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Title: Forgotten No More: The University of Guam Missions and CEDDERS National Center of Excellence: Serving the 15% who have disabilities on Guam and in rural/remote Pacific Islands
Authors: San Nicolas, Heidi
Keywords: SEPRS
Society of Professors Emeritus & Retired Scholars
University of Guam
Center of Excellence
University Affiliated Program
special education
social work
speech pathology
interpreter training
assistive technology
single side band radio
minority institutions
cultural diversity
linguistic diversity
community engagement
World Health Organization
Issue Date: 4-Mar-2022
Series/Report no.: Legacy Series;
Abstract: Individuals with disabilities are frequently forgotten by higher education as potential university students, as a focus population for outreach and technical assistance, and as participants and collaborators in research. Higher education institutions may overlook the need to provide disability-specific training within a host of career areas and disciplines that support individuals with disabilities including: medicine, nursing, education, business, rehabilitation, social work, psychology and numerous other fields. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated in 2021 (November 24, 2021, that 15% of the worldwide population have a disability, constituting over 1 billion people. Dr. San Nicolas has primarily focused her work on supporting individuals with disabilities during her forty-year career span to date, assuring they are neither forgotten nor overlooked. She has worked internationally, in the U.S, in Guam, and around the Western Pacific region at the city, county, state, Territorial, and regional levels. Dr. San Nicolas founded Guam’s Center of Excellence in Disabilities (CEDDERS), a nationally recognized Center during her tenure of 31 years of full-time service at UOG. CEDDERS provides synergistic planning, evaluation, and assistance to further Guam’s provision of training, services and research related to disability. She has provided leadership in graduate studies at UOG, serving as Graduate Council Chair, and revamping the Master’s in Education programs to be more competitive and relevant. Dr. San Nicolas developed a regional offering of the UOG Master’s in Special Education approved by WASC, and was the first faculty to teach a catalogue course via single side band radio back in the late 1980’s. Her focus has been on disability throughout the lifespan, and across disabling conditions. She believes in the strength of interdisciplinary work, research, and training. Recognizing her commitment to interdisciplinary work, she was tapped to also provide faculty support through teaching in the Psychology and Social Work programs during her career as UOG Full Professor and founding Director of CEDDERS. Dr. San Nicolas is a strong proponent of several initiatives including: the use of technology to assist individuals with disabilities; expansion of faculty research and teaching to address the needs of the disability population; enhancing the provision of technical assistance and the delivery of coursework; evolving rehabilitation, assessment, audiological evaluation, and follow-up of children and adults in need of specialized health-related and rehabilitation supports. Her grantsmanship skills, augmented and supported by her colleagues at CEDDERS, brought over 143 million dollars in funding to UOG. She is well-published, has presented around the world, and continues to serve as a consultant, mentor, and federal grant reviewer. Dr. San Nicolas believes that society is at its best when all members, including its most vulnerable, are given opportunities to succeed, supported in their endeavors, are included and thus never forgotten nor overlooked.
Appears in Collections:SEPRS Legacy Collection

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