Romel W. Mackelprang began a career in higher education in 1982 and taught full-time at Eastern Washington University (EWU) from 1987-2018 when he moved to emeritus status. He obtained a BS in Sociology as well as Masters and Doctorate degrees in Social Work from the University of Utah. His work and writings focus on social & health policy and practice, public health and disease, human diversity, including d/Disability as diversity, social justice, and ethics. The 2022 fourth edition of his text, Disability: A Diversity Model in Human Service Practice was just published.
In 2006, he founded the EWU interdisciplinary Disability Studies academic program, focusing on d/Disability as diversity and d/Disabled people as contributing members of society. Utilizing grants and contracts, the program also worked with d/Disabled and other at-risk students from diverse backgrounds to transition from high school to higher education and from college to the workforce.
Dr. Mackelprang has been involved in human and disability rights for four decades. In the 2000’s he began working in sub–Saharan Africa, and, in 2010 he and his family founded Access without Borders (AWB) a 501(c)3 to invest in health, access, and education opportunities for people in Africa. He has developed and administered a five country African research project studying the efficacy of donated wheelchairs. He has organized and led several university-based, service-learning study abroad programs to Ghana; the next study abroad scheduled for summer 2023.
Under Romel’s direction, AWB has partnered with Ghanaians funding water projects for rural villagers, and providing reusable feminine hygiene products for schoolgirls. Partnering with other non-profits, AWB has provided computer resources for a large health clinic allowing them to transition from paper to electronic record keeping. AWB also provides ongoing financial and technological support for Ghana’s primary provider of prosthetics limbs. Dr. Mackelprang provides support and consultation for Ghana’s only prosthetics college and AWB’s current project is the Scholars Nutrition Program that funds students’ meals in exchange for community service. AWB is also providing funding and technology to construct a village school and computer center to train disabled and nondisabled children.
SAS provides an unparalleled educational opportunity and life experience where staff and faculty (staculty) engage with students, lifelong learners, and other voyagers in a vibrant learning community and experience cultures, peoples, and countries around the globe. Dr. Mackelprang is thrilled to participate in the spring 2023 SAS program, having served as a professor on the spring 2016 voyage. He is joined by his best friend and wife Susan, a retired cardiac nurse. They temporarily leave behind five brilliant and beautiful grandchildren… as well as their parents.