In April 2017, RTC:Rural researchers presented three current research projects at the 2017 NARRTC conference, held this year in Alexandria, Virginia.
This conference provides an annual opportunity for grantees of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) to come together and share their latest research findings. Training and knowledge translation methodologies and results are also shared. The 2017 theme is “Taking Charge of Change.”
Projects presented aim to enhance interventions, programs or systems to improve the lives of people with disabilities. These research projects fall into the priority categories of Community Participation & Independent Living, Employment & Vocational Rehabilitation, Health & Wellness, and Knowledge Translation.
RTC:Rural was on the agenda with two presentations and one poster:
1. Using Participatory Curriculum Development as an Integrated Knowledge Translation Strategy (Presentation)
Authors: Dr. Craig Ravesloot, Ph.D., Tracy Boehm Barrett, M.P.H., Tannis Hargrove, M.S., Mary Olson, MSW
Self-management and health promotion remain a significant challenge for people with disabilities living in rural areas. Online learning is a promising avenue to make evidence-based programs available to people, yet the best approaches to implementing online content for rural people with disabilities are unknown.
To establish these best approaches, RTC:Rural is partnering with stakeholders from the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) and eight Centers for Independent Living across the country to develop two health promotion programs that blend online and face-to-face learning. These programs are based on the Living Well with a Disability program.
This presentation shared the Integrated Knowledge Translation methods used to create the two programs, how to create effective program development teams across eight states, and outcomes and lessons learned during the first year of Participatory Curriculum Development strategy implementation, including examples of processes to engage end consumers and collect content derived from project partners.
For more information on this research, see RTC:Rural’s Motivation for Self-Management project page.
2. Social Media Use in VR Practice (Presentation)
Authors: Dr. Catherine Ipsen, Ph.D., and Rebecca Goe, M.A.
Given Vocational Rehabilitation’s (VR’s) substantial role in workforce development, one might expect counselors to encourage and support clients in using the most current job seeking methods, including social media. Recent data, however, show that online strategies are limited in VR practice, and that many agencies lack comprehensive policies to guide social media.
This presentation shared findings from two studies focused on social media use within VR. The first study was a qualitative analysis of 22 VR social media policies and procedures to arrive at recommendations for policy development. The second study was a randomized controlled trial of a social media training intervention. Results from both studies led us to conclude that supportive social media policies and procedures, along with ongoing staff training, are necessary to improve the use of social media job search strategies within VR.
For more information, see RTC:Rural’s Use of Social Media for Employment project page.
3. What is Rural Resilience? (Poster)
Authors: Dr. Jean Ann Summers, Ph.D., Dr. Dot E. Nary, Ph.D., Heather Lassmann, MSW, Lauren Smith, M.S.
The Resilience Study aims to understand why some people with mobility issues have achieved a good quality of life and are able to participate in their communities despite barriers they encounter. Through this study and its larger encompassing project, we seek to understand how personal and environmental factors influence community participation for people with disabilities in rural areas. This poster reports the results of The Resilience Study, a qualitative study to identify the characteristics and supports of resilient people with mobility disabilities who are living in rural communities.
The research included focus groups that included 22 participants who have mobility disabilities and who were identified by a rural Center for Independent Living specialist as being “resilient.” The participants were asked how and why they had been able to participate effectively in the community despite the barriers they experienced. Results are shown in terms of the supports the participants received, as well as the coping skills and strategies they used to help them be successful.
The Resilience Study is a collaboration with the University of Kansas Research and Training Center on Independent Living.
For more information, see The Resilience Study: Exploring Resilience in Adults with Physical Disabilities in Rural Communities Research Findings page.
Click here to view the poster and read more details. It is also available for printing by contacting us.
For more information about the conference, including agendas of past events, see the NARRTC Conference webpage.
RTC:Rural is funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) grant #90RT50250100.