October 4, 2017

Exchanging Knowledge and Expertise: RTC:Rural to engage with stakeholders at APRIL conference

Logo for the 23rd APRIL conference. Indivisible with Liberty and Justice for All.

Spokane, here we come!

RTC:Rural is busy prepping for the 23rd annual Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) conference, which will be held October 20-23rd 2017, in Spokane, Washington. This year’s theme is “Indivisible with Liberty and Justice for All.”

As well as having two vendor tables inviting engagement with conference attendees, RTC:Rural staff will give two presentations. The first, “Social Media: Reaching Farther, Working Better” will be about using social media in telecommunication and to promote independent living skills, and the second, titled “Asking Questions Leads to Solutions: Tools for Today and Tomorrow” will be a workshop featuring RTC:Rural research that has led to tools and products.

Social Media: Reaching Farther, Working Better

In this presentation, RTC:Rural Research Associate Dr. Rayna Sage, Communications Associate Justice Ender, and undergraduate student researcher Megan Miller will share tips and tricks on how Centers for Independent Living (CILs) can utilize social media to enhance workflow, bridge main and branch offices, and reach the rural communities they serve. Ender and Miller will also share research and practical tips on how to use Facebook to share information and encourage discussion. Dr Sage will share insights from her one-on-one interviews with young adults in rural communities, and discuss how they are—or are not—using social media to connect around local events.

Asking Questions Leads to Solutions: Tools for Today and Tomorrow

This workshop will highlight some of the many RTC:Rural products and tools that have been developed as a result of our research. Presenters include Director of Knowledge Translation Tracy Boehm Barrett, Director of Employment Research Dr. Catherine Ipsen, Project Director Lillie Greiman, Training Associate Maggie Lawrence, Communications Associate Kerry Morse, and Knowledge Translation Associate Lauren Smith.

Many of the featured products are the result of participatory research and development projects that involve various stakeholders, including individuals with disabilities, CILs, service providers, and long-standing partners including APRIL.

Products and lines of research featured in the “Tools for Today and Tomorrow” workshop will include:

  • Tools for Advocacy
    • Disability in America Map Series
    • Disability Counts Data Finder
    • Advocacy Skill Building Toolkit
  • Tools for Employment
    • Telecom Toolbox
    • Vocational Rehabilitation Self-Employment Guide
  • Tools for Health and Independent Living
    • Living and Working Well with a Disability
    • Healthy Community Living
  • The new Rural Disability Resource Library, an online library of resources for people with disabilities in rural areas.

    Conference participants visit RTC Rural table

    Conference participants visit RTC Rural table at APRIL 2016 conference in Reno, NV

Conference attendees can also stop by the RTC:Rural vendor tables where we’ll be sharing information about the RTC products highlighted in our workshop, as well as on our other current research and ways consumers can get engaged and participate with RTC: Rural staff. We’ll have a fun interactive mapping activity—a way for people to get creative while telling us about their rural communities. We want to know how people participate in their communities—what they do, what they’d like to do, the barriers that keep them from doing these things and also the opportunities for inclusive community participation that can be shared with others.

By generating conversations around community participation, accessibility, and transportation, we hope to learn more about the realities of living in rural communities across the United States. We want to have conversations about real issues that can influence our research and product development to create real solutions.

Can’t make it to the conference? We’ll post more information about our presentations once we return!

See you in Spokane!