Best wishes to Dr. Anjali Forber-Pratt

By Sandy Siegel

I would like to extend my sincere congratulations to now former SRNA Board Member, Anjali J. Forber-Pratt, Ph.D., who has joined the Administration for Community Living (ACL) as the Director of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR).

Dr. Forber-Pratt served on the SRNA Board of Directors for eight years. She officially joined the Board in 2013; however, she has been a member of our community for a very long time. Anjali was diagnosed with transverse myelitis as an infant and her story is remarkable. I encourage everyone to take the time to learn about Anjali.

I first met Anjali shortly after she published a book for children about being a Paralympian. She co-authored an educational kids’ coloring book about disabled sports titled, “Color Learn & Play: All About Sports for Athletes with Physical Disabilities”.

Anjali’s athletic accomplishments are exceptional. She is a two-time Paralympian and medalist in the sport of wheelchair racing. She competed in Beijing and London and is the former world record holder in the T53 200m. She has been actively involved in helping to create inclusive sport opportunities for individuals with disabilities in Bermuda, India, Zambia, and Ghana. In 2013, she was recognized by President Obama’s administration as a Champion of Change. SHAPE America bestowed the Guiding Woman in Sport award upon her in 2018.

Anjali’s academic accomplishments are also remarkable. She holds a doctorate in education and specializes in research on disability identity. She is a nationally recognized disability rights scholar who is distinguished for her leadership and service. Most recently, she served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Human and Organizational Development at Vanderbilt University. She also presents regularly at state, national, and international conferences and is author on 19 peer-reviewed journal articles and numerous chapters.

Anjali is deeply involved with disability advocacy efforts related to access to employment, education, and sport. She is sought after for public speaking engagements and as an expert for media appearances. Anjali has appeared on national radio and television programs such as “Sesame Street” and NPR. She has also been featured and quoted in national print publications, including The Boston Globe, The New York Times, Huffington Post, USA Today, and Runner’s World.

Anjali also happens to be a wonderful human being. After getting to know her, we thought she would be an excellent role model for the children at our SRNA Quality of Life Family camp; we were so right. The children love meeting her and having their picture taken with her. Anjali is now a regular participant at our camp. She is a thoughtful presenter in our education program and works with Dr. Lana Harder to help lead the camp discussion sessions. Anjali also always makes herself available to meet with parents and children at the camp.

Dr. Forber-Pratt’s contributions to our community and to our organization have been immeasurable. We are very proud of her and know she will continue to make a difference for all of us through her leadership in research and development of policy for the disability community. We are very thankful for Anjali’s leadership and service and wish her much success in her new endeavor.

See these links to learn more about Dr. Forber-Pratt’s work with SRNA: