Category Archives: News

Working Well with a Disability workshop added to Healthy Community Living

We are pleased to announce that Working Well with a Disability has been added to the Healthy Community Living (HCL) program! Both the consumer workshop and the facilitator training are now part of HCL.

What is Working Well with a Disability?

Working Well with a Disability logo

Working Well with a Disability is a seven-week workshop within the HCL program for people who want to develop a healthy lifestyle to help get and keep a job that meets their needs.
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Rural PAS project looking for people to interview in AZ and WI

Are you a rural person with a disability who receives personal assistance services in your home?

We want to hear your story!

 

Outline of WI filled with pictures of people with disabilities feeding cows, shoveling snow, and of rocks/moss and a lake with a city skyline.Outline of AZ filled with pictures of people with disabilities, cactus in small pots, and sand.We are currently conducting a study on rural personal assistance services, and are looking for people in Arizona and Wisconsin to be interviewed over the phone or via video chat.

We want to learn about:

  • your disability
  • the types of personal assistance services you receive
  • what your workers are like
  • how you train them
  • about your general community and health experiences

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Healthy Community Living Program Adapts to the World of Online Service Delivery

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused interruptions and barriers to service delivery for people with disabilities around the country.  When Centers for Independent Living (CILs) offices closed, it affected their ability to offer their usual in-person services, including skills-based trainings and classes.

Healthy Community Living logo - orange circles grey people

Staff from RTC:Rural learned first-hand how the pandemic was affecting CILs’ delivery of such classes. Healthy Community Living (HCL), a health promotion and independent living skills program developed by RTC:Rural staff and disability stakeholders, was designed for in-person delivery. With several partnering CILs actively conducting in-person HCL workshops with consumers when the pandemic hit, it triggered a need for discussions, collaboration, and problem solving to adapt the program’s delivery under vastly new conditions.

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Rural Community Living Development CIL Partners Share Thoughts on Ongoing Project and Peer-Mentoring Curriculum

The Rural Community Living Development (RCLD) project is a knowledge translation grant funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). RTC:Rural staff have partnered with the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) to develop and implement a peer-mentoring training with and for Centers for Independent Living (CILs) that will prepare CIL staff to work on community development activities in rural areas. This training will help CIL staff to identify community needs and develop sustainable groups to solve community challenges. The project’s aim is to help CILs across the country connect with community partners to better serve people in rural communities.

Rural Community Living Development

In October 2020, RTC:Rural Project Director Rayna Sage presented on RCLD progress-to-date to attendees of the 2020 APRIL Conference as part of a talk on “Strategies for Rural Outreach and Networking,” where she explained how the project shifted due to the current pandemic.

“We planned on being in a community, actually in a number of communities, to use community development strategies like coalition building and partnering with diverse groups to address issues around community living for people with disabilities – but COVID – so we shifted gears,” Sage said. “So we shifted gears to bring together a team, a development team, from across the U.S. to build this Peer-to-Peer Mentoring curriculum.”

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Upcoming Advocacy and Improv discussion shares RTC:Rural toolkit

allprov in black letters over a purple circle with a lime green outline.

Interested in learning more about helping people with disabilities build advocacy skills? Join a discussion hosted by AllProv, Inc., on Saturday December 12 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. MST. For more information and to sign up for the event, see: Improv and Advocacy Discussion.

RTC:Rural’s Advocacy Skill Building Toolkit will be shared as a resource during this discussion. 


Where: Online (Zoom)

When: Saturday, December 12, 2020, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. MST

Register here: Improv and Advocacy Discussion

This event is free and open to all.


To learn more we emailed with Erin Rafaels, the Board President of AllProv, Inc., the non-profit organization hosting this discussion. 

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RTC:Rural paper on health status and disability receives NARRTC Best Paper Award

RTC:Rural researchers Andrew Myers, Bryce Ward, and Craig Ravesloot, along with former RTC:Rural researcher Jennifer Wong, were awarded the 2020 NARRTC Best Paper Award for their Social Science & Medicine article “Health status changes with transitory disability over time.”

NARRTC over a blue wavy line

“It is a real honor to be recognized by such an esteemed group of researchers,” said Andrew Myers, RTC:Rural Project Director and lead author on the paper.

NARRTC presents the award annually to showcase the work of National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) grantees. Winners are announced during the awards ceremony at the annual NARRTC conference, which was held online this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

The winning paper builds upon previous RTC:Rural research by examining how changes in self-reported disability status are related to changes in self-reported health status. (See “RTC:Rural researchers publish paper on health status and transitory disability” for a summary of the paper). It was published in the January 2020 issue of Social Science & Medicine, and was available online in October 2019.

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New fact sheet: Unemployment among people with disabilities during COVID-19

Temporary employment may be becoming permanent

cover of fact sheet: unemployment among people with disabilities during COVID-19 recession. Link to full fact sheet in post.

People with disabilities are often the first to experience economic disruptions, and among the last to recover. Unemployment among people with disabilities spiked to 18.9% in April 2020 and declined to 12.5% in September. Both the initial increase and recent decrease in unemployment was primarily driven by changes in temporary unemployment (unemployed workers who expect to go back to their same job within six months). While temporary unemployment has gone down, permanent unemployment has risen since the recession began, and may indicate that for some, temporary unemployment is becoming permanent.

As the recession wears on and unemployment benefits begin to expire, long-term recovery to pre-pandemic levels may become elusive, yet again leaving people with disabilities behind.

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America at a glance: Early fears realized as COVID-19 surges in rural counties

COVID-19 has arrived in rural America. Indeed, the worst outbreaks in October 2020 were in counties with populations less than 50,0001. We knew it was coming2, and yet communities are unprepared to face the significant challenges of caring for COVID-19 patients.

US map showing difference between estimated need for COVID-19 ICU beds and beds available across US counties.
Map of the U.S. showing the difference between expected need for ICU beds and local availability by county. Larger map and text description below.

Risks and impacts of COVID-19 are not distributed evenly. This is especially true for people with disabilities and rural residents who face significant challenges to accessing healthcare. For COVID-19, risk increases with advanced age (aged 65 and older), congregate living such as nursing homes and long-term care facilities, and for individuals with several health conditions including asthma, diabetes, blood disorders, serious heart conditions, severe obesity, and for those who are immunocompromised3. Many of these conditions are reported at higher rates among the population of people with disabilities, placing them at higher risk of COVID-19 related complications4.

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Another successful APRIL conference in the books!

2020 APRIL Conference logo- a computer with text above and below. "2020 APRIL Conference. 2020 and beyond: Building the Next Generation of IL. Virtual conference... real world change.

A huge THANK YOU to everyone at the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) for another wonderful conference. Even though we couldn’t be together in person this year, everyone here at RTC:Rural appreciated that we were still able to connect and come together as a community. Thank you to everyone who participated in the conference!

For those with conference logins, recordings of the presentations can be found on the 2020 APRIL Conference website, on the Agenda page.

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Resources for voters with disabilities

icon of the White House

The U.S. Presidential election will be held on November 3, 2020. While many people have had the opportunity to vote early or by mail or absentee ballots, some may be waiting to vote in person on Election Day.

Here are some resources for voters with disabilities to help learn about and navigate voting, advocacy, and other public policy issues.


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