April 22, 2021

IDEAL RRTC Webinar Series: Examining the Impact of COVID-19 on Adults with Physical Disabilities from Marginalized Communities

2:00 pm


Webinar Summary

This webinar presented the findings from a recent study on the initial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on adults with physical disabilities from marginalized communities in Southeast Michigan, one of the early pandemic epicenters in the United States. Interviews with 16 adults revealed how participants either had to engage in risky behavior to have their needs met or avoid risk and not have those needs met. They contribute to understandings of risk, its impact on physical and psychological health, and the importance of accommodations. The study expands insight into early responses to the pandemic among individuals with long-term physical disabilities from marginalized communities. It helps elucidate how socioeconomic status and race/ethnicity can differentially impact the lives of adults with physical disabilities and further marginalize a population that is “always already” vulnerable. This knowledge can expand awareness and appreciation of how social, economic, and political systems are structured and integrated into future clinical guidelines and emergency response policies and more adequately addressed.  

The content of this webinar has been developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR #90RTHF0001). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this webinar do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, or HHS and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

Bios of the webinar speakers:

Lisa Reber, PhD in Justice Studies, is a qualitative researcher and postdoctoral research fellow with U-M’s IDEAL RRTC. Her doctoral research explores socio-spatial marginalization of low-wage migrant workers. As a postdoc, she is identifying the environmental factors that hinder or facilitate healthy aging among adults with long-term physical disabilities in marginalized communities.  

Ms. Jodi Kreschmer, MSW holds a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan. Born with cerebral palsy, Ms. Kreschmer is a passionate advocate for people with disabilities. She has worked with Dr. Kalpakjian on various research projects since 2015.  Her duties include qualitative coding, cognitive interviewing, and recruiting participants for various studies.

Gina DeShong, a graduate of Baker College of Flint, has worked with adults with disabilities and in employment services in various capacities since 1998. Since 2018 she has been employed at The Disability Network (TDN) first as the Information and Referral Partner, assisting individuals by providing information on community agencies and resources.  She is currently TDN Program Director.