Working Upstream

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About the presentation: 

The intent of applied behavior analysis (ABA) is to improve the human condition. There is an increasing call for ABA to expand its sphere of influence and address issues of societal importance. Working “upstream,” addressing social determinants of health (SDoH), the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and play), can answer this call. SDoH are frequently used as a framework to improve overall health and wellbeing at a global, national, and local level. Influencers such as the World Health Organization and Healthy People 2030 organize their interventions within the SDoH framework. This session will discuss SDoH and encourage the use of upstream interventions to address health disparities prevalent in marginalized populations including autistic individuals.

Learning Objectives:

  • Participants will be able to recall categories of social determinants of health
  • Participants will be able to compare social determinants of health and the practice of applied behavior analysis and determine intersections
  • Participants will be able to discuss the application of upstream intervention to the practice in applied behavior analysis

About the presenters:

Dr. Patricia Wright’s commitment to ensuring all individuals with autism have access to effective services and supports has guided her work for more than 35 years, from her earliest responsibilities as a special educator, to state and national-level program management. Specific examples of her advocacy include the management in the design of a statewide system of support for children with autism for the state of Hawaii, several years as the National Director of Autism Services for Easter Seals, her industry positions leveraging technology, and her current role at Proof Positive, spreading the science and skills of happiness. 

Dr. Wright has held advisory roles for a number of professional associations and advocacy groups, including the Organization for Autism Research’s Scientific Council, the Executive Committee for the Friends of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Board of Directors for the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts and the Autism Society Panel of Professional Advisors. She has been asked to provide expert testimony at Congressional Hearings and is a frequent contributor in the media, raising awareness of effective intervention for those living with disabilities. 

Dr. Wright completed her PhD and Master of Public Health from the University of Hawaii. Her research focuses on the delivery of evidence-based interventions in community-based settings and healthcare access for people with disabilities.