The Lurie Institute for Disability Policy

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University

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2014 Ruderman Scholars

2014 Scholars

Danielle SacksteinDanielle Sackstein '14 was a Health: Science, Society, and Policy (HSSP) major, with a minor in Women’s and Gender Studies.  During her first year at Brandeis, Danielle learned about the Disability Rights movement, and began investigating the intersection between disability and social justice.  She has worked at Massachusetts General Hospital and Partners HealthCare, assisting with projects that champion patient-centered care and patient empowerment.  However, after working in a hospital setting and witnessing the ways in which individuals with disabilities struggle to gain access to critical healthcare knowledge and resources, Danielle realized that health policies often exclude, or fail to accommodate, the needs of those living with disabilities. Danielle became interested in the Ruderman Social Justice in Disability Scholars Program in order to gain a deeper understanding of the challenges that people with disabilities face in their access to healthcare information and services.  Presently, she works as a Research Analyst on the Connected Health Innovations team at Partners Connected Health.  Danielle reports that she carries what she learned during the Ruderman Scholarship in the work that she does because "I am more keenly aware of the disparities individuals with disabilities face in a 'one size fits all' healthcare system.  A component of my job is helping to facilitate interviews and focus groups to gain feedback on the usability of the apps and products we help to design and test.   A great deal of the feedback I collect from users relates back to the concept of universal design, and making our apps user-friendly and accessible for the diverse population who may benefit from them.  Some of the most rewarding and valuable experiences I have had in my position have occurred through my discussions with study participants with special needs who offer important feedback on how to make our products more universally accessible.  I have collected user feedback from individuals who have made suggestions to incorporate text to speech functionality and universal visual symbols for those who may have difficulty with traditional print text, and making the font size and color schemes of our apps more customizable for users with different visual needs.  I hope that by collecting and incorporating this information from users, we will be able to lead the effort in designing connected health interventions that may tremendously benefit and empower all users."

Ruth ZeilicovichRuth Zeilicovich '14 was a Brandeis double major in HSSP and Psychology with a minor in International and Global Studies (IGS). She applied to became a Ruderman Social Justice in Disability Scholar to continue to learn about the health inequalities that exist in the disability field with the hope of contributing to the efforts in improving healthcare programs for the disabled. Previously, she interned in the Hasharon Hospital in Israel with the Department Social Workers. During this time, she had direct contact with those who suffer from disabilities and worked to make sure that they would not be neglected by the health system.  Following graduation, she has been at Vinfen doing psych rehabilitation work.  She works with adult clients with all types of developmental and mental health needs. She recently was promoted in early May, and is now a Rehabilitation Coordinator where she oversees paperwork to make sure it meets guidelines, and provide staff with trainings and resources to help them create plans that better relate to and help clients achieve their goal. She is enjoying the job and the hands-on experience Vinfen provides her with!

Knowledge Advancing Social Justice

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