RTC:Rural is wrapping up the fall conference season, which began Oct. 20-23rd in Spokane, WA at the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) conference. Since then, RTC:Rural researchers have represented rural disability at five other conferences around the country. Below are some of our take-aways, and we also shared some photos on Facebook!
Montana Healthy Communities
Dr. Catherine Ipsen, Director of Employment Research; Dr. Meg Ann Traci, Montana Disability and Health Program (MTDH) Project Director; Dr. Rayna Sage, Research Associate; Lillie Greiman, Research Associate; and Andrew Myers, Research Associate, attended the Montana Healthy Communities conference, which was held November 1-2 in Helena, Montana. The conference brought together community development and health leaders from across the state to explore the future of community health improvement.
“A lot can be achieved working at the local level, particularly in rural communities,” said Lillie Greiman. “At the local level, rural communities understand the role of the environment in health, and engaging with others who live and work in rural helps us better understand both the similarities and uniqueness of rural communities across the country.”
American Public Health Association
Dr. Meg Traci, MTDH Program Director, Helen Russette, MTDH Program Coordinator, and Dr. Rayna Sage, Research Associate, attended the American Public Health Association (APHA) Annual Meeting & Expo, which was held November 4-8 in Atlanta, Georgia.
A variety of RTC:Rural research was presented at the conference including:
- The role of family and non-family support
- Promoting a whole community approach to emergency planning; outcomes of the Smart911 program
- Smoke and Vulnerable Populations: Toward a Conceptual Model
- Including people with disabilities in the development of a community-wide wayfinding system communication plan
- Setting a family-centered systems improvement agenda with families and youth with special health care needs: Applications of the concerns report method in a rural state
Also at the conference, Dr. Tom Seekins, RTC:Rural Co-Director, was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award, which Dr. Traci accepted on his behalf.
Association of University Centers on Disabilities
Tracy Boehm Barrett, Director of Knowledge Translation, attended the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) conference, which was held November 5-8 in Washington, D.C. “It was beneficial to meet with others in the network to share what RTC:Rural and The Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities are doing to address issues of importance for individuals living with disability in rural America.
From a knowledge translation perspective, the event highlighted the opportunity for reciprocal learning and collaboration to work towards the common mission to positively impact the lives of people with disabilities across the nation, and not forget those who live in the more rural and remote places.” Representatives from the Administration on Community Living, Department of Labor, FEMA, and Department of Education also fielded questions and provided insight on priority issues from attendees, highlighting the continued need for research and development.
Also at AUCD Martin Blair, Executive Director of the Rural Institute, shared experiences from his recent exchange trip to Kenya through the Americans with Disabilities Act International Fellowship Program where he worked to help implement early intervention to young children with multisensory impairments.
Montana Youth Transitions
Dr. Rayna Sage, Research Associate, attended the Montana Youth Transitions (MYT) annual conference, which was held November 13-15 in Billings, Montana. MYT aims to improve transition services and to increase the number of youth with disabilities who achieve their goals after they finish school. While there, she gave a presentation titled “Increasing engagement through inclusive rural community events.” “There are many families with youth who are unsure about their next steps,” Dr. Sage said. “They don’t know about the services that are available to address their needs, and many don’t have good access to those resources.”
Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation
Dr. Catherine Ipsen, Director of Employment Research, attended the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) conference, which was held November 13-15 in Greenville, South Carolina. While there, she shared one of RTC:Rural’s current employment projects, the Vocational Rehabilitation Self-Employment Guide. “There was a lot of enthusiasm and support for the self-employment curriculum!” Dr. Ipsen noted. She made contacts with VR professionals who are interested in piloting the guide.
RTC:Rural is thankful for all of these opportunities to exchange knowledge and experiences with our partners, stakeholders, and others in our field.