RISE Scholars

Kerri Morgan, PhD OTR/L ATP
Washington University
RISE Cohort 5


I am a person with a physical disability, a healthcare professional (occupational therapist), and a researcher. I am interested in taking interventions tested in clinical environment (such as rigorous exercise programs) and making them more available outside of the medical model to people with disabilities through community organizations such as independent living centers. To better understand my decisions to pursue my interest’s it is important to understand my personal and professional experiences.I have had personal experience with disability since the age of one, when I a virus attacked my spinal cord at the C6 level. This experience made me appreciate the personal and environmental factors that limit and those that facilitate full participation in major life activities. Growing up, I strove to increase my physical capacity via medical and therapeutic interventions, but found that my participation was limited by environmental factors. It was not untilafter college when I found supports and resources to exercise and participate in physical fitness. The discovery and access of a healthy physical fitness routine increased my participation in everyday life activities and allowed me to experience extraordinary life activities, including competing for the United States Track and Field Team in the 2008 (Beijing) and 2012 (London) Paralympic Games. In part because I have personally experienced the benefits of health and wellness, I am interested in increasing health and wellness promotion for people with disabilities.