Race, Ethnicity, and Disabilities: State of the Science Conference. Part II.

NARIC’s Bilingual Information/Media Specialist, Marta Garcia, attended this year’s Race, Ethnicity, and Disabilities: State of the Science Conference held on March 1 and 2, 2012. During the conference, Ms. Garcia attended panel presentations, track sessions, and networking opportunities. There were two panel presentations (one on each day), three tracks on Thursday (with three sessions that day), three tracks on Friday (with only two sessions that day), and networking opportunities throughout the day.

The topic of the panel presentation on March 1st, 2012, which was introduced by Juan Carlos Arango-Lasprilla, PhD, was “Grant opportunities for minority researchers: The funders’ perspectives.” This particular presentation included panelists Shelley Reeves from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), Theresa Cruz from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and Dr. Arango-Lasprilla from Virginia Commonwealth; all of whom shared information on the grant process at their particular institutions. Following the panel presentation, conference attendees had the opportunity to choose between three tracks (with three speakers within each track):

  • Developing and writing fundable grant ideas,
  • Challenges of recruitment and retention of racial and ethnic research participants with disabilities, and
  • Immigrants with disabilities: Experiences, challenges, and cultural issues.

These sessions were very informative! Following the morning tracks, lunch was provided and participants had the opportunity to network. The first afternoon session had three tracks as well:

  • Quantitative and qualitative research for statistical methods for disparities research,
  • Increasing diversity in the field: Mentorship of minorities in research, and
  • Addressing major health issues among African Americans with disabilities.

The final sessions of the afternoon include these three tracks:

  • Healthcare interventions for underserved populations with chronic diseases,
  • Project empowerment: Improving minority disability research capacity, and
  • Health beliefs and cultural considerations in working with people with disabilities.

The day ended with poster exhibits and exhibitor tables.

On March 2nd, 2012, the Conference began with the second panel presentation, which featured Dr. William Talley from the University of Maryland – Eastern Shore, Dr. Keith Wilson from Pennsylvania State University, and Dr. Paul Leung from the University of North Texas. Dr. Talley’s topic asked if racial and ethnic minorities have sufficient training to address disparities in disabilities in real world practice settings. Dr. Wilson’s presentation explained why it is not enough to understand multicultural counseling competencies when addressing disability disparities. Finally, Dr. Leung’s topic confronted disparities by discussing people with disabilities from “minority” populations.

After the panel discussion, there was a time set for networking which was followed by the first of two sessions for the day. Each session consisted of three tracks. The morning session covered the following topics:

  • Creating the right balance between research, teaching, and practice,
  • Challenges of recruitment and retention of racial and ethnic research participants with disabilities, and
  • Caregivers of racial and ethnic minority individuals with disabilities.

The final session of the day and the Conference dealt with the following topics:

  • Racial and ethnic minorities with SCI,
  • Racial and ethnic minorities with TBI, and
  • Racial and ethnic minorities with autism.

The Conference ended with one final networking opportunity and a thank you from the Conference presenters.

Ms. Garcia learned many things during the Conference and is grateful for the different perspectives from the “field”. When asked what she took away from the conference, she responded, “Although there are increasing numbers of minority researchers and an increase in research into minority health disparities and minorities with disabilities, there are still not enough minority researchers and the research in the areas of minority health, minorities with disabilities, and minority health disparities still needs to increase. Thankfully, the opportunities for grants are available through the NIDRR, NIH, and other institutions and I’m hopeful that the numbers will increase.”

The presentation materials have been uploaded to the VCU Project Empowerment: Improving Minority Disability Research Capacity. Please feel free to look through the materials. There is plenty of information to absorb!

About mpgarcia

I'm the Bilingual Information/Media Specialist at NARIC.
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