s during the Ronald Reagan administration, when activists mobilized en masse to oppose roll backs to federal disability services, benefits and provisions. There are voices of concern yet there are opportunities for influencing future directions. Globally, disability rights have made huge advances and opportunities abound and, yet these rights can be taken away. We return to the question: What is sustainable practice.

In terms of sustainable practice research, what should our focus be on? What are the burning issues we need to research? No matter what the level or scenario, research plays a key role in laying the pathway to helping us build bridges between communities and ensuring that persons with disabilities and marginalized people can live amongst others on an equal level.  How will the research be used once it is gathered, and will everyone be heard in the results and findings?

In this timely topic area, we urge creative ideas and concrete solutions that will ignite hope and action in the face of coming challenges. We are look for proposals in the following areas of inquiry:

  • What are some ways to engage all community members and conduct research in a way that values diversity and everyone involved?   
  • What steps can the disability community take to come together as a progressive rights movement and how can we link with other movements to pen meaningful policies that will affect our collective and individual future?
  • Best practices of how research can be an engine for social change;
  • Innovative research design and methodologies which addresses social, political and economic issues concerning marginalization;
  • Multi-disciplinary collaborative efforts and diversity-centered interdisciplinary research as it relates to cultural identities, physical and mental ability, religion, class, gender and other intersections;
  • New directions in collaborative advocacy efforts to inform policy change and positive directions;
  • The role of leadership in facilitating policies, research and innovative advocacy efforts;
  • The way in which we move forward – regardless of budget or funding cuts – to ensure sustainability for the most vulnerable and marginalized in the world.

We welcome proposals in any presentation format. Please see presentation formats on our webpage at:  http://www.pacrim.hawaii.edu/presenters/formats/. Please check the criteria for each format and ensure that you have the appropriate number of presenters for your chosen format. You may submit proposals online at: http://www.pacrim.hawaii.edu/submissions or send your proposals via email to prcall@hawaii.edu.

For more information on this topic area, please contact the PacRim 2017 team at prcall@hawaii.edu. For general information on the conference, please contact Charmaine Crockett at cccrocke@hawaii.edu, (808) 956-7539. For registration questions please contact registration desk at prreg@hawaii.edu,