State of the Science Conference

The Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities at the University of Montana conducts a state-of-the-science (SOS) conference on the status of rural disability and rehabilitation research. RTC: Rural researchers work with SOS Collaborators to present research from across disciplines and then engage various disability stakeholders, scientists and experts to discuss innovative methods to move the field of disability and rehabilitation forward.

State of the Science Collaborators are cross-disciplinary researchers and experts who present and/or participate in online discussions regarding emerging and innovative scientific research methods. Collaborators enhance our interpretation and understanding of RTC research findings and contribute methodological improvements. In addition, Collaborators may find an opportunity to learn about and perhaps integrate disability issues into cross-disciplinary studies, and may also join RTC: Rural researchers in co-authorship activities.

If you are interested in participating in the RTC State of the Science program, contact

Past Events

Click on each of the event titles below to view the agenda, speakers, and archived recordings of the presentations (when available).


The World Health Organization has adopted a new view of disability that is more dynamic than ones in the past. It includes the role the environment plays in creating disability and specifies participation as the gold standard of outcome measures. Nonetheless, surprisingly little research has been conducted on these critical topics.

One obstacle to advancing a science of the environment and participation involves the research concepts and models applied to study it. Most concepts and methods come from fields whose methods are relatively static: self-report, cross-sectional, retrospective, and correlation. Yet, a dynamic model of disability requires a dynamic model and methods to match its nature. Ecological sciences offer such a model.

RTC: Rural is sponsoring a state-of-the-science (SOS) on “An Ecological View of Disability for an Era of Community Living: Toward a Science of the Environment and Participation” in order to discuss the opportunities of studying disability using cross-disciplinary methods. The Colloquia on the Science of Environment and Participation are a series of on-going conversations whose purpose is to identify priorities for the larger State of the Science conference.

Links to State of the Science 2012 publications on UMScholarworks:

Community Development

Disability and Rural Rehabilitation in Rural America: A Synopsis of the State of the Science 2012

Overview of Economic Development

Overview of Rural America: Past, Present, and Future

Overview of Rural Health

Quick Links: Knowledge Translation

Rural Adviser

  • Rural Advisor Program
    RTC: Rural Advisors provide recommendations, contribute to research and development activities, and help shape the RTC agenda for developing solutions to issues experienced by people living with disabilities in rural America.
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    • Research Participation
      Research Participants are rural community members who wish to serve an essential role in advancing rural disability research by participating in RTC: Rural studies.

    State of
    the Science

    • State of the Science
      RTC:Rural conducts a state-of-the-science conference to engage experts, scientists, and disability stakeholders to discuss the status of rural disability and rehabilitation and the future of research and practice and to advance the science of disability in small town and rural environments.

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      RTC: Rural has established programs, products, trainings, and resources to support national efforts to improve the ability of persons with disabilities to live independently in rural America.


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