Donna McDonald 2012

A healthy society is an inclusive society

I work in the field of social policy as an academic, consultant, writer and speaker, with a particular focus on disadvantage and diversity.

My main research interests are: Disability rights, history and policy in Australia | Disability economics & the NDIS | Cross cultural studies in disability | Deafness/ Being deaf | Loss and grief | Narrative research | Ethical Professional Writing.

My main concern is to improve the participation of people with disabilities in society and the quality of their lives. I am also interested in improving my understanding of the Asia-Pacific cultural, social and policy responses to disability.

In Australia, people with disabilities continue to be marginalised despite decades of government promises and millions of dollars of funding. There also continues to be a lack of meaningful educational and employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

As an academic and consultant, I am guided by the principle of inclusion to drive the improvement of disability policies and services. As a writer and public speaker, I understand the power of personal stories to stir new ideas into life, influence policy for the better, and create bonds of fresh understanding.

I am a Senior Lecturer and convenor of policy courses and disability studies in the School of Human Services and Social Work at Griffith University. Over a span of 30 years, I have been at the forefront of developing social policy as a social worker and have established extensive policy networks in Australia and England. I have provided policy advice to Federal, State and Local Governments nationally and internationally.

I am a published writer with two books, several book chapters, journal articles and essays. My publications include my memoir of grief following my infant son's sudden death in 1987 "Jack's Story", and essays such as "I Hear with my Eyes" (Griffith Review 2006), "The Reluctant Memoirist" (Griffith Review 2011) and "When Time Stops: The Courage for Joy" (Stories of Complicated Grief: a critical anthology 2014).

My latest book is "The Art of Being Deaf: a memoir" (Gallaudet University Press: Washington DC. March 2014).