The newly funded project, Rural Community Living Development
(RCLD), is led by Rural Sociologist and Project Director Dr. Rayna Sage, and
Dr. Craig Ravesloot, Clinical Psychologist and Research Director for the
Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities (RTC:Rural).
The purpose of the Rural Community Living Development
project is to provide space and facilitate conversations among community
members to help them connect to resources and information they might not
otherwise have access to.
Using a combination of independent living philosophy, peer mentoring and community development approaches, research staff will work with Centers for Independent Living (CILs) to take collective action that leads to positive change for and with people with disabilities living in rural areas.
Harnessing the theme of this year’s conference, Project
Directors Dr. Rayna Sage and Lillie Greiman, Director of Knowledge Translation
Tracy Boehm Barrett, and Research Advisor Dr. Craig Ravesloot will give a
presentation titled, “Using Rural IL Power to Address the Needs of People with
Disabilities Living in Poverty.” In their presentation, they will discuss how
poverty affects Independent Living (IL), rural resources that Centers for
Independent Living (CILs) can leverage to help address poverty, and how
community development strategies can address poverty among people with
disabilities living in their community. Dr. Sage will also briefly describe a number
of new opportunities for CILs to get involved in RTC:Rural’s research and rural
community development projects to address local issues that affect IL services.
October is National Disability Employment
Awareness Month! RTC:Rural joins with many others to celebrate the
contributions of workers with disabilities. We are pleased to highlight the
work being done to support people with disabilities in rural communities as
they work towards achieving their employment goals.
Barriers to Rural Employment
For people with disabilities who live in rural areas, job
opportunities are limited. There are physical barriers, such as inaccessible
buildings and no accessible transportation, and also attitudinal barriers, such
as negative stereotypes and discrimination. These barriers often keep people
with disabilities from participating how they want in work, school, and
community life. These barriers also contribute to increased social and economic
inequality between people with and without disabilities.
Benefits of Employment
Employment has obvious economic benefits, but it also is
important because it helps people participate in their communities and increases
their overall well-being. Research shows that people with disabilities who are
employed report that they participate more in their communities. They also feel
more socially connected to other people.
RTC:Rural’s Disability in America State Profile
Map Series is well underway! We have maps for 17 states posted on
the website so far, and more are coming soon. In the next two months general
disability maps for every state (for example, Montana
and Puerto Rico
will be complete and available on the RTC:Rural website. Once the general
disability rate maps are completed, we will work to produce maps showing different
topics for each state. These include:
Disability rates among females and males
People with vision, cognitive, mobility, self-care, and Independent Living difficulties
Veterans with disabilities
People with disabilities in poverty
Employment, unemployment, and out of labor force rates among people with disabilities
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.