Dr. Amy Paul-Ward (PhD, 1997 University of California, Los Angeles) is an Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy at Florida International University. She is an applied medical anthropologist whose work is at the intersection of anthropology, social justice, occupational science, and disability studies. In particular, her work focuses on addressing transitional barriers at different points in the life course. In partnership with key stakeholders, she engages in program development to meet the needs of people who could benefit from, but typically do not receive occupational therapy in settings such foster care, alternative education programs, and jails and prisons. Paul-Ward is a Sustaining Fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology, the Secretary of the Council of Nursing and Anthropology, and a former Co-Chair of the Occupational Science, Occupational Therapy, and Anthropology Interest Group in the National Association of Practicing Anthropologists. Other significant governance experience includes currently serving as a member of the Faculty Senate at Florida International University and having served as a member of the executive committee for the FIU-United Faculty of Florida (FIU-UFF) for 8 years.
I am very excited and honored to be nominated for a position on the SfAA Board. The SfAA has played a significant role in my career, providing me with an organizational home that accepts my non-linear professional trajectory as normal, where I do not feel like I need to explain how as a medical anthropologist, my primary appointment is in occupational therapy. Because of my deep appreciation for the society and the benefits it affords to all of its members, I would like to play a role in working to ensure that we overcome the challenges SfAA is facing in response to COVID-19 to make sure the society comes out on the other side stronger than ever.
As a community-engaged researcher who promotes diversity and social justice, I demonstrate the skills needing for working with colleagues and stakeholders across disciplinary lines and in multiple settings. Like many others in SfAA, I understand the pressing issues facing both practitioners and academics as we seek to expand the role of anthropologists for addressing worldwide problems. Having served on the strategic planning committee for my institution, I know the importance of the society’s ongoing strategic planning process for identifying key priorities. As we move forward, I would like to focus on expanding the Society’s global outreach, increasing membership and active engagement among all of our international colleagues. I would also like to explore creative options for addressing the financial challenges that resulted from the need to cancel SfAA’s 2019 annual conference. In short, I understand the importance of this role as well as the skillset and experience to perform the duties of a board member. If elected to serve in this capacity, I welcome the opportunity to work collaboratively with all members of SfAA to represent the interests of anthropologists across all settings.