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SHEspeaks: Dr. Anjali Forber-Pratt (Ep. 9)

In honor of this month’s theme, SHESinSports, our SHEspeaks host Hope Cooper Buckner sat down with Dr. Anjali Forber-Pratt, a Paralympic athlete and medalist (2008, Bejing), advocate, speaker, influencer & Assistant Professor at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, to discuss her life-long journey with athletics, her career in the classroom and the advocacy work she continues to do with disability services and access.

A well-known researcher and influencer, Dr. Forber-Pratt’s disability advocacy work is known on a global level as some of her most recent work has been centered around creating inclusive sport opportunities for individuals with disabilities in Bermuda, Zambia, Ghana and India — and the potential impact has only just begun.

“For me, as young kid, every adult that I knew could walk. I actually believed that in order to go to college, get a job, have a family…I first had to learn how to walk.” 

Dr. Forber-Pratt is an athlete — she always has been. As a child, it was seeing the Boston Marathon in person that sparked an interest in sports within her. From then on, she was hooked (and hasn’t looked back).

Photo credit: John Russell, Vanderbilt University

A record-holding paralympian, Forber-Pratt is no stranger to the life-changing impact athletics can (and does) have on so many SHEs throughout our world. In fact, it was sport that pulled her through some incredibly trying times in her life — including the years in which she battled a federal disability discrimination lawsuit as a high school student and went on to continue her incredibly successful athletics career through both graduate and doctoral school.

She goes on to discuss her life-long journey with athletics, how she uses her own experiences, now, as a college professor and the research agenda she currently holds related to disability identity, inclusion & athletics and the power behind her own mantra — dream. drive. do. 


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