Tag Archives: research

Resilience Study poster sparks conversations at 2017 NARRTC conference

Two people discussing poster at conference

Dr. Jean Ann Summers presents the Resilience Poster to another researcher at the NARRTC annual meeting, April 2017

RTC:Rural researchers recently returned from the 2017 National Association of Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (NARRTC) conference in Alexandria, Virginia, where the latest research findings on three RTC:Rural projects were presented. These included two presentations as well as a poster displaying the preliminary results of The Resilience Study, a collaboration between RTC:Rural and the University of Kansas Research and Training Center on Independent Living.

See the poster and a full text description below.

The poster session prompted conversations about how to develop interventions to foster various resilient characteristics, said the study’s lead author Dr. Jean Ann Summers, Director of Research at the Research and Training Center on Independent Living at the University of Kansas.

The poster, “How People with Disabilities Thrive in Rural Communities” presented results of Phase I of the Resilience Study. In collaboration with staff at Centers for Independent Living (CILs), researchers identified people with physical disabilities who were considered “resilient.” About 40 people attended focus groups and discussed what enabled them to live successfully as persons with disabilities in rural communities.

Instead of following the more traditional scientific poster format, the researchers decided to present their results using a schematic diagram of a tree. Continue reading

RTC:Rural developing self-employment training module for VR counselors and consumers

RTC:Rural and our partners have been working for a number of years to promote self-employment among people with disabilities in the vocational rehabilitation system, as it is an option that addresses some of the barriers to employment of living in a rural community.

Starting in 2015, in partnership with the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation (USOR) and other stakeholders, RTC:Rural researchers developed a self-employment manual, along with policies and procedures to help Utah vocational rehabilitation (VR) counselors become better prepared to guide consumers through the self-employment process.

RTC:Rural is currently working to adapt the USOR manual into an online module, incorporating direct feedback from stakeholders to make the material more applicable and accessible to a wider audience, including consumers themselves. Dr. Catherine Ipsen, Associate Director for the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities and the Director of Employment Research at RTC:Rural, is leading the project.

Previous research by RTC:Rural has shown that self-employment is a viable option for many people with disabilities, but is an underutilized option within the VR system. Reasons for this vary, but include VR counselors feeling ill equipped to help consumers determine if business ideas are feasible, and concerns over case costs, business failure, and income potential. The self-employment module aims to alleviate some of those concerns and provide VR counselors with the tools they need to help consumers achieve successful employment outcomes. Continue reading

RTC:Rural contributing to disability sessions at the American Association of Geographers annual meeting this week

This week, RTC:Rural researcher Andrew Myers will coordinate and participate in the discussion of American disability demographics, at the annual meeting of the American Association of Geographers (AAG). This three-session track contributes to the conference’s featured theme “Mainstreaming Human Rights in Geography and the AAG.”

RTC:Rural researcher presenting at a conference

The AAG conference is the primary annual gathering of geographers, GIS specialists, environmental scientists, and other leaders from around the country. To be held April 5-9, 2017 in Boston, MA, the conference will feature over 6,900 presentations, posters, workshops, and field trips by leading scholars, experts, and researchers. It includes the latest in research and applications in geography, sustainability, and GIScience.

RTC:Rural researcher Andrew Myers is a board member of the AAG’s Disability Specialty Group, and is an organizer of the three-part “Geographies of Disability” track at the conference. The components of this track are:

As part of the Mapping and Accessibility paper session, Myers will present “Current Disability Patterns in Rural America.” This presentation includes the recent findings of RTC:Rural’s Geography of Disability project, which analyzed American Community Survey data for the demographics of people with disability living in rural areas and the services available to them. Results reveal that rates of disability are higher in rural areas across many demographic categories such as age, race, veteran status, and impairment type. Employment rates vary in correspondence with the urban-rural continuum as well. Geographical nuances are an important factor in explaining these findings. Co-authors of these findings include RTC:Rural researcher Lillie Greiman and University of Montana graduate student Kourtney Johnson. Continue reading

Opportunity to Influence the Future Plan of Disability Research and Development

Four people in a group talk at the 2016 APRIL conference. In late 2016, rural disability stakeholders had the opportunity to provide comment and personal testimony to influence the focus of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research’s (NIDILRR) 2017-2023 Long Range Plan. RTC:Rural engaged with stakeholders at the 2016 Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) conference in October to help them share their comments with NIDILRR about what is important to them from the rural disability perspective. We encourage our fellow stakeholders to, again, take the opportunity to review NIDILRR’s 2017-2023 Long Range Plan to provide more input on the focus on NIDILRR’s research for the next five years.

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RTC Director of Employment Research publishes paper on self-employment

Dr. Catherine Ipsen headshot

Dr. Catherine Ipsen, Rural Institute Associate Director and RTC:Rural Employment Project Director

Dr. Catherine Ipsen’s paper “Rural and urban vocational rehabilitation self-employment outcomes” was published in the January 2017 issue of the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Dr. Ipsen is the Associate Director for the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities and the Director of Rural Employment Research at RTC:Rural. Dr. Ipsen co-authored the paper with Dr. Grant Swicegood, Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Central Methodist University.

The paper examines self-employment rates among vocational rehabilitation (VR) consumers in rural versus urban areas, noting that rates are higher in rural areas.

Dr. Ipsen and Swicegood report that VR consumers who are self-employed work fewer hours per week and earn more than those in competitive job placements. In spite of this, the study found that many VR agencies do not promote self-employment to their clients, for a variety of reasons.

Man working at a desk

Self-employment is a viable option for people with disabilities, especially in rural communities, though many VR agencies do not promote self-employment to their clients, for a variety of reasons.

Drs. Ipsen and Swicegood conclude that self-employment is a viable option for people with disabilities, especially in rural communities.

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RTC:Rural to present research at NARRTC 2017 “Taking Charge of Change”

RTC:Rural staff member presenting at a conference

RTC:Rural researcher presenting at a conference

In April 2017, RTC:Rural researchers will present three current research projects at the 2017 NARRTC conference, to be 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. This year’s 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 is 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. Continue reading

National Housing Workshop: Housing a priority issue for people with disabilities and older adults

RTC:Rural collaborator Bryce Ward, Ph.D, presenting at the NAS 2016 housing conference

RTC:Rural collaborator Bryce Ward, Ph.D., presenting at the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine December 12, 2016 housing workshop.

RTC staff brought back some important takeaways from the recent national accessible housing workshop in Washington, DC.

RTC:Rural Director Craig Ravesloot, Ph.D. and project collaborator Bryce Ward, Ph.D., Associate Director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana, recently returned from participating in this event that continued the dialog about the importance of housing for the health and quality of life of people who are aging and people with disabilities.

On December 12th, 2016 Drs. Ravesloot and Ward attended the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) workshop, “Affordable and Accessible Housing for Vulnerable Older Adults and People with Disabilities Living in the Community: A Workshop.”  Dr. Ward presented on a panel entitled “Design Features of Accessible Housing for Older Adults and People with Disabilities” while Dr. Ravesloot was on the planning committee for the event and moderated one of the panels.

RTC:Rural Director Craig Ravesloot, Ph.D., shared the following important takeaways upon his return:

1. Housing is a platform for the health of people with disabilities and older adults.

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RTC:Rural researcher completes dissertation focusing on disability and wellbeing

Jennifer Wong headshotThe RTC:Rural celebrates the accomplishments of Research Associate Jennifer Wong, who completed her doctoral dissertation in Experimental Psychology at The University of Montana in December 2016.

Her dissertation, part of the RTC: Rural’s Ecology of Participation project, titled “Purpose and Satisfaction in Activities in Rural Communities Using Ecological Momentary Assessment,” explores the relationships among purpose, satisfaction, and happiness during daily activities as they relate to wellbeing.

“We know there is a difference between people with disabilities and those without impairments,” Wong said, “but not the details of how they’re different, or what is different.” In addition, Dr. Wong is also interested in how wellbeing is associated with how individuals feel in relation to how they fit in their environment.

After analyzing the data, Wong says she “can say with confidence that purpose and satisfaction in daily activities are good predictors of wellbeing.” She also found that satisfaction of daily activities is positively associated with person-environment fit during that moment.

Wong found that those who were happier early in the day also tended to feel more satisfied and feel their activities had more purpose later in the day. Satisfaction early in the day was also linked to a more positive sense of person-environment fit later in the day. These results, said Wong, could be used to develop interventions that aim to increase happiness earlier in the day, which could result in a greater feeling of wellbeing throughout the day.

Dr. Wong’s research adds to RTC:Rural research on Person-Environment Fit, which seeks to understand how characteristics of the individual and environmental features interact and influence community engagement. Continue reading

RTC:Rural participating in national accessible housing workshop

On December 12, 2016, RTC:Rural Director Craig Ravesloot, Ph.D. and project collaborator Bryce Ward, Ph.D. Associate Director of the Bureau of Business and Economic Research at the University of Montana, will participate in a workshop on accessible housing hosted by National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS). The day-long workshop is entitled “Housing for Vulnerable Older Adults and People with Disabilities.”

Housing influences community participation, independent living, and overall health and wellbeing, especially for vulnerable populations. In the United States, the demand for accessible and affordable housing for people with disabilities and older adults greatly exceeds the supply. This imbalance will continue to grow over the coming years as the population shifts to include a greater number of older adults and people living with disabilities.

Dr. Ravesloot was approached by the NAS to be on the planning committee to represent the perspective of research in rural communities. “I am pleased that the organizers want to highlight rural, and especially that accessibility, not just affordability, is a main focus,” he said. In addition to providing planning assistance and nominating Dr. Ward to present, Dr. Ravesloot is also moderating one of the panels. Continue reading

New Research and Training Center to promote interventions for community living

A drawing of two cartoon houses. In collaboration with the University of Kansas Research and Training Center on Independent Living, the RTC: Rural has been awarded a five-year contract to start the new Research and Training Center on Promoting Interventions for Community Living (RRTC/PICL).

The new RTC will focus on two interventions, called “Home Base” and “Out and About.” The goal of both interventions is to increase the community participation of people with disabilities.

“We are working to level the playing field so people with disabilities have the same opportunities as everyone else to get into the community to pursue their goals,” said project Co-Director Craig Ravesloot.

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