University of Montana Rural Institute

Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities – RTC: Rural

MainHallwithSquirrelThe Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities (RTC: Rural) conducts research on disability as part of the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities at the University of Montana. RTC: Rural is funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) to improve the ability of people with disabilities to engage in rural community living.

Research projects at RTC: Rural focus on community participation and independent living, health & wellness, and employment and vocational rehabilitation.  Research products include: Living and Working Well with a Disability, health promotion programs for people with disabilities; Telecom Toolbox, a resource for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors; and the Transportation Voucher program available from the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL).

As a NIDILRR-funded program, the Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities strives to ensure people with disabilities participate in all stages of the development and implementation of research projects.  Our goal is to make sure research results and products are useful and relevant to people with disabilities, their families and service providers.

Learn more about RTC: Rural, our staff and history by checking out our About Page .  Please like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

    The State of the Science on Housing Accessibility and Community Engagement

    Thank you to all who attended our State of the Science webinar symposium on housing and community engagement. Craig Ravesloot, Lillie Greiman, and Andrew Myers from the RTC:Rural and Bryce Ward from the University of Montana Bureau of Business and Economic Research shared the latest findings from three different datasets. An analysis of the American Housing Survey reveals that many people with mobility impairments live in homes that lack basic access features. photo of bathroom with grab bar in shower and next to toiletFor example, 57% of households in which someone uses mobility equipment (e.g., cane, crutch, wheelchair, scooter) have steps at their entrance and 62% lack grab bars in their bathrooms. Results from the American Time Use Survey indicate that people with mobility impairments are less likely to bathe and less likely to leave home than people without mobility impairment. As such, people with mobility impairments spend more time resting and less time engaged in activities which typically require more exertion. Data from our Health and Home Survey, which was developed with input from a team of Center for Independent Living
    (CIL) advisors, suggests that bathing exertion is related to community bathroom2engagement. For example, bathing was rated as one of the most exertion-demanding activities throughout the home, and people who reported more exertion while bathing were less likely to engage in social and recreational activities. Looking to the future, we hope to explore how reducing exertion in the home may increase opportunities and choices for community engagement.

    View the video archive of the symposium

    View the Slide Presentation

    Explore more of the community participation research

    Read more about our other State of the Science Colloquia



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    Save the Date! Housing and Community Engagement Symposium

    Man using wheelchair down a ramp connected to his home

    Photo credit:

    wheelchair user going through accessible 36" doorway

    Photo credit: FATE Housing, VA

    LOng staircase stoop to Brooklyn brownstone

    Photo Credit: Steven Pisano

    RTC:Rural is hosting a State of the Science Webinar Symposium on Housing Usability and Community Engagement on June 22, 2016. During this event, researchers will present on the accessibility of America's housing, noting urban-rural and regional differences. The dialog will transition into two other presentations that push the conversation to address the broader implications of inaccessible housing as related to community engagement and participation. How do the barriers an individual experiences within an inaccessible home then transfer to influence their ability to participate in the community?  What is the cost? JOIN US for an exciting conversation about the state of accessible housing in our communities and what we might do to address the issues presented. Register today!  Questions? Contact for more information.

    Continue reading about Save the Date! Housing and Community Engagement Symposium


What does RTC: Rural do?

RTC: Rural is a leader in research on disability in rural communities. Visit our About page to learn more.