Social distancing during COVID-19 can leave many people feeling
isolated and disconnected from their communities, which can have negative
impacts on their psychological health. For those who have high-speed internet
connections and devices that allow them to get online, virtual groups offer one
way to stay connected.
Researchers at the Rural Institute are partnering with researchers
at TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston, Texas, to test ZEST, an online psychological health
promotion intervention for women with spinal cord injury (SCI). ZEST is a group
program held in Second Life, an online virtual world.
Volunteers may be eligible if they:
Are a woman at least 18 years of age
Have had a spinal cord injury
Have had their injury for at least 1 year
Have access to a computer with high speed internet
Are able to use a computer and communicate in online group conversations in English
A small payment is offered for participation.
Volunteers are being recruited now through August 2020.
The newly funded project, Rural Community Living Development
(RCLD), is led by Rural Sociologist and Project Director Dr. Rayna Sage, and
Dr. Craig Ravesloot, Clinical Psychologist and Research Director for the
Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities (RTC:Rural).
The purpose of the Rural Community Living Development
project is to provide space and facilitate conversations among community
members to help them connect to resources and information they might not
otherwise have access to.
Using a combination of independent living philosophy, peer mentoring and community development approaches, research staff will work with Centers for Independent Living (CILs) to take collective action that leads to positive change for and with people with disabilities living in rural areas.
This September, nineteen higher education professionals from
five different Egyptian public universities and officials from the Egyptian
Ministry of Education will travel to Missoula to learn about how to ensure
equal access to higher education for students with disabilities. The study tour
is being hosted by the University of Montana’s Dr. Kaitlin Fertaly, RTC:Rural
Research Associate, Dr. Anna-Margaret Goldman, Director of MonTECH,
Amy Capolupo, Disability
Services for Students Director, and the University of Colorado Boulder (CU).
Participants start their tour at the University of Montana
in Missoula, MT, and then will travel to the University of Colorado, Boulder. They
will also visit two community colleges, Flathead Valley Community College in
Kalispell, MT and Aims
Community College in Greeley, CO.
“During their 10 days in the U.S., Egyptian university staff and leaders will learn how the University of Montana and the University of Colorado structure and administer their Disability Support Services program,” said Fertaly. “The goal is for participants to be better equipped with knowledge about university policies that promote inclusion and strategies for overcoming barriers to access.”
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 →
The University of Montana Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities (RIIC) is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a five-year, $4.3 million grant to support its Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities (RTC:Rural). The grant was awarded by the National Institute on Disability Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research, and will be led by Dr. Catherine Ipsen, the project’s principal investigator. The award continues 30 years of RTC:Rural research and training to improve the lives of rural people with disabilities.
RTC:Rural staff pose for a picture at UM. Front row (left to right): Tannis Hargrove, Lillie Greiman, Justice Ender. Back row (left to right): Dr. Catherine Ipsen, Andrew Myers, Lauren Smith, Maggie Lawrence, Tracy Boehm Barrett. Not pictured: Dr. Craig Ravesloot, Dr. Meg Traci, Dr. Rayna Sage, and Dr. Bryce Ward.
“The opportunity to build on our past work and continue to conduct applied research with our stakeholders from the disability community is a great honor,” said Ipsen.
RTC:Rural research will address barriers identified by rural people with disabilities in the areas of health, community living, and employment. These barriers are often related to the limited resources available in rural environments. “Our team of researchers and knowledge translation staff have put together a portfolio of projects and activities that are responsive to, and inclusive of, people with disabilities and those who serve them,” said Tracy Boehm Barrett, RTC:Rural Director of Knowledge Translation. Continue reading →
Dr. Griffen provided an overview of the competencies and linkages to public health accreditation and information on local and national resources to help public health organizations strengthen their workforce and better include people with disabilities. The webinar also provided a forum for participants to discuss current resources and strategies being used by others in the field.
The webinar was a Montana-specific version of a previous workforce competencies webinar Dr. Griffen participated in on January 24, 2017. RTC:Rural is pleased to support this webinar as a way to share knowledge between national, state, and local public health professionals and disability service providers about including people with disabilities in public health plans in a rural state like Montana. Continue reading →