Category Archives: News

Identifying potential hospital bed shortages for people with disabilities

Recent models from ProPublica, Imperial College, and others predict that millions of people who contract COVID-19 will be hospitalized and many hospitals across the country may not be prepared to treat the influx of patients.

COVID-19 molecule

People with disabilities are particularly vulnerable to impacts from COVID-19, both directly and indirectly. While data about how this virus will impact the health and well-being of people with disabilities is currently limited, people with disabilities are often at greater risk of chronic health conditions, and thus may be more susceptible to infection. People with disabilities also face disruptions in services for daily needs, which could exacerbate conditions unrelated to COVID-19.

Overall, individuals who experience disability are at greater risk for being hospitalized either because they have contracted COVID-19 or because pre-existing health conditions have worsened.


Continue reading

Recognizing people with disabilities in the COVID-19 pandemic

Understanding the needs of a community is imperative to effectively plan for any type of emergency response, be it natural disaster or a pandemic. As people around the world are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, the needs of people with disabilities should not be overlooked or go unaddressed as members of those communities. To assess the impact of COVID on people with disabilities and their needs, it’s important to understand the prevalence of disability by the functional limitations of people living with disabilities experience in their communities.  

According to the American Community Survey, about 41 million, or 13%, of Americans have at least one type of disability (ACS 2015). The vast majority (38 million) live in households with other people and a significant number of people with disabilities live in group quarters, which includes dormitories, nursing homes, and prisons.

Approximately 78 million people without disabilities live in households with a member who experiences a disability. This means that nearly 25% of the US population lives in a household with a member with a disability.

(See Prevalence of Disability: Individual and Household Context for more about this research).

Graphic showing information about the number of households in the US with disability. Full text description in caption.
Graphic from poster presentation “How far do you travel for CIL services?” by Kourtney Johnson, Christiane von Reichert, and Lillie Greiman for the 2017 APRIL conference.
Text description: icon of a green house in a circle with this text: Households in the US = 116,926,305. Same green house in a circle icon with three figures, one using a wheelchair, with this text: Households with disability* = 29,344,352, or 25%. *All households in which at least one person has a disability. There could be one, or more, people with disabilities in each household. There is a box around the graphic, and on top of the frame is a small figure using a walker as a mobility aid.

Continue reading

Share your COVID-19 story

How has COVID-19 impacted you and your rural community?

COVID-19 molecule

RTC:Rural is collecting real stories from real people in rural places who are impacted by the current COVID-19 pandemic.

We want to help shed light on what is actually happening in the lives of people with disabilities from the perspectives of consumers, family members, caregivers and service providers. We feel the uniqueness and complexity of individual stories are important to share. The needs of rural people with disabilities should be considered in efforts to address the impact of COVID-19.

Contact us if you are interested in creating and sharing real stories! Our staff can set up an interview time and format that works well for you. Participants can choose whether or not to remain anonymous in the stories we share together.

Continue reading

COVID-19 Resources

COVID-19 molecule

This short list of resources and information is not comprehensive, just a sampling of what is available.

For the most up-to-date information, visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention Coronavirus (COVID-19) website.


Continue reading

Input needed- take the RTC:Rural website redesign survey

Have 2 minutes? Take our survey! RTC:Rural, Research and training center on disability in rural communities.

 RTC:Rural is planning a website redesign, and we want your input!

We’re working with a team of students from the Business School at the University of Montana to redesign our website.

As part of that process, we’re reaching out to gather input from our community of fellow researchers, service providers, and people with disabilities.

It’s important to us that our new website is engaging, usable, and relevant.

By sharing your input, you are supporting student learning and providing valuable information that we will use to improve and redesign the RTC:Rural website.

Continue reading

Find traumatic brain injury resources in the Rural Disability Resource Library

Looking for traumatic brain injury resources?

Rural Disability Resource Library. RuralDisabilityLibrary.org

Check out the Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center posts on the Rural Disability Resource Library, RTC:Rural’s information website. There you can find links to some fantastic resources to support individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and burn injury.

Click here:

The Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center (MSKTC) works to make sure the latest and best research findings are being used in healthcare decision-making. In order to help improve the health and quality of life of people with spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury, and burn injuries, MSKTC creates resources and products that share relevant research findings with the people who need this information.

The resources and information created and shared by MSKTC are important resources that help support people with disabilities so they can engage in their rural communities. In promoting this shared goal, RTC:Rural helps to share these resources with people in rural communities who can benefit from this information.

Continue reading

Webinar: Learn More about our new Community Living Program

Join the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) and RTC: Rural for a free webinar to learn about the new Healthy Community Living Program!


Healthy Community Living logo - orange circles grey people

Who: Centers for Independent Living (CILs) and other organizations that serve people with disabilities

What: informational webinar (free)

When: March 19, 2020 | 1 pm to 2:30 pm Mountain Time

Register here: https://www.surveygizmo.com/s3/5427963/IL-Skills-Training-in-A-Click

This webinar will be facilitated by Mary Willard, the Director of Training and Technical Assistance at APRIL.

Continue reading

Disability Statistics Compendium recordings now available

Christiane von Reichert, Lillie Greiman, and Catherine Ipsen at the 2020 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium event in Washington DC.
Left to right: Christiane von Reichert, Lillie Greiman, and Catherine Ipsen.

On February 11, 2020, RTC:Rural Director Catherine Ipsen and Research Associate Lillie Greiman presented as part of a panel at the Annual Disability Statistics Compendium. Their presentation was titled “Uncovering the intersection of rural and disability.”

Christiane von Reichert, professor of Geography at the University of Montana and a RTC:Rural research partner, was also part of the panel. Her presentation was titled “Using the ACS PUMS to examine disability and migration.”

Continue reading

Research Snapshot: Building Networks to Expand Living Well Delivery

Living Well in the Community logo

Living Well in the Community (part of the Healthy Community Living program) is a ten-week workshop for people with disabilities who want to set goals to support their overall quality of life and wellbeing. Often, these workshops are hosted by local Centers for Independent Living (CILs).

However, not all people with disabilities who may benefit from Living Well are connected to their local CILs. To help expand the reach of the program, the Building Networks to Expand Living Well Delivery project partners with rural community hospitals and CILs. These partnerships will also help improve the capacity of rural hospitals to support rural independent community living. 

The Building Networks to Expand Living Well Delivery project team explains the project and its goals, and gives a quick progress update.


Continue reading

New article- How proposed SSDI changes may impact rural people with disabilities

screen shot of a map of the US showing locations of Social Security Administration offices in every state. Click on the image to link to the article.

Project Director Lillie Greiman and RTC:Rural Director Dr. Catherine Ipsen recently co-authored an article in The Conversation about proposed changes to disability benefits and how those could make it harder for people with disabilities, especially those in rural communities, to maintain federal benefits.


Read the article here:

February 7, 2020: How Trump’s proposed benefits changes will create hardship for rural people with disabilities


Continue reading