In the paper, Repke and Ipsen analyze survey data from the
Reform and Disability Survey to explore how a number of factors are related
to social participation and perceived isolation for people with disabilities,
and to see if there are differences for those who live in rural vs urban areas.
These factors include number of disabilities, self-rated health, employment
status, and living arrangements (alone or with others).
Previous studies have compared social isolation to smoking
in terms of risk to public health. Some groups of people have a much higher
risk of social isolation, including people with disabilities and rural
residents. This research builds on previous work by considering how the
potentially compounding effects of disability status and living in a rural area
may affect social participation and perceived isolation.
The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care
Act (ACA) and adoption of Medicaid expansion was associated with substantial
increases in insurance coverage across the United States (see Changes
in coverage and access, MACPAC 2019). However, RTC:Rural
researchers wanted to know how ACA policy changes and Medicaid expansion impacted
people with disabilities, particularly those who live in rural areas.
To explore this question, RTC:Rural researchers analyzed
microdata from the 2008-2013 American Community Survey
Using these data, they were able to compare how insurance coverage has changed
over time for people with and without disabilities in rural and urban places,
and in expansion and non-expansion states.
Understanding the needs of a
community is imperative in order to effectively plan for natural disaster
emergency response. As Hurricane Dorian heads toward the Florida coast,
national, state and local community emergency planners are working to evacuate
and shelter thousands of people who are fleeing their homes.
People with disabilities are one of
many vulnerable groups especially at risk during natural disasters. In times of
emergency, people will evacuate with their households, and will need to shelter
with their households. It is not acceptable to separate families and households
in times of crisis. Many family
members are caregivers, so shelters need to be accessible so
that people with disabilities and their families and caregivers can stay
Nearly 30 years after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act people with disabilities still report transportation as a significant barrier to employment, health care, and community participation. This is especially true in rural communities where public transit may be inaccessible, unaffordable, inappropriate, or not available. While many unique solutions exist, there is a lack of evidence about how people use them and how they impact the health and well-being of people with disabilities.
To address this lack of knowledge, RTC:Rural is conducting
research about rural transportation options in rural communities across
This September, nineteen higher education professionals from
five different Egyptian public universities and officials from the Egyptian
Ministry of Education will travel to Missoula to learn about how to ensure
equal access to higher education for students with disabilities. The study tour
is being hosted by the University of Montana’s Dr. Kaitlin Fertaly, RTC:Rural
Research Associate, Dr. Anna-Margaret Goldman, Director of MonTECH,
Amy Capolupo, Disability
Services for Students Director, and the University of Colorado Boulder (CU).
Participants start their tour at the University of Montana
in Missoula, MT, and then will travel to the University of Colorado, Boulder. They
will also visit two community colleges, Flathead Valley Community College in
Kalispell, MT and Aims
Community College in Greeley, CO.
“During their 10 days in the U.S., Egyptian university staff and leaders will learn how the University of Montana and the University of Colorado structure and administer their Disability Support Services program,” said Fertaly. “The goal is for participants to be better equipped with knowledge about university policies that promote inclusion and strategies for overcoming barriers to access.”
Approximately 10 million
people with disabilities receive paid personal assistance services (PAS) in the
United States. For many, these services are critical for social and community
participation. However, little is known about rural-urban differences in PAS
delivery and consumption, and how these services influence community
participation and health.
To address this lack of understanding, RTC:Rural is conducting research on PAS in rural America.
Last week, RTC:Rural was in Connecticut for the Consortia of
Administrators for Native American Rehabilitation (CANAR) 2019
mid-year conference held in Mashantucket, CT. RTC:Rural Director Dr. Catherine
Ipsen, Research Associate Dr. Meredith Repke, and Knowledge Translation
Associate Lauren Smith met with advisor partners and presented the progress to
date on the Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Self-Employment Toolkit.
CANAR meetings bring together representatives from tribal VR
programs across the country two times each year. “The meetings provide an
important opportunity to share our work and gather additional stakeholder input
about efforts to translate our self-employment materials for tribal VR
programs,” said Ipsen.
The Rural Transportation Options project, which will help
build a more complete understanding of how rural people with disabilities use
public and other forms of accessible transportation, is getting ready to begin
a pilot survey. Paper surveys will be available on public buses in Park County,
Montana later this year. There are also options to take the survey online, or
to call in and take it over the phone.
The survey includes questions about what type of
transportation the participant is using for the current trip, the purpose of
their trip, if the trip was scheduled ahead of time, and types of
transportation used in the last 30 days.
“This brief ridership survey will help us: 1) understand how
people use public transit in Park County, MT and 2) shape our survey materials
and procedures for dissemination nationwide,” said Andrew Myers, RTC:Rural
Over the past semester, RTC:Rural Director Dr. Catherine Ipsen worked with University of Montana (UM) undergraduate Nelson Weaver on his senior capstone project about the effects of loneliness on the aging population. Weaver’s poster presentation won a best presentation award at UM’s Conference of Undergraduate Research. He graduated in May 2018 with a major in psychology and a minor in communication studies.
Weaver contacted Ipsen about his interest in psychology and well-being of those experiencing mental and physical impairments and asked about possible capstone research opportunities. “This inquiry came at the perfect time,” said Ipsen. “I was juggling lots of projects, but wanted to make headway on a grant proposal idea focused on aging and health impacts of loneliness. Nelson was the perfect fit.”
Dr. Rayna Sage, RTC:Rural Project Director, and Erin Flores,
a former sociology undergraduate researcher at the University of Montana who
graduated in 2018, recently co-authored a book chapter on the accessibility of
rural community events. The chapter, titled “Disability and rural events: The cultural reproduction of inclusion and
exclusion” is in Marginalisation and Events, which
was published in January 2019 by Routledge.
“Rural community events are a time when community members
are able to see how they are part of something bigger than their own individual
experience,” said Sage. “Seeing friends and family and participating in
activities that promote community identity helps sustain community and