The 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.
- Advocacy Skill Building Toolkit
- Maps of Disability and Employment, from our Disability across America map series.
- Disability Counts Data Finder
- RTC:Rural employment research, including Telecom Toolbox and the Vocational Rehabilitation Self-Employment Guide (which is still in development)
- Living Well and Working Well with a Disability
- Healthy Community Living
- the new Rural Disability Resource Library website
RTC:Rural co-director Dr. Tom Seekins was recently honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Public Health Association (APHA). The award “is presented to a person who, over the course of his or her career, has made a major contribution to the improvement of health and quality of life for people with disabilities through research, teaching, advocacy, or practice.”
To see a captioned video of Dr. Seekins’ acceptance speech, click on the embedded video below.
Dr. Seekins was also honored at the 2017 Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) conference in Spokane for his support, involvement, and contributions to the Rural Independent Living and Disability Rights Movement.
Honoring Tom Seekins
The following is reprinted from the 23rd APRIL conference program with permission.
Continue reading about Dr. Tom Seekins honored with Lifetime Achievement Award from American Public Health Association
“Dr. Tom Seekins was one of the very first people I met when I began my work with APRIL. I owe him a huge debt of gratitude. He, along with Dr. Devva Kasnitz and Linda Gonzales wrote our Rural Transportation Demonstration grant through the Department of Education which allowed APRIL to finally hire staff, i.e. me!! Tom is such a genuine and gentle soul. His soft-spoken manner and kind face represent home to many of us. He is not only a steadfast supporter of APRIL but a trusted and respected voice and scholar in the Rural Independent Living field and for People with Disabilities as a whole. His dedicated life’s work has helped us all understand the distribution of people with disabilities throughout our country and our communities and also highlights the continuing struggles that people with disabilities in Rural America deal with in trying to access services. His contributions are invaluable.
Tom Seekins is the kind of person you would want around in a crisis. He has a calming effect and a grounding energy that is so valuable and rare. It has been my sincere honor to have worked with him for 17 years. I am a better, more thoughtful person because of it.”
RTC:Rural staff recently traveled to Spokane, Washington, for the 23rd annual Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) conference.
“Attending APRIL gives us a chance to connect with the real people, both service providers and consumers, who work on the ground every day,” said RTC:Rural Research Associate Lillie Greiman. Those connections allow RTC:Rural staff to share, gather feedback and solicit input on our research and resources. Added Research Associate Andrew Myers, “The APRIL conference gives us the opportunity to hear about the lived experiences of people with disabilities in rural communities all across the county, and these stories can help inform our research and improve the work we do.”
Tools for Today and Tomorrow - Presentation
Researchers shared information about new and current RTC:Rural projects and products in a packed workshop called Asking Question Leads to Solutions: Tools for Today and Tomorrow, which highlighted some of the many RTC:Rural products and tools that have been developed as a result of our research. Presenters provided information about:
All of these resources can be found on the Rural Disability Resource Library website.Continue reading about Stakeholder Engagement Brings Value and Insight to Researchers at APRIL 2017