Catherine “Kate” Harwood is a first-year doctoral student at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work. Kate’s research interests focus on health and people with developmental disabilities. Following the motto of “nothing about us without us,” the disability rights movement has historically elicited the input of people with disabilities for programs that impact them. As a person living with physical disabilities, Kate is very eager to contribute her perspective to research related to people with childhood-onset disabilities.

To empower social change, Kate utilizes ethnographic interviewing, lived experiences, and storytelling. Kate’s primary mentors are Dr. Sandy Magaña and Dr. Sandra Vanegas at the Texas Center for Disability Studies. Kate is currently collaborating on the healthcare transition readiness project through the IDEA (Improving Developmental Experiences for Autism and developmental disabilities) Research Lab.  She is dedicated to improving the transition from pediatric to adult healthcare for individuals with childhood-onset conditions.

She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Anthropology from Mount Holyoke College and her Master’s degree in Social Work from the Steve Hicks School of Social Work. Kate served as a Graduate Research Assistant. She assisted in teaching Transition of Youth with Special Healthcare Needs and Policy to undergraduate and graduate students.  Kate was a 2022-2023 Autism Consortium of Texas LEND trainee, where she expanded her knowledge about helping people with neurodevelopmental disabilities using an interdisciplinary approach.

Professional Interests

Improving health and healthcare for people with developmental disabilities, including cerebral palsy and autism.