The overarching goal of our center is to conduct research and knowledge translation (KT) activities across health, community living, and employment domains to explore, develop, and test strategies that improve the quality of life of rural people with disabilities. To achieve this goal, we will (a) fully engage people with disabilities and other relevant stakeholders in all aspects of research and KT activities, (b) utilize national service systems as research and KT partners to improve the reach and uptake of effective solutions, and (c) evaluate the community and service system contexts of our research and delivery sites to understand how strategies and available community resources align to maximize impacts. Overall, our proposal includes eight research projects and three additional KT projects, along with dissemination, training, and technical assistance (TA) activities.
Core Area 1 responds to the NIDILRR priority to create new knowledge about the experiences of rural people relative to their urban counterparts. To meet this, we propose three large data projects. R1: Expanding the Availability and Quality of Rural Data involves collaboration with the RRTC on Disability Statistics to develop a rural addendum to the annual Disabilities Statistics Compendium. R2: Exploring the Rural Disability Penalty includes a longitudinal data study using secondary panel data sources to investigate how health and disability evolve differently over the lifecycle for people living in rural and urban places. R3: Rural Access to Health Insurance and Health Care andincludes collaboration with the NIDILRR-funded DRRP, Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living (CHRIL), to extend the reach of their national longitudinal National Health Reform and Disability Survey to allow for rural and urban comparisons about health insurance access and coverage related to changes in the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
Core Area 2 responds to NIDILRR’s priority to develop new knowledge about interventions designed to improve outcomes for people with disabilities living in rural areas. To meet this, we propose five projects. R4: Rural Resource Analysis is focused on understanding contextual differences across place to provide contextual understanding for intervention development work in R5-R8 research projects. R5: Building Networks to Expand Living Well Delivery will promote healthy rural community living through scale-up of our Living Well in the Community program in rural hospitals. R6: Rural Personal Assistance Services will partner with consumers and providers of rural home- and community-based services to identify how personal assistance services (PAS) are secured, delivered, and consumed in rural places. The project will examine aspects of care that increase health and community participation and use this information to translate existing PAS training for application and evaluation in rural places. R7: Rural Transportation Options will use survey and informant interviews to explore how different transportation options impact community living outcomes for rural people with disabilities to inform rural transportation policy and development. Finally, R8: Rural Self-Employment builds Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and American Indian VR Service (AIVRS) capacity to support consumers who express an interest in self-employment by refining and evaluating materials that are responsive, appropriate, and ready for intervention efficacy research.
Finally, Core Area 3 focuses on NIDILRRs priority to develop greater capacity to promote positive outcomes for rural people with disabilities. To achieve this, we involve stakeholders in the design, implementation, and analysis of projects. This engagement promotes contextually relevant and appropriate solutions, products, and interventions that, in turn are translated to audiences through dissemination, training, and technical assistance activities.