This biographical article is written like a résumé. (April 2011)
Elizabeth DePoy is a disability theorist, professor of interdisciplinary disability studies, social work, and cooperating faculty in mechanical engineering at the University of Maineand also senior research fellow. Ono Academic College,  Research Institute for Health and Medical Professions. Kiryat Ono, Israel.
She is best known for her work in methods of inquiry, legitimacy theory, and disjuncture theory. Co-authored with Stephen Gilson, DePoy developed Explanatory Legitimacy Theory. They analyze how population group membership is assigned, is based on political purpose, and is met with formal responses that serve both intentionally and unintentionally to perpetuate segregation, economic status quo, and inter-group tension. This theory explains disability as an interactive “ill-fit” between bodies (broadly defined) and environments (broadly defined).
DePoy was born in 1950 and grew up in New York. She earned a BS in 1972 and PhD in 1988 from the University of Pennsylvania. She has been teaching in higher education since then in several universities throughout the U.S.
Other professional work
She is a principle in ASTOS Innovations, a non-profit corporation devoted to improving equality of access to community resources in local, national, and global environments.
In her initial book on disability theoryRethinking Disability (2004, with co-author Stephen Gilson, she discussed the essentialist nature of current diversity categories with a particular focus on disability, showing the value foundation and political and economic purpose of “disability category” assignment and social, professional and community response. Her subsequent works, also co-authored with Gilson, include The Human Experience (2007), applying legitimacy theory to understanding theories of human description and explanation and their purposive, political use in diverse “helping professional” and engineering worlds.
In her most recent writin she andGilson, apply design theory and practice to the analysis of diversity categories, their membership, and their maintenance. She argues that current approaches to understanding and responding to diversity are grand narratives that advantage the market and professional economy while perpetuating difference and inter-group struggle, truncating social justice and limiting equality of opportunity.
- DePoy, E., & Gilson, S.F. (2012). Human behavior theory and applications: A critical thinking approach. Thousand Oakes, CA: Sage Publications.
- DePoy, E. & Gitlin, L (2011) Introduction to research: Multiple strategies for health and human services 4th ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby.
- DePoy, E. & Gilson, S.F. (2011) Studying Disability: Multiple Theories and responses. Thousand Oaks, Sage
- DePoy, E. & Gilson S. (2008). Evaluation practice: How to do good evaluation research in work settings. New York: Routledge.
- DePoy, E. & Gilson S. (2007) The human experience: Description, explanation, and judgment. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.
- DePoy, E. & Gitlin, L. (2005) Introduction to research: Multiple strategies for health and human services 3rd ed. St. Louis, MO: Mosby.
- DePoy, E. & Gilson S.F. (2004) Rethinking Disability: Principles for Professional and Social Change. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks-Cole.
- DePoy, E. & Gilson S. (2003) Evaluation practice. New York, NY, Taylor and Francis.
- Distinguished Lifetime Achievement Award, American Public Health Association, October 2008.
- Allan Meyers Award for Scholarship in Disability, American Public Health Association, September 2005
- Fulbright Senior Specialist Scholar, Grant awarded to Assuit University, Assuit, Egypt, March, 2003
- Feminist Scholarship Award-Council on Social Work Education, March 2000.
1. "Interdisciplinary Studies at the University of Maine". DIS 650 Research Seminar in Disability Studies. Archived from the original on 2007-12-02. Retrieved 2007-11-19.
2. Purdue University, 12th citation (November 14, 2007). "How to Communicate Your Research Results". Purdue University. Retrieved 2007-11-19.
3. "International Conference on Technology, Knowledge, and Society". Universal Web Access: An Intelligent Web Interface. 2005-05-20. Retrieved 2007-11-19.
4. Albrecht, Gary L. (2006). "Encyclopedia of Disability". See Page 701. Sage Publications. Retrieved 2007-11-19.
5 & 6. Albrecht, Gary L. (2006). "Encyclopedia of Disability". See Page 699. Sage Publications. Retrieved 2007-11-19.
7. "CCIDS News". DePoy Receives 2007 Presidential Research and Creative Achievement Award (5/11/07). Retrieved 2007-11-20.