Category Archives: News

Using IPCD to create a tribal translation of the VR Self-Employment Guide

Screenshot of the Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Self-Employment Toolkit homepage
Screenshot of the Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Self-Employment Toolkit home page.

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.  

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RTC: Rural project sets out to explore what types of transportation people in rural areas use

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.

Screenshot of the Park Co. and UM Transportation Survey

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 Project Director.  

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UM undergrad wins Best Presentation Award for research with RTC:Rural director on loneliness and aging

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.

Nelson Weaver holds his award and stands next to Catherine Ipsen.
Nelson Weaver (left) and Catherine Ipsen (right).

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.”

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New Book Chapter Looks at How Rural Culture, Inclusion, and Community Events Impact People with Disabilities

Quote from 'Disability and Rural Events'- "Having moments to recognize others and to be recognized as a community resource helps keep people with disabilities visible and engaged."

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 connectedness.”

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RTC:Rural staff will share rural health care survey findings at NARRTC conference

On April 23, Dr. Meredith Repke, RTC:Rural Research Associate, will present findings from the Rural Access to Health Insurance and Health Care study, a partnership between RTC:Rural and the Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living (CHRIL), at the 2019 NARRTC conference. This year’s conference theme is “Inclusive Disability Research and Practice: Building on our History.” The study is being led by RTC:Rural Director Dr. Catherine Ipsen.    

RTC:Rural Research & Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities and the Collaborative on Health Reform and Indpendent Living (CHRIL) National Survey on Health Reform and Disability.

Repke is presenting as part of a panel of researchers on the project who are sharing different findings from the 2018 National Survey on Health Reform and Disability (NSHRD). CHRIL conducted the survey to understand how changes in health care reimbursement strategies affect working-age people with disabilities in terms of access to health insurance, as well as associated health care and quality of life outcomes. RTC:Rural researchers helped recruit people with disabilities from rural areas, and will use their data to answer some rural-specific questions.

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Improv in action: Alabama CIL uses RTC:Rural Advocacy Toolkit to teach youth

Disability rights & resources. The power of hope & freedom.

Disability Rights & Resources, a Center for Independent Living in Birmingham, Alabama, is using RTC:Rural’s Advocacy Skill Building Toolkit to introduce and teach advocacy skills to youth with disabilities by conducting workshops across Alabama. With assistance from a grant from the Alabama Council on Developmental Disabilities, Disability Rights & Resources was able to hire a Community Empowerment Specialist to organize the advocacy workshops.

“We learned about the toolkit from APRIL [the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living],” said Elizabeth Patton, Program Coordinator at Disability Rights & Resources. “Using improvisational skills seems like a fun and engaging way to build advocacy, especially in youth,” she said. “Looking over this toolkit, it was really nice to have everything we needed already summed up into one Facilitator Guide with accompanying Power Point presentations.”

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More to discover in the Rural Disability Resource Library

Looking for information on accessible transportation or housing? Or for strategies to help you talk about your disability in a job interview? Need some tips on how to find a personal care assistant, or on how to do your taxes?

For all those and more, check out the Rural Disability Resource Library. It contains fact sheets, how-to guides, information for conducting workshops, web resources, and much more!

Watch our video to learn more:

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RTC:Rural director shares rural employment research for Project E3 webinar

Screenshot of first slide in Ipsen's presentation. Project E3: Educate, Empower, and Employ. Strategies for Effective Rural VR Service Delivery.

On February 28, 2019, RTC:Rural director Dr. Catherine Ipsen presented a webinar for Project E3: Educate, Empower, and Employ, the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Technical Assistance Center for Targeted Communities. Project E3 works with state VR agencies and partners across the U.S. to help people with disabilities from underserved communities achieve their independent living and employment goals.  

Ipsen’s webinar was titled “Strategies for Effective Rural VR Service Delivery.” More information, including the webinar slides, can be found on the Project E3 website. The archived webcast will be available soon.

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The Return of Map Monday

#MapMonday over a background of colorful maps.Your favorite disability map series has returned!

RTC:Rural is excited to share that we’re relaunching #MapMonday, our weekly map series. Every Monday, we’ll share a new map on our social media channels. Follow RTC:Rural on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn so you don’t miss a map! (But don’t worry if you do miss one—they’re all available on our website).

In the coming weeks, we’ll share maps with overall disability rates, disability rates by difficulty and functional limitation (such as vision, hearing, mobility, and self-care difficulty), veterans, poverty, and employment rates.

Be on the lookout for the first map to post on Monday, March 25! Continue reading

NIDILRR Research Review showcases importance of federal data in disability research

National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation ResearchOn February 22, RTC:Rural Director Dr. Catherine Ipsen participated in the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR)’s Administrative Data and Employment Research Review.

“The purpose of the Research Review was to showcase research projects that harness administrative data to improve services for people with disabilities,” Ipsen said. “In addition to representatives from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), Social Security Administration (SSA), and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), several researchers described projects that used administrative data to answer and inform research questions.” Continue reading