National Advisory Board members discuss self-advocacy in adulthood

Self-advocacy and active participation in care are crucial for patients to ensure their needs are met. Living with disabilities can lead to varying experiences of loss of control within an individual’s life. By communicating health needs, people living with disabilities can be empowered to take control of their lives.

Self-advocacy is a focus topic for UnitedHealthcare’s National Advisory Board (NAB). The following video is the second installment in a series highlighting self-advocacy opportunities across the age spectrum. In this second installment, Michelle Martin, Senior Policy Director of Complex Care for UnitedHealthcare Community & State, discusses the impact of self-advocacy for three board members:

  • Jennifer Kucera, Disability Rights Advocate
    • Jennifer was born with spinal muscular atrophy and was always encouraged by her parents to take charge of her health care decisions. Previously a math teacher, Jennifer now belongs to two advocacy groups in Ohio and works as an Outreach Healthcare Coordinator for the Center for Independent Living.
  • Theo Braddy, Executive Director, National Council on Independent Living
    • Theo fractured his neck while playing football at the age of 15 and became paralyzed. He has dedicated his life to advocating for independent living and improving related resources.
  • Edward Mitchell, Interim Executive Director, Statewide Independent Living Council of Tennessee
    • Edward was involved in a hit and run accident at the age of 16 while riding his bicycle and became paralyzed. He previously worked with a professional sports team and now works with the Center for Independent Living.

The NAB board members talk about their self-advocacy journeys including challenges they have faced, opportunities for self-advocacy and advice for their younger selves. In response to this final topic, Jennifer commented, “I would’ve told my younger self to believe in herself. A lot of things that I’m doing today, my younger self would not have believed was possible. [I would have told her to] go forward and change the world.”

Video: National Advisory Board Members discuss self-advocacy in adulthood

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