218111 Evidence-based advocacy: Citizens with disabilities use Photovoice to effect policy change

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 12:48 PM - 1:06 PM

Susan Newman, PhD RN CRRN , College of Nursing, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
Photovoice is a participatory research method that manifests the spirit of the old saying a picture is worth 1000 words. This presentation will describe a Photovoice project conducted by a group of 10 individuals with spinal cord injuries in partnership with a Center for Independent Living in Charleston, SC. The goal of this project was to gather evidence of barriers and facilitators to participation in the community by wheelchair users, and in turn use this evidence to advocate for positive community change. Inadequate accessible parking emerged as one common barrier, and was selected as a priority issue by the participants. In partnership with the local newspaper, the Photovoice team participated in a campaign to educate the public about the abuse of the accessible parking in our community, and to advocate for legislation proposed to strengthen accessible parking laws and limit placard misuse in South Carolina. Representatives of the Photovoice team traveled to the state capital to present testimony, including data from the Photovoice project, to both SC House and Senate committees in support of this bill. The bill was passed and signed into law by Governor Sanford on June 2, 2009. On January 1, 2010, the SC Department of Motor Vehicles began issuing new placards and license plates for people with disabilities. Seeing how research efforts can influence public policy for positive community change has been extraordinarily rewarding for all members of the Photovoice team and has created a new sense of empowerment and capacity for change among this group.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education

Learning Objectives:
Learning objectives: 1. Evaluate Photovoice as a participatory research method to support evidence-based advocacy efforts of individuals with disabilities. 2. Identify the relationship between a participatory approach to disability research and the philosophy of Independent Living

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was identified as the principal investigator on the described research and am a certified rehabilitation registered nurse with 15 years of experience working with individuals with a variety of disabilities.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.