Peter Townsend transformed the conception of poverty, viewing it not simply as lack of income but as the configuration of the economic conditions that prevent people from being full members of the society (Townsend, 1979;  Ferragina et al. 2016  ). Poverty reduces the ability of people to participate in society, effectively denying them full citizenship (as suggested by . Marshall ). Given that there are no universal principles by which to determine the minimum threshold of participation equating to full membership of society, Townsend argued that the appropriate measure would necessarily be relative to any particular cultural context. He suggested that in each society there should be an empirically determinable 'breakpoint' within the income distribution below which participation of individuals collapses, providing a scientific basis for fixing a poverty line and determining the extent of poverty (Ferragina et al. 2016  ).
Ann O’Leary is a psychologist living in Atlanta, Georgia. She served as a Senior Behavioral Scientist in the Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for 16 years. Her training included a summa cum laude undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania; a . in Psychology from Stanford University, supported by a National Science Foundation fellowship; and one year of postdoctoral training in Health Psychology at the University of California at San Francisco. She served on the faculty of the Psychology Department at Rutgers University from 1986 to 1999. She has conducted research on HIV prevention for the past 26 years, and has also published many articles on other aspects of Health Psychology. Dr. O’Leary has published more than 165 scientific articles and chapters, and has edited or co-edited five books, Women at Risk: Issues in the Prevention of AIDS ; Women and AIDS: Coping and Care; Beyond Condoms: Alternative Approaches to HIV Prevention; From Child Sexual Abuse to Adult Sexual Risk: Trauma, Revictimization and Intervention; and African Americans and AIDS: Understanding and Addressing the Epidemic. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association and won the inaugural “Distinguished Leader” award from the APA’s Committee on Psychology and AIDS. She serves on the editorial boards of several scientific journals, and is a frequent consultant to NIH and other scientific organizations.