Elaine Eisenbaum is a doctoral student in the School of Social Work who, as a 2011-2012 Powers Fellow, devotes her research to improving the delivery of services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, particularly those in military families. As a recipient of the Powers Fellowship, Elaine is able to spend valuable hands-on time to improve access to long-term care Medicaid Waiver services.
“Prior to entering the PhD program this year, I was working at The Arc of Northern Virginia as the Director of Advocacy and Operations. Through my role, I met many military families who encountered extreme difficulty with the Medicaid Waiver process and were unable to access the critical waivers for their family members due to state-to-state transfers,” said Elaine. Seeing the effects of these inadequate services, Elaine felt compelled to continue working to meet the needs of these families.
Through her research, Elaine is hoping to address the need of the Medicaid Waiver service system to be made portable from state-to-state for moving military families and for the service-free waiting period to be rid of its inherent hardships.
“That the Medicaid Waiver system is not portable state-to-state for all families is unacceptable; but that the Medicaid Waiver system is not portable state-to-state for those who are faithfully serving the U.S. (and moving state-to-state for this work) is even more appalling,” said Elaine. Through The Texas Center for Disability Studies, Elaine will be able to work directly with families supported by the Fort Hood Family Support 360 grant.
Texas is ranked 49th out of 51 states and the District of Columbia in United Cerebral Palsy’s 2010 report on quality of Medicaid services for people with intellectual disabilities, and Elaine will be able to, as a Powers Fellow, focus on bringing awareness to these issues and “a stronger platform for federal policy change.”
Additionally, in the field of social work, not much research has been conducted on non-mental health disabilities. Because social workers will most likely encounter this population in their work, as one-fifth of Americans align with this population, Elaine hopes to enhance her field with relevant, refreshing work.