Organized in 1972 by a Columbus, Ohio physician Dr. Philip K. Wood as a forum for the promotion of the achievements, as well as the needs of, people with mobility impairments, Ms. Wheelchair America recognizes the accomplishments of women who utilize wheelchairs for mobility. The non-profit program which consists of the State Coordinators and State Titleholders has grown to include programs in more than 30 states and the District of Columbia. The state programs are staffed and coordinated by volunteers dedicated to increasing public awareness so that all citizens will be afforded the opportunities to lead productive and meaningful lives.
The mission of Ms. Wheelchair America is to provide an opportunity of achievement for women who happen to be wheelchair users to successfully educate and advocate for the more than 64 million Americans living with disabilities. Unlike traditional beauty pageants, Ms. Wheelchair America is not a contest to select the most attractive individual. It is instead a competition based on advocacy, achievement, communication and presentation to select the most accomplished and articulate spokeswoman for persons with disabilities. The selected representative must be able to communicate both the needs and the accomplishments of her constituency to the general public, the business community and the legislature.
Duties of Ms. Wheelchair America
As Ms. Wheelchair America, the national titleholder has numerous duties. These include promoting awareness of the need to eliminate architectural and attitudinal barriers, informing the able-bodied public of the achievements of the millions of people with disabilities across the nation, and assisting with the establishment of programs in all 50 states by promoting Ms. Wheelchair America. During her year long reign, she will have the opportunity to travel visiting advocacy groups, making public appearances and conducting radio, print ad, and TV interviews. The commitment and personal example of the titleholder serves to further the mission of Ms. Wheelchair America.