March 15, 2018

RTC:Rural researchers to present at annual NARRTC conference

RTC:Rural researchers are headed to Arlington, VA later this month to present at the 40th annual National Association of Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (NARRTC) conference.

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. This year’s conference theme is “Shaping the Future.”

RTC:Rural researchers will share their research in four presentations on the first day of the two-day conference.

Rayna Sage at a rodeo with mountains in the backgroundFirst, Dr. Rayna Sage will present “Rural community events: Enhancing social capital for people with disabilities.” By interviewing attendees at rural events, including rodeos, powwows, and county fairs, as well as conducting focus groups and one-on-one interviews with young adults from rural places, Dr. Sage explored connections between social participation, social capital, and rural events. She will share results that indicate specific access problems as well as the benefits of attending these rural events.

For more information on this line of research, see the Participation in Rural Events among Young Adults with Disabilities project page on the RTC:Rural website.  

Then, in the afternoon, Dr. Craig Ravesloot, Lillie Greiman, and Andrew Myers will present their research in two concurrent sessions.

Lillie Greiman speaking at a conferenceLillie Greiman will present “Access to Independent Living Services for People with Disabilities across the United States: An Exploratory Network Analysis.” Greiman and the Geography research team mapped the locations of Centers for Independent Living (CIL) across the United States, and then created a network analysis based on major roads, creating distance bands with CIL office locations as the points of origin. Then, she used American Community Survey data to explore the demographics of households both within and outside of these distance bands. Her presentation will share maps that demonstrate the geography of CIL service access and explore the policy implications for serving rural communities.

For more information on RTC:Rural’s geography research, see the Geography and Rural Disability project page on the RTC:Rural website.

Dr. Craig Ravesloot will present “Rural Person-Environment Fit and Satisfaction with Community Participation.” Dr. Ravesloot and his team used Ecological Momentary Assessment and geo-fencing to collect daily mini-surveys as people were participating in their rural communities to examine the relationship between supports, accessibility, and quality of participation. Among other results, they found that the more people report having the ability to meet the demands of participating in the community, the more satisfied they are with community participation. Further, community supports mitigate this relationship more than their functional capacity to participate. Dr. Ravesloot will discuss how community supports that meet people’s needs for rural community participation may increase the quality of their community participation.

For more information on this line of research, see the Person-Environment Fit project pages on the RTC:Rural website.

Andrew Myers talking and gesturingFinally, Andrew Myers will present “Enduring and Transitory Disability among Urban and Rural People.” The disability question set on the American Community Survey serve as the national standard for measuring disability rates across all U.S. Department of Health and Human Services surveys. These questions are assumed to identify people who experience a long-term, or enduring, disability. However, Myers and his fellow researchers found that not all survey respondents respond consistently to these questions, which indicates that not all disability is enduring. In examining the demographic differences among people who report disability consistently and inconsistently in these surveys, Myers and his team found that people who report enduring disability are more likely to be older, female, and out of the labor force compared to those who report transitory disability. As well, they found that rural residents report both enduring and transitory disability rates similar to urban residents who are 10 years older, indicating that there is a rural disability penalty. This rural disability penalty is greater for people of color. Myers will share these and other results, and discuss both research and social policy implications of these findings.

For more information, see “RTC:Rural study finds longstanding interpretation of disability data incomplete,” which links to a recent RTC:Rural publication in the American Journal of Public Health titled “Disability Items from the Current Population Survey (2008-2015) and Permanent Versus Temporary Disability Status.”

For more information about the NARRTC 2018 conferences, see the NARRTC conference webpage.

Hope to see you in Virginia!