SSA is an institution where people wade into a maelstrom of challenges as a means to understand how problems start so they can define those problems and shape solutions. Grace Abbott, an expert in child welfare and one of SSA’s founding mothers, was considered primarily responsible for the development of the child welfare provisions of the Social Security Act back in the early 1930s. The act did more than just aid and promote health for mothers and children. It included a provision, “Services for Crippled Children” which provided “medical, surgical, corrective, and other services and care, and facilities for diagnosis, hospitalization, and aftercare.”
Though society has come a long way in establishing rights and assistance to Americans with disabilities, our country still has a lot of work to do in this arena. Our cover story features Professor Harold Pollack’s brother-in-law, Vincent, a person with intellectual disabilities due to fragile X syndrome. Harold illuminates the struggles of caring for Vincent with vivid, personal anecdotes about his family’s everyday home life.
Harold, a prominent scholar on health policy, blogs, writes, and tweets about people living with disability. He challenges us to think about ways society can respond better to these needs. He has been instrumental in giving the general public and policy wonks alike a holistic view of healthcare and how policy affects the average person. Almost a hundred years after Grace, Harold helped to shape the Affordable Care Act.
Philanthropy, whether in the form of gifts large or small, sustains SSA’s capacity to wade into the thicket of problems. Your support allows us to educate and develop leaders for the social service infrastructure of our nation. It helps advance our research agenda and work such as Harold’s. Our goal is to prevent problems in society from happening. Investing in SSA allows our educational and research programs to create great and lasting impact. This is why The University of Chicago Campaign: Inquiry and Impact is vital.
I have attended a few of the “inquiry and impact” sessions with faculty who presented their research to potential large-gift donors and I am looking forward to personally hosting a session in New York City. That session will feature a faculty member whose research focuses on poverty prevention.
Your gifts complement the work of our visiting committee and professional staff and I encourage you to be part of our team. Please consider a gift to the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration.
Peter Darrow, J.D. ’67 (Law)
Chair, SSA Visiting Committee