My interest in healthcare and disability can be traced to my early childhood. I grew up in a family of nurses. A widowed mother of three, my grandmother opened her own nursing home (pictured here) in 1952 in a small, rural Ohio town where I grew up. The home was passed down to my mother who is also a nurse. As a young child and teen, I would visit residents, taking knitting lessons from one, participating in crafting and holiday caroling with others.
I continued the family health care tradition by becoming a physical therapist. In the clinic, I gravitated toward children and adults who, affected by various neurological and orthopedic conditions, benefited most from hands-on manual care.
My decision to pursue a Ph.D. in history at Yale University grew out of my frustrations with the American health care system, particularly its tendency to place a premium on quick fixes rather than long term care and maintenance. My career as an historian has been devoted to critically analyzing health and widespread cultural inequities, particularly as they affect those with disabilities.