Brogan Gordon is a full time Master of Health Studies student, as well as a passionate advocate for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Her research interests include understanding what equity and inclusion looks like for individuals with IDD, with a specific on focus Canadian health policy development. She is in the final year of her program and hopes to defend her thesis in 2023. Brogan currently resides in Edmonton, Alberta, which is located on Treaty 6 territory.
Title: Facilitating the Meaningful Inclusion of Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in Health Policy Development
Abstract: Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) experience a range of intersecting inequalities. Their health is often poorer than their ‘able’ counterparts and their health expenditures more costly. Furthermore, individuals with IDD face inequities in the access, quality, and delivery of care in healthcare systems and are underrepresented in healthcare policy. With the shift in disability discourse to a focus on meaningful inclusion for individuals with IDD, there is a need to understand what meaningful inclusion/representation in health policy looks like for this vulnerable population.
My thesis project, which is currently in progress, will explore the questions: How are individuals with IDD included in health policy development? Recognizing that disability research has traditionally been done “on” individuals with disabilities instead of “with” them, I intend to use an interpretive phenomenological approach to inquiry that will position me to explore, interpret, and analyse the experiences of individuals with IDD as they perceive them. This methodology will also allow me to recognize the presuppositions and biases that I bring with me as both a researcher and advocate for individuals with disabilities. The proposed method to collect data is semi-structured, plain language interviews. My inclusive thesis project will provide important insight as to whether or not Canadians with IDD have been included in health policy development, which is not only a right for all citizens, but a necessity in the creation of policies that meet the needs of all Canadians.