Tag Archives: community participation

RTC:Rural researchers publish paper on rural/urban differences in social connectedness and perceived isolation for people with disabilities

Dr. Meredith Repke, RTC:Rural Research Associate, and Dr. Catherine Ipsen, RTC:Rural Director, recently published a paper in the Disability and Health Journal titled “Differences in social connectedness and perceived isolation among rural and urban adults with disabilities.”

Screenshot of the first page of journal article titled "Differences in social connectedness and perceived isolation among rural and urban adults with disabilities"

In the paper, Repke and Ipsen analyze survey data from the nation-wide Health Reform and Disability Survey to explore how a number of factors are related to social participation and perceived isolation for people with disabilities, and to see if there are differences for those who live in rural vs urban areas. These factors include number of disabilities, self-rated health, employment status, and living arrangements (alone or with others).

Previous studies have compared social isolation to smoking in terms of risk to public health. Some groups of people have a much higher risk of social isolation, including people with disabilities and rural residents. This research builds on previous work by considering how the potentially compounding effects of disability status and living in a rural area may affect social participation and perceived isolation.  

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Research Snapshot: PAS in Rural America

Rayna Sage at a rodeo with mountains in the background
Dr. Rayna Sage.

Approximately 10 million people with disabilities receive paid personal assistance services (PAS) in the United States. For many, these services are critical for social and community participation. However, little is known about rural-urban differences in PAS delivery and consumption, and how these services influence community participation and health.

To address this lack of understanding, RTC:Rural is conducting research on PAS in rural America.

Dr. Rayna Sage, RTC:Rural Project Director, explains the project and its goals, and gives a quick progress update.

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RTC: Rural project sets out to explore what types of transportation people in rural areas use

The Rural Transportation Options project, which will help build a more complete understanding of how rural people with disabilities use public and other forms of accessible transportation, is getting ready to begin a pilot survey. Paper surveys will be available on public buses in Park County, Montana later this year. There are also options to take the survey online, or to call in and take it over the phone.

Screenshot of the Park Co. and UM Transportation Survey

The survey includes questions about what type of transportation the participant is using for the current trip, the purpose of their trip, if the trip was scheduled ahead of time, and types of transportation used in the last 30 days.

“This brief ridership survey will help us: 1) understand how people use public transit in Park County, MT and 2) shape our survey materials and procedures for dissemination nationwide,” said Andrew Myers, RTC:Rural Project Director.  

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UM undergrad wins Best Presentation Award for research with RTC:Rural director on loneliness and aging

Over the past semester, RTC:Rural Director Dr. Catherine Ipsen worked with University of Montana (UM) undergraduate Nelson Weaver on his senior capstone project about the effects of loneliness on the aging population. Weaver’s poster presentation won a best presentation award at UM’s Conference of Undergraduate Research. He graduated in May 2018 with a major in psychology and a minor in communication studies.

Nelson Weaver holds his award and stands next to Catherine Ipsen.
Nelson Weaver (left) and Catherine Ipsen (right).

Weaver contacted Ipsen about his interest in psychology and well-being of those experiencing mental and physical impairments and asked about possible capstone research opportunities. “This inquiry came at the perfect time,” said Ipsen. “I was juggling lots of projects, but wanted to make headway on a grant proposal idea focused on aging and health impacts of loneliness. Nelson was the perfect fit.”

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New Book Chapter Looks at How Rural Culture, Inclusion, and Community Events Impact People with Disabilities

Quote from 'Disability and Rural Events'- "Having moments to recognize others and to be recognized as a community resource helps keep people with disabilities visible and engaged."

Dr. Rayna Sage, RTC:Rural Project Director, and Erin Flores, a former sociology undergraduate researcher at the University of Montana who graduated in 2018, recently co-authored a book chapter on the accessibility of rural community events. The chapter, titled “Disability and rural events: The cultural reproduction of inclusion and exclusion” is in Marginalisation and Events, which was published in January 2019 by Routledge.

“Rural community events are a time when community members are able to see how they are part of something bigger than their own individual experience,” said Sage. “Seeing friends and family and participating in activities that promote community identity helps sustain community and connectedness.”

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RTC:Rural staff will share rural health care survey findings at NARRTC conference

On April 23, Dr. Meredith Repke, RTC:Rural Research Associate, will present findings from the Rural Access to Health Insurance and Health Care study, a partnership between RTC:Rural and the Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living (CHRIL), at the 2019 NARRTC conference. This year’s conference theme is “Inclusive Disability Research and Practice: Building on our History.” The study is being led by RTC:Rural Director Dr. Catherine Ipsen.    

RTC:Rural Research & Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities and the Collaborative on Health Reform and Indpendent Living (CHRIL) National Survey on Health Reform and Disability.

Repke is presenting as part of a panel of researchers on the project who are sharing different findings from the 2018 National Survey on Health Reform and Disability (NSHRD). CHRIL conducted the survey to understand how changes in health care reimbursement strategies affect working-age people with disabilities in terms of access to health insurance, as well as associated health care and quality of life outcomes. RTC:Rural researchers helped recruit people with disabilities from rural areas, and will use their data to answer some rural-specific questions.

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More to discover in the Rural Disability Resource Library

Looking for information on accessible transportation or housing? Or for strategies to help you talk about your disability in a job interview? Need some tips on how to find a personal care assistant, or on how to do your taxes?

For all those and more, check out the Rural Disability Resource Library. It contains fact sheets, how-to guides, information for conducting workshops, web resources, and much more!

Watch our video to learn more:

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RTC:Rural presents at APHA annual conference on health equity

APHA 2018 Annual Meeting & Expo. San Diego, Nov. 10-14. Creating the Healthiest Nation: Health Equity NowRTC:Rural researchers recently traveled to San Diego, CA for the American Public Health Association (APHA) annual meeting. The conference was from November 10 to 14, and theme was “Creating the Healthiest Nation: Health Equity Now.

In attendance were RTC:Rural Director Dr. Catherine Ipsen, Director and Research Advisor Dr. Craig Ravesloot, Knowledge Broker Dr. Meg Ann Traci, and Project Directors Dr. Rayna Sage and Andrew Myers attended. Dr. Traci, Dr. Sage, and Myers gave a combined six presentations on Rural Institute and RTC:Rural research. Continue reading

RTC:Rural travels to Denver for annual APRIL conference

APRIL 2018 conference logo: Roots of Change Grow a Mile High. Denver, Colorado, October 5-8, 2018. RTC:Rural heads to Denver, Colorado this October for the annual Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) conference. The conference will be October 5 – 8, and the theme is “Roots of Change Grow a Mile High.”

As well as sharing information and resources at vendor tables, RTC:Rural staff will meet with national partners, share research updates, and gather input that will help shape future research projects. We have a long-standing partnership with APRIL, and are looking forward to coming together to continue to support people with disabilities so they can participate in their rural communities. Continue reading

RTC:Rural Housing Research Brief explores how housing impacts participation

Screen shot of the cover of the research brief "Life starts at home: exploring how housing impacts participation for people with disabilities."

RTC:Rural recently published a new Research Brief that shares current housing research.

To view and download the Research Brief, click here: Life starts at home: Exploring how housing impacts participation for people with disabilities


 

Housing and Community Participation

How a space is organized shapes how you use that space. There have been many studies on how the built environment, which includes everything from roads and sidewalks to buildings and parking lots, impacts how people move through and engage with their community. We know that physical barriers in the community, such as stairs, curbs, narrow building entrances, broken sidewalks, and long travel routes can prevent people with mobility impairments from accessing community spaces and limits their ability to move around their community independently.

By removing these barriers, people with disabilities have more opportunities to do things like buy groceries, attend school, be employed, go to the doctor, and socialize or recreate as they wish. Fewer barriers in the environment can mean more opportunities for community participation. Continue reading