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Another Movin’ On Camp in the Books!

group of Movin On participants in front of UM signThe fourth Movin’ On in Montana Summer Camp brought together eleven Montana high school students and recent graduates with disabilities to experience college life at the University of Montana. This July, students from Great Falls, Helena, Butte, Frenchtown, Cascade and Missoula slept in dorms, ate on campus, attended college lectures, learned about University resources, took the city bus to an Osprey baseball game and ended the week rafting down the Bitterroot river.  

Read more about Movin' On

Local Partnership Leads to International Connections

Vietnam partnership group

In the fall of 2018, the Rural Institute and Summit Independent Living hosted Nguyen Thi Van, a Mansfield Center Fellow from Vietnam, who was visiting Missoula as part of the Professional Fellows Program.

This spring, Bronwyn Troutman, Community Living Specialist at Summit Independent Living in Missoula, was selected as an outbound YSEALI (Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative) Fellow through the Mansfield Center at the University of Montana. Bronwyn and Anna-Margaret Goldman, director of MonTECH, traveled to Vietnam to further the collaboration and partnership between the Rural Institute, Summit Independent Living Center, and the organizations associated with Ms. Nguyen.

We are excited to share the following post by Bronwyn Troutman about her trip to Vietnam.

Continue reading about Vietnam

RTC: Rural Map Monday

American women with disabilities 2015. Description below image.

#MapMonday today features American women with disabilities! These numbers are based on women’s responses to the US Census Bureau American Community Survey. Read more about the survey questions that determine the disability rates you see in the map.

Disability among females tends to be higher (19.03-35.62%) in Appalachia, particularly along the KY-WV border, as well as pockets in the South, and Puerto Rico. Disability among females tends to be less common (3.8-19.02%) in AK, southern CA, and regions of the Rocky Mountains and Great Plains. Rates range from 3.8%-35.62%. Map by RTC: Rural, July 2017.

Autism Research

The Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities has been asked by our partners at the University of Washington to help them learn more about ASD and what causes it.

For additional information on how your family can help, please visit the SPARK website for questions and assistance.

The Rural Institute receives no fee or royalty for Montana participation. Our sole purpose is to share information and to be part of the solution.

Please visit the Montana Autism Center for more information about ASD in Montana,

Montana Children’s Special Health Services Survey

young boy with mouth guardThe Montana Children’s Special Health Services Survey is mailed to a sample of families with a child(ren) or youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) in Montana. This survey is about the current care families and their child(ren) or youth with special healthcare needs receive in the healthcare setting, with particular focus within the medical home and transition to adulthood systems of care.

The information collected by the Survey will be used to identify the following among families of CYSHCN:

  1. Important health concerns for children and adolescents with special health care needs;
  2. Input to ascertain design criteria for intervention procedures and establishing sustainable health care supports;
  3. Criteria for judging the significance and satisfaction of the systems of care that families of CYSHCN currently experience; and what families recommend to improve the current system.

Received the Survey? If you have received a Survey in the mail and want to learn more, please follow this web link to read the FAQs for Survey Respondents (PDF)

The Montana Children’s Special Health Services (CSHS) Survey was mailed to a sample of families with a child(ren) or youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) in Montana. Deadline to submit the Survey is May 15th, 2017. If you intend to mail-in your survey please do so no later than 4-5 business days prior to the May 15th deadline.

Community Discussion Forums

We are in our final phase of the CSHS Project and will be hosting Community Discussion Forums across Montana in April and May, 2017. During these forums parents and primary caregivers of CYSHCN will be asked to discuss and interpret the Montana Children’s Special Health Services Survey current findings.

"Children and youth with special health care needs (CYSHCN) are a diverse group of children ranging from children with chronic conditions such as asthma or diabetes, to children with autism, to those with more medically complex health issues such as spina bifida or other congenital disorders, to children with behavioral or emotional conditions." (More information is available at:

When and where

Helena: Wednesday, May 4th, 2017, TBD
Butte: Wednesday, May 4th, 2017, 4:00pm – 5:30pm at MILP and 6:30-7:30 at 4cs
Great Falls: TBA
Missoula: TBD, Headwaters Park and Rec Meeting Room, Currents Aquatics Center in McCormick Park, 600 Cregg Ln, Missoula 59801
Kalispell: TBA
Billings: Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017,

  • 9:30-11:00 A.M. LIFTT, Address: 1201 Grand Ave, Billings, MT 59102, Phone: (406) 259-5181
  • 12pm – 1:00 P.M. at Billings Clinic
  • 1:30-3:00 P.M. LIFTT, Address: 1201 Grand Ave, Billings, MT 59102, Phone: (406) 259-5181

Miles City: Wednesday, May 24th, 2017, 4:30pm – 6pm, TBD


We are able to provide families with a $25 reimbursement for expenses related to taking part in the discussion forum. If you would need to travel more than 50 miles to attend the event, or if you need accommodations or an interpreter, please contact Severin Studer from the Rural Institute at the University of Montana (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). For interpreters especially, please try to give us at least 1 week before the scheduled event to schedule an interpreter. Food and refreshments will be provided.

Unable to attend?

In the event that you will not be able to attend the forum but would still like to be involved and receive the information provided, please contact Severin Studer (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

More info

If you have received a Survey in the mail and/or want to learn more, or you want more information on this phase of the project or how you may be eligible to participate in the Forums, please visit Montana Children’s Special Health Services Survey

Contact Us

If you have questions about the survey methodology, please contact Dr. Meg Traci, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 406-243-4956.

If you have questions about the Montana Children’s Special Health Services Program, please contact Rachel Donahoe, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 406-444-3617.


Amy - Living Life to the Fullest

Meet Our Featured Emerging Leader

By Lauren Beyer, Rural Institute Project Assistant

amy emerging leaderAmy was featured as an Emerging Leader six years ago. She just celebrated her 40th birthday and is constantly changing and growing as a compassionate and independent adult.
Amy's parents live outside of Bozeman, Montana in the Gallatin Gateway. Upon her graduation from Bozeman High School, Amy decided she would like to stay in the area. Her parents bought her a house so she could have her own space. The house is a split-level duplex. Amy rents the first floor, and her family rents out the upstairs. Amy's self-sufficiency goes much further than her ability to live independently. She operates her own vehicle and her driving skills, paired with her GPS, make her unstoppable.

You can read more about Amy on the Transition and Employment Projects newsletter.

RTC:Rural - Living and Working Well Workshops

man with disability exercisingLiving and Working Well with a Disability workshops are evidence-based health promotion programs for people with disabilities. Developed by RTC: Rural with help from people with disabilities, Living and Working Well have been shown to reduce both the severity and incidence of secondary conditions experienced by people with physical impairments.  Now that fall is approaching, consider setting some goals that will improve your health and find Living Well or Working Well workshops at a Center for Independent Living near you.

Learn more about these health promotion programs on the RTC:Rural website.

Montana Geriatric Workforce Enhancement Program

2015 Continuing Education Conference for Health Care Professionals - Improving Geriatric Care Transitions

Tuesday, October 20, 2015, 7:45am - 4:15pm

Target Audience:
Nurses and APRNs, nursing home administrators, occupational therapists, pharmacists, physical therapists, physicians, physician assistants, psychologists, social workers, and other health care professionals

Presenters in Billings and Missoula
Broadcasting to: Bozeman, Butte, Culbertson, Glendive, Great Falls, Havre, Helena, Kalispell, Miles City, Lewistown, Poplar, Sidney, and more

Conference details and registration information coming soon!
See website: View abstract.

RTC: Rural - Disability Services for Students at College

students studyingDisability services for students at colleges and universities across the country are gearing up for the new school year.  Before you head off to school, check out the services your school provides to make sure you’re prepared for success.

At the University of Montana, Disability Services for Students provides a wide variety of services including translation of texts into alternate formats such as audio and Braille, as well as video captioning and exam modifications for student testing.  They also provide training on assistive technology such as screen reading programs and audio voice over.

Read more about disability services for college students on the RTC: Rural website.

The promise of 'community' for everyone

August 12, 2015 Missoulian Guest Column by Martin Blair

Marty Blair Guest Column“Are we there yet?” When it comes to employment and full inclusion of people with disabilities into our communities, the answer is, “probably not, but we are getting closer.”

In recent weeks, there has been a good bit of media coverage on the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, or ADA. The ADA is the civil rights law for the nation’s nearly 60 million people with disabilities—including 200,000 Montanans with disabilities. The ADA guarantees equal access to public places, including schools, private businesses and government services, as well as employment protections for people with disabilities. In short, it promises that everyone, regardless of ability, is treated fairly."

Read more of Martin Blair's guest column for the Missoulian

UM Researcher Invited to Set National Goals on Research, Practice and Policy

“Absolutely!” is how Dr. Rosemary Hughes responded when invited to serve on the ‘Justice Strand’ at the National Goals 2015 meeting recently held in Washington, DC. Building on a similar effort in 2003, the National Goals 2015 initiative focuses on the current state of knowledge and identifies national goals in research, practice, and policy in intellectual and developmental disabilities. Based on civil rights protections guaranteed by laws such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the 2015 goals reflect the U.S. commitment to improving outcomes for people with disabilities.

Continue reading about Dr. Hughes

RTC: Rural - Resource Maps that Promote Health

mobile phone with gps map application

Community resource maps are a great tool for consumers who want to learn how their environment can support their health.  RTC: Rural recently completed a research project that focused on Personal Community Resource Mapping, a process that helps consumers develop a road map to better health.  Using this system, consumers analyze their own communities, the places they go and the people they see, and use a map to create a picture, set goals and solve problems.

Continue reading article on RTC: Rural website -

Upcoming Montana's Rural Health Initiative Webinar!

Building Inclusive Playgrounds in Montana:  Examples from Missoula and Helena

Thurday, August 7, 2014   |   12:00 to 1:00 P.M. MTN

Register here:

Learn how two Montana communities brought accessible opportunities to local playgrounds to make fun - inclusive. 

Meg Traci, Director of the Montana Disability and Health Program of the Rural Institute will be one of the presenters.

Outdoor play is critical for healthy child development, and children learn from play in a variety of ways:  physical, cognitive, emotional, and sensory.  Children with disabilities are empowered when the built environment meets their needs for play. Indeed, all children benefit when play spaces are designed for children of all abilities to play together.

Continue reading about RHI Webinar

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Browse the Rural Institute Collections at ScholarWorks University of Montana


Happenings at Rural Institute

Major Programs within the Rural Institute