About Us

The Graduate Certificate in Disability Studies was approved by the Board of Trustees in September 2007.

How it got started

The disability studies program began through a collaborative effort among the Deans of the Colleges of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Health, and Humanities. A committee comprised of interested faculty, staff and community members began meeting in June 2006 to plan a new program in Disability Studies. To determine if there was a perceived need in the community for such a program, a focus group was held in September 2006 with off-campus disability community participants. The focus group confirmed the desire and interest on the part of the participating community leaders to encourage and support a new program of study. The Disability Studies Work Group concluded that a graduate certificate program in Disability Studies was needed at the University. A teaching seed grant from the Interdisciplinary Studies Office was awarded to co-instructors Pollie Price, PhD (College of Health) and Cathy Chambless, PhD (College of Social and Behavioral Science) for them to develop the new core course. Dr. Price and Dr. Chambless use community engaged scholarship as a foundation of their teaching methods for the course.

Pollie Price

Pollie PricePollie Price, Ph.D., is a  faculty member in the College of Health Division of Occupational Therapy. Dr. Price serves as the co-coordinator for the Graduate Certificate. She is the co-instructor for the Interdisciplinary Course in Disability Studies with Cathy Chambless.

Dr. Price has an extensive background in providing services for people who have acquired disabilities. Her research interests include best practices in occupational therapy that produce client-valued outcomes; the exploration of the occupational and social participation of individuals with spinal cord injury living in the community; and the services that were most relevant to their participation. Dr. Price earned her PhD in Occupational Science from the University of Southern California Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy in 2003; her Master of Arts degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Southern California in 1994; and her bachelor's degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in 1980.

Dr. Price began teaching in June 1994 as a teaching assistant at the University of Southern California Department of Occupational Therapy for kinesiology, neurology, and physical disabilities courses. She held an appointment as a teaching associate from January 1997 to June 1999 in the University of Kansas Medical Center Department of Occupational Therapy Education. While completing her dissertation research, she was a visiting instructor from September 1999-May 2000 at the University of Southern California, and a teaching associate at the California State Dominguez Hills Department of Occupational Therapy for Fall 2002. Dr. Price was appointed as assistant professor at the University of Utah in the College of Health Division of Occupational Therapy in August of 2004.  

Cathy Chambless


Cathy Chambless, Ph.D., is a Research Associate for the Center for Public Policy and Administration. She is the co-coordinator with Pollie Price of the Graduate Certificate.

Dr. Chambless currently directs a pilot study for the Social Security Administration investigating changes to SSDI work rules. She teaches Disability Studies and Health Policy for the Public Administration program and has taught in the Rehabilitation Counselor Education program at Utah State University.

Cathy's past experience includes directing the Medicaid Infrastructure Grant for the Utah Department of Health - a project that developed a Medicaid Buy-In program and employment personal assistance services (EPAS) for working individuals with disabilities. Cathy served as executive director for the Utah Governor's Council for People with Disabilities; oversaw the statewide development of Supported Employment; and began her career as a vocational rehabilitation counselor.

Cathy has a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policy from the University of Utah, a Master's in Public Administration and a Master's in Educational Psychology (rehabilitation counseling). Her B.A. degree is from the University of Santa Clara. She is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC).