It is estimated that globally, one in ten people lives with a disability and they represent up to 20% of the population living in poverty in developing countries. On December 3, the United Nations is once again promoting the worldwide observance of International Day of Persons with Disabilities which it began 1992.
The College of Nursing has a long history of research in support of access to and delivery of quality care to people with disabilities, especially through its Health Promotion for Women with Disabilities Project supported by a grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb. The project involved research studies and lectures relating to such areas as osteoporosis, intimate partner abuse, and cardiac disease in women with disabilities.
The work continues by the Villanova Nursing faculty. Current examples include Dr. Suzanne Smeltzer, professor and director of the College’s Center for Nursing Research, who continues her scholarly work to improve education of health care providers about disability issues so that people/patients/clients with disabilities receive better health care. She is also endeavoring to broaden the content related to disabilities in nursing curricula. In addition, Dr. Nancy Sharts-Hopko, professor and director of the doctoral program, is studying women with vision impairment and Dr. Linda Copel, professor, continues her research in the area of domestic violence.
For more information about the College’s efforts, visit http://www.villanova.edu/nursing/community/womendisabilities.htm . To learn more about International Day of Persons with Disabilities, visit http://www.un.org/disabilities/default.asp?id=1484 .