Looking Back and Looking Ahead with Director Mark Odum

As we turn over our calendars to 2020, it’s a good time to reflect on our activities of the past year, taking note of our achievements and looking ahead to what’s to come.

During 2019:

  • We celebrated the 10th anniversary of our Spotlight blog, which saw its best year ever in total visitors (more than 28,000 visitors and almost 46,000 page views). Our Spanish pages remained among the most popular, so in addition to translating our English-language articles, we developed new features to highlight organizations in Spanish-speaking regions that support the independence and participation of people with disabilities.
  • We indexed our 80,000th journal article and grew our collection by more than 4,000 items, including over 700 publications from NIDILRR-funded studies.  These journal articles, books, factsheets, and other publications span the diverse field of research in disability and rehabilitation and document the impact of disability across the life span. Explore the most recent acquisitions and sign up for literature awareness alerts to see what we’re adding this month.
  • We supported the knowledge translation efforts of the NIDILRR grantee community through our Research In Focus series, highlighting interesting findings from their studies and presenting them in reader-friendly summaries. We also participated in advisory groups and boards, connected researchers working in similar or supporting areas, and partnered with our colleagues at AbleData to spread the reach of NIDILRR-funded research to the community.

We have much to look forward to in NARIC’s 42nd year, including:

  • We’ll publish the 400th issue of News and Notes, our weekly newsletter highlighting the resources, events, and achievements of the NIDILRR grantee community. This newsletter goes out to more than 4,500 subscribers in the US and abroad!
  • We’re getting to know the 64 newest projects to join the NIDILRR community. These projects are exploring mHealth, smart technologies, entrepreneurship, peer providers, and so much more!
  • 2020 may be an exciting year for technology. We expect to read more about topics like robotics, wearables, and the Internet of Things in the coming year. This week’s Consumer Electronics Show has more sessions and exhibitors showcasing accessibility and technology for independence.
  • July marks the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). We will join with the NIDILRR community in recognizing the impact of this landmark civil rights legislation, how far we have come, and what barriers still need to be removed for full participation of people with disabilities.
  • The 2020 Paralympic Games kick off this Summer in Tokyo, with more medal events broadcast live than any previous games. We may have to set our alarms to catch the action, but we promise to tweet about it!

It’s gratifying to reflect on the NARIC team, all of whom have been together for more than a decade, and acknowledge what we’ve accomplished together. I’m equally gratified to ponder the work ahead of us and to know that it will have an impact on our community. Wishing you and your teams an exciting 2020 and beyond!

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