Category Archives: News

People with disabilities living in the path of Hurricane Laura

Map showing disability rates of counties in the path of Hurricane Laura. Text description on page.
Larger image and text description below.

Understanding the needs of a community is imperative in order to effectively organize natural disaster emergency response. As people begin to assess the damage caused by Hurricane Laura, national, state and local community emergency planners and response teams are working to provide support for thousands of people who have evacuated or have sustained damage to their homes. People with disabilities are one of many vulnerable groups especially at risk during natural disasters.

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RTC:Rural recognized in federal informational bulletin on rural housing and accessibility

first page of the Join HHS, HUD, and USDA Informational Bulletin

On August 19, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) released a joint Informational Bulletin titled: “Living at Home in Rural America: Improving Accessibility for Older Adults and People with a Disability”.

The bulletin shares information about federally-funded resources that can help people with disabilities and older adults, especially those living in rural areas, to remain in their homes and communities. The bulletin shares these resources with state Medicaid agencies, state and local housing agencies, state and local public health agencies, and other health and housing entities.

ACL- Administration for Community Living

RTC:Rural’s rural independent living and community participation research is mentioned on page 11 in the section about the Administration for Community Living (ACL). For over 30 years, we have been funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR).

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New research brief: Social isolation and loneliness during COVID-19

Comparing pre- and post- ‘stay-at-home’ orders

First page of America at a glance: social isolation and loneliness during the first wave of COVID-19

Social isolation and loneliness are a public health concern because they are associated with poor mental and physical health outcomes and mortality. Social isolation is defined as have few, or no, social connections, and not participating in activities with others. Loneliness is defined as feeling unsatisfied about the amount of social engagement in one’s life.

Before the current pandemic, people with disabilities reported significantly higher rates of social isolation and loneliness than those without disabilities. Inaccessible events and buildings, limited accessible public transportation, social stigma, and lower rates of employment all contribute to these high rates. When restrictions are put in place to help protect people from COVID-19, what happens to these rates?

To learn more about how COVID-19 and public health responses such as stay-at-home orders may contribute to feelings of social isolation and loneliness among people with disabilities, RTC:Rural researchers compared data from two cross-sectional samples collected before and after the first wave of “stay-at-home” orders.

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RTC:Rural disability maps used in new rural psychology textbook

cover of Ethics in Rural Psychology text book

RTC:Rural’s national disability rate maps are featured in a newly published text book “Ethics in Rural Psychology.” The book was written by Dr. Sara Boilen, a psychologist practicing in northwestern Montana, and published by Routledge on Aug. 3.  

We emailed Dr. Boilen with a few questions about her new book. The below questions have been lightly edited.


Q & A with Dr. Sara Boilen, author of Ethics in Rural Psychology

RTC:Rural: What is your new book about? Who is it written for?

Dr. Sara Boilen: The book is a tool aimed at mental healthcare professionals in rural areas and students who may someday serve rural Americans. I provide the reader with a general understanding of rural America (and the complexities of rurality) and an overview of some of the relevant cultural factors therein. I then provide a pathway for navigating the tricky ethical landscape commonly found by practitioners serving in insular communities. 

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New research brief: COVID-19 and disability in rural areas

Rural/urban differences in trust in sources and preventative practices

first page of America at a glance: COVID-19 and disability in rural areas research brief.

Public health is shaped by community-level action. This is especially important during crises such as COVID-19, where widespread adoption of public health practices is necessary to manage community spread and prevent loss. Consistent information is important for fostering trust and adherence to recommended practices.

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RTC:Rural project director to present as part of ACL webinar

COVID-19 molecule

On Wednesday, July 1, at 2 p.m. EST (noon MST) Andrew Myers, RTC:Rural Project Director, will present as part of a webinar hosted by the Administration for Community Living (ACL).

The webinar is about supporting rural communities by connecting older adults and people with disabilities to resources during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The webinar will feature researchers and program leaders including:

ACL- Administration for Community Living
  • Amanda Reichard, PhD, National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research, ACL (Moderator)
  • Lance Robertson, Administrator, ACL (Introduction and welcome)
  • Collette Adamsen, PhD, Director, National Resource Center on Native American Aging
  • Sara Tribe Clark, Director, Eldercare Locator
  • Richard Petty, MBA, Director, IL-NET National Training and Technical Assistance Center for independent living at ILRU
  • Andrew Myers, MA, University of Montana Rural Institute

The webinar will be held on Zoom, and registration is not required.

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Do you provide personal assistance services to rural people with disabilities? We want to hear your story!

PAS workers in Alaska, Arizona, and Montana: share your experiences

A caregiver helps a person with physical disabilities eat.
From Healthy Community Living (www.healthycommunityliving.com).

RTC:Rural is partnering with the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) Health Workforce Research Center on Long-Term Care to identify the supports needed for personal assistance services (PAS) workers (also known as personal care attendants, or PCAs) in underserved rural communities.

To help better understand PAS worker experiences, the Rural Personal Assistance Worker Project Team is recruiting PAS workers in Alaska, Arizona, and Montana to take pictures of their daily work experiences.

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Project Snapshot: Rural Community Living Development

Rural Community Living Development

The Rural Community Living Development (RCLD) project is a knowledge translation grant funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). RTC:Rural staff have partnered with the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) to develop and implement a peer to peer mentor training with and for Centers for Independent Living (CILs) that will prepare CIL staff to work on community development activities in rural areas. The project includes helping communities identify, access and use NIDILRR-funded products and resources that can address the most important community issues for increased independence and participation (such as access to accessible housing or transportation) of people with disabilities in their rural communities.

The Rural Community Living Development project team explains the project and gives a quick progress update.

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Building Networks to Expand Living Well Delivery: Project Update

Living Well in the Community logo

We were excited to bring our peer-led self-management program Living Well in the Community to new audiences by facilitating partnerships between Centers for Independent Living and rural hospitals, and begun by teaming up with CILs and rural hospitals in Wyoming and Oregon for the first phase of the project.

And then COVID-19 struck, and like so many things across the country, we needed to adapt, as many hospitals and healthcare settings found themselves dealing with this virus and related difficulties. At the same time, it became dangerous for people to meet in person, especially when the disability community is most at-risk for exposure in this pandemic.

icon representing remote team. Person connected by dotted lines to another person on a screen, and to a globe.
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Upcoming webinar for current HCL providers

Healthy Community Living Skills Training Peer Support Call


Note: this webinar is open to those who are currently using the Healthy Community Living (HCL) program.

If you are not a current HCL provider and are interested learning more about HCL programs, you can find more information and get a license on the HCL website: Healthy Community Living


Healthy Community Living logo - orange circles grey people

Current HCL providers:
Join your peers from across the country on a peer support call on June 24 at 1:00-2:30 Mountain time (3:00-4:30 Eastern) to discuss implementing Healthy Community Living programs!

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