On Wednesday, June 22nd the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities discussed how they build evidence-based interventions supporting the purposes of the Rehabilitation Act and NIDRR’s Long Range Plan in their presentation “Disability in Rural Communities: Designing Research for Impact.”
Dr. Ravesloot and Dr. Ipsen discussed the intersection of rural health and employment. Specifically, they presented information on what is known about the relationship between health, disability, and employment. Working on the understanding that an individual who does not have their basic life-care needs meet is unlikely to be ready to self-manage their health care and prevent secondary conditions that adversely affect employment outcomes, the RuralRTC developed the Living Well and Working Well with a Disability program to promote healthy independent living. This includes developing and testing a new component, Health Plans for Employment (HPE) that is based on the traditional insurance company and employer health assistance plans. The free web-based program guides users through a health plan survey that provides results based on the user’s responses and suggests how to address the issues presented (i.e. fatigue, anxiety, etc.). The web-based program provides useful feedback to improve quality of life and offers motivational interviews to encourage users, give them hope, and move them toward positive outcomes.
Finally, Dr. Arnold and Dr. Seekins discussed translating research into practice and the future of disability in rural America. The RuralRTC’s use of theory as a tool, user centric approach, and designing for impact with a bias toward intervention is clearly creating useful evidence-based research, programs, and products that not only benefit people with disabilities in rural areas but also translates over to urban environments as well.
For more information on the RRTC on Center on Disability in Rural Communities please visit http://rtc.ruralinstitute.umt.edu. For more information on the Living and Work Well with a Disability Programs please visit http://livingandworkingwell.org/draft/default.cfm.