AAHD Welcomes Dr. Anjali Forber-Pratt as New Director of Research – PR.com


Rockville, MD, May 08, 2024 –(PR.com)– The American Association on Health and Disability is proud to announce Dr. Anjali Forber-Pratt will be joining our organization in July as our Director of Research. This role is instrumental in directing AAHD’s outreach work to engage people with disabilities in the All of Us Research Program, including efforts on a pilot initiative to support pediatric enrollment in the program.

Anjali Forber-Pratt, PhD comes to AAHD from her recent Presidential appointment as Director of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living & Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) within the Administration for Community Living in the Department of Health and Human Services, a role she has served in since May 2021. Her work shaping the federal disability research agenda will be invaluable to setting a strong health equity centered research portfolio for AAHD. Previously, she taught as an Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University and Research Assistant Professor at University of Kansas. She is a two-time Paralympian and medalist, who has been nationally and internationally recognized for her leadership as a disability advocate and researcher.

Dr. Forber-Pratt has authored over 65 peer-reviewed journal articles and chapters. Her past empirical work has focused on the psychosocial adjustment to disability and disability identity development. As a post-doc, she collected data on student self-determination within school systems. Her work has also examined factors of healthy psychosocial development, particularly related to experiences of bullying and victimization of students with disabilities and has used a qualitative approach to gathering the stories of people who are non-speaking or use assistive communication devices. Her emphasis on data collection that positions the disability experience as a primary site of knowledge production is a critical way that researchers can advance disability inclusion in research.

“On behalf of our staff and board, we are pleased to have Dr. Anjali Forber-Pratt joining the organization to steward our research development and this critical work with NIH. Her expertise in qualitative methods aligned with her sensitivity to the broader social drivers of health and understanding of historical inequities in our communities make her a strong director for this role,” shared AAHD Board President, Rick Rader, MD.

Bonnielin Swenor, the Director of the Johns Hopkins Disability Health Research Center affirmed: “Dr. Forber-Pratt is an internationally renowned researcher with deep connections to the disability community. Her work has advanced multiple fields and is a shining example of the value and importance of disability inclusion across the research process. I am thrilled for her to take on this role at AAHD, and I look forward to the impact of her work.”

Dr. Forber-Pratt will carry forward the work of Charles Drum, MPA, JD, PhD who had previously served as Principal Investigator on All of Us outreach with AAHD’s Disability Community Engagement Partner Project (DCEPP). Dr. Charles Drum, served as a board member with AAHD before joining the organization as a Visiting Scholar in 2017. He fully joined the staff that following year, founding the National Disability and Health Equity Center (formerly the National Center for Research, Knowledge Translation and Dissemination). During his tenure at AAHD, he led a collaborative Blood Clot Knowledge translation research project in partnership with the National Blood Clot Alliance. Under his leadership AAHD implemented a COVID-19 survey to understand the impact of the pandemic on the health care needs of people with disabilities, and to support community self-advocacy.

AAHD Executive Director, Karl Cooper spoke about the transition at AAHD: “We are grateful for Charles’ years of service and dedication to our community, which has helped to bring disability to the forefront of our national public health conversation. His commitment to this work at AAHD brought a critical disability perspective to help shape the national efforts of the NIH All of Us Research Program. We are excited about the addition of Anjali Forber-Pratt to our team and are eager to engage both her professional and lived experience in the work we are doing with the All of Us Research Program along with an expansion of our research agenda.”

AAHD is committed to advocating for greater disability inclusion in health research, including with the All of Us Research Program. Dr. Forber-Pratt’s addition to the DCEPP team will be critical to shaping this work with NIH, and through broader AAHD research efforts.

Jill Jacobs, the Executive Director of the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities affirmed her enthusiasm for this appointment: “I am delighted to learn of Dr. Anjali Forber-Pratt’s appointment as the new Director of Research at the American Association on Health and Disability. Having worked alongside her previously, I’ve witnessed firsthand her dedication and expertise in enhancing health equity outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Anjali’s lived experience, innovative thinking, and natural ability to connect with and lead people are true assets. I am confident that she will make an outstanding contribution to AAHD’s important work.”

Dr. Forber-Pratt will start in the role of Director of Research at AAHD in July 2024.

About the American Association on Health and Disability: AAHD is dedicated to ensuring health equity for children and adults with disabilities through policy, research, education, and dissemination at the federal, state and community level. AAHD strives to advance health promotion and wellness initiatives for people with disabilities. AAHD’s goals are to reduce health disparities between people with disabilities and the general population, and to support full community inclusion and accessibility.