Education Doctorate

Year Approved


First Advisor

Dahl, Diane


There is evidence for health and education communities that call for disability curricula in care provider education. The purpose of this study was to explore what adults with physical disabilities (AWPD) experience in health clinics regarding access to care with physical environments, attitudes, and disability knowledge, and to construct a comprehensive survey for care providers asking about accessibility in their clinics. A transformative mixed methods approach included AWPD in research to provide an authentic representation of this population accessing care in health clinics. This study was conducted in two phases. Phase one collected qualitative data and documented AWPD perceptions, and developed a survey for care providers. Phase two collected quantitative perceptual data of care providers. Findings showed that AWPD reported concerns with accessing and maneuvering in clinic environments, absence of accessible medical equipment, discussing health-related issues with their provider, and other concerns about various aspects of their disability care. In some cases, not having adequate access resulted in undesirable outcomes and incomplete exams for AWPD. Findings also showed areas of accessibility. AWPD reported that clinic staff responded to their needs and providers gave suggestions to improve health. However, one-fourth of providers surveyed responded they were not knowledgeable in disability care, durable medical equipment, nonpharmaceutical alternatives for managing pain, secondary conditions, and communication techniques; nearly one-half were not knowledgeable in wellness activities and preventive screening. This suggests a disability knowledge gap exists among care providers working in health clinics. Education could be the key for improving physical environments, attitudes, and disability knowledge. The importance of this study is for providers and educators to have a better understanding of accessibility in health clinics so health services and outcomes for AWPD can be improved.

Degree Name

Education Doctorate

Document Type

Doctoral dissertation