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.


    Webinar: Strengthening Public Health Workforce Competencies in a Rural State

    Professional headshot of Dr. Adriane Griffen

    Dr. Adriane Griffen, Senior Director, Public Health & Leadership, Association of University Centers on Disabilities.

    Update: this webinar was recorded and you can view the archived video here.

    Join us on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 for a webinar for public health and disability service providers about including people with disabilities in public health plans and efforts. The webinar, entitled Including People with Disabilities—Public Health Workforce Competencies, will be presented by Dr. Adriane Griffen, Senior Director, Public Health & Leadership, at the Association of University Centers on Disability. This webinar is hosted by The Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities and Dr. Meg Ann Traci, RTC:Rural colleague and Director of the Montana Disability and Health Program (MTDH).

    Dr. Griffen will provide an overview of the competencies and linkages to public health accreditation and information on local and national resources to help public health organizations strengthen their workforce and better include people with disabilities. The webinar will also provide a forum for participants to discuss current resources and strategies being used by others in the field.

    The webinar is a Montana-specific version of a previous workforce competencies webinar Dr. Griffen participated in on January 24, 2017. RTC:Rural is pleased to support this webinar as a way to share knowledge between national, state, and local public health professionals and disability service providers about including people with disabilities in public health plans in a rural state like Montana.

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    Exchanging Knowledge and Expertise: RTC:Rural to engage with stakeholders at APRIL conference

    Logo for the 23rd APRIL conference. Indivisible with Liberty and Justice for All.

    Spokane, here we come!

    RTC:Rural is busy prepping for the 23rd annual Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) conference, which will be held October 20-23rd 2017, in Spokane, Washington. This year’s theme is “Indivisible with Liberty and Justice for All.”

    As well as having two vendor tables inviting engagement with conference attendees, RTC:Rural staff will give two presentations. The first, “Social Media: Reaching Farther, Working Better” will be about using social media in telecommunication and to promote independent living skills, and the second, titled “Asking Questions Leads to Solutions: Tools for Today and Tomorrow” will be a workshop featuring RTC:Rural research that has led to tools and products.

    Social Media: Reaching Farther, Working Better

    In this presentation, RTC:Rural Research Associate Dr. Rayna Sage, Communications Associate Justice Ender, and undergraduate student researcher Megan Miller will share tips and tricks on how Centers for Independent Living (CILs) can utilize social media to enhance workflow, bridge main and branch offices, and reach the rural communities they serve. Ender and Miller will also share research and practical tips on how to use Facebook to share information and encourage discussion. Dr Sage will share insights from her one-on-one interviews with young adults in rural communities, and discuss how they are—or are not—using social media to connect around local events.

    Asking Questions Leads to Solutions: Tools for Today and Tomorrow

    This workshop will highlight some of the many RTC:Rural products and tools that have been developed as a result of our research. Presenters include Director of Knowledge Translation Tracy Boehm Barrett, Director of Employment Research Dr. Catherine Ipsen, Project Director Lillie Greiman, Training Associate Maggie Lawrence, Communications Associate Kerry Morse, and Knowledge Translation Associate Lauren Smith.

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What does RTC: Rural do?

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