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Walk audit focuses on accessibility and inclusion

On January 15, 2019, Missoula’s Downtown Master Plan held an Inclusive Interdisciplinary Walk Audit (I2Walk) as part of the Downtown Missoula Master Plan Public Design Workshop. Over the week, various workshop events gave community members an opportunity to share their vision and ideas for the future of downtown Missoula.

The I2Walk was co-sponsored by the University of Montana, the Rural Institute, and the Montana Disability & Health Program, as well as other local disability and community groups. Together, these groups help to build capacity within the state and local communities to support the inclusion of people with disabilities.

Dr. Meg Ann Traci, Research Associate Professor and RIIC employee, along with disability advocacy partners and stakeholders from around the state, collaborated to organize and lead the walk audit. To learn more about the development of the I2Walk, see: Walkable rural communities for all: Using inclusive, interdisciplinary walk audit workshops to achieve health equity, where you can find information about a poster presentation on the process presented at the APHA 2018 Annual Meeting & Expo.

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Rural Institute Partners with the YETI Program to Offer Support to Parents

YETI Youth Engagement Through Intervention

The Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities is partnering with the YETI (Youth Engagement Through Intervention) Program, which teaches communication skills to children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), to support the YETI STEP Program for parents and caregivers of children with ASD. YETI STEP (Youth Engagement Through Intervention—Support Through Education & Planning) offers resources to help families tailor behavioral strategies to their households.

Children with ASD can often benefit from targeted, specific intervention strategies that give them tools to communicate. However, parents and families may not have training and education to understand their children’s diagnoses, treatments, and interventions. To address this, the YETI STEP program helps families increase their knowledge and provides strategies to help their children improve behavior and increase communication. During the 90-minute sessions, families learn behavior management techniques to help their children increase language production. They then work one-on-one with a graduate student clinician to individualize the group lesson.

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Transition Programs for Montana High School Students with Disabilities

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The Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities and UM Disability Services for Students Offer Transition Programs for Montana High School Students with Disabilities

Montana high school students with disabilities now have two opportunities to explore and prepare for postsecondary education through the Movin’ On in Montana Summer Program and Club.

The Movin’ On in Montana Summer Program is a chance for high school students to experience college life, learn about disability rights, and connect with academic and community resources.  Students stay in residence halls, eat on campus, attend college lectures, participate in workshops, interact with college students of all abilities and explore Missoula’s recreational activities.  The free program will take place July 9th-12th at the University of Montana.

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All Of Us Webinar

All Of Us logo

Join us for a 1 hour webinar Wednesday, February 6th at 10:30 AM. MST on the National Institute for Health All of Us Research Program and precision medicine. This webinar is being supported by the Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD), in partnership with the American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD) as AAHD presents on the outreach it is doing to insure people with disabilities are included in this initiative. You’ll also hear what two UCEDDs are doing in their states to reach the disability community. Topics of this webinar include: Precision Medicine, Precision Health, The all of us Research Program inclusion.

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2018 Annual Report

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The Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities (RIIC) is pleased to offer our 2018 Annual Report. We are thankful for the opportunity to reflect on the last year, highlight our diverse projects and share our milestones.

Further, this year marks the 40th Anniversary of the Rural Institute. As Marty Blair, RIIC Executive Director, stated, "Thoughtful reflection on the lessons we have learned with our partners and the good we have done over four decades demonstrates we are at our best when working side-by-side with those who benefit from our efforts."

We look forward to another 40 years of collaboration and partnership!

A note from Eric Dishman, Director of All of Us research

Eric DishmanThis was the year that the All of Us Research Program opened our doors to everyone. So far over 150,000 of you have started to participate in the program, answering our call to improve the future of health! We are pleased to share that 100,000 of you have completed all the first steps. We are well on our way to speeding up health breakthroughs to drive individualized prevention and treatment for all of us. For all that we’ve achieved over the past year, 2019 promises to be just as exciting with our focus on getting and giving information.  For highlights from 2018 All of Us research program please watch the following video! Watch Our 2018 Highlights

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Your family health history could help change the future of health

woman and childKnowing and acting on your family health history is an important way to protect your health. Doctors use family health history to develop a more complete picture of your health and your risk factors for disease.  You and your family members share genes and may also share behaviors that contribute to your health. The All of Us Research Program is a medical study that will advance the future of medicine.

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The Future of Health Begins with You

AllOfUs FutureOfHealth

The future of health begins with you. Your Family history can tell researchers a lot about medical issues that might be related to your genes. What researchers find out from studying this information could lead to better treatment and disesase prevention for all of us.All of US research project wants to bring precision medicine to every American. The goal of All of Us is to advance precision medicine. Precision medicine is health care that is based on you as an individual. It takes into account factors like where you live, what you do, and your family health history. Precision medicine’s goal is to be able to tell people the best ways to stay healthy. If someone does get sick, precision medicine may help health care teams find the treatment that will work best.

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Interview with Stephen Mikita

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Stephen Mikita, J.D., is a Participant Representative on the Steering Committee for All of Us, a National Institutes of Health research study that aims to gather health data from 1 million Americans in order to advance precision medicine. An assistant attorney general for the state of Utah, Mikita makes time to participate in the Steering Committee in order to represent the unique concerns of those with disabilities. He took time to chat recently about his role with the project and his hopes for its ultimate impact.

How do you feel about being included in this historic project and what are your objectives in participating in this effort to build a more inclusive picture of Americans’ health?

I am one of four Participant Representative on the All of Us Steering Committee. This committee oversees all aspects of the program and helps give direction to it. I was selected from among a lot of applicants to be one of the first two—there are now a total of six Participant Representatives on the Steering Committee. I think it speaks well of the All of Us mission and commitment to include diverse Americans, and particularly those of us with disabilities, on the committee. Participants in the All of Us Research Program are treated as true partners. The focus is on capturing data and information to achieve the ambitious goals of precision medicine. One size doesn't fit all.

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Judge Strikes Down ACA – OE6 Continues

Picture of male leg amputee in wheelchair with message that ACA marketplace is still open for business

Last night a federal judge in Texas struck down the Affordable Care Act as unconstitutional. In this case, the legal challenge to the law was based on the fact that Congress eliminated the penalty for the individual mandate in last year’s tax bill and the Supreme Court had previously ruled that the individual mandate of the ACA was constitutional because it was an exercise of Congress’s taxing authority. With the elimination of the penalty, Republican attorneys general had challenged the law now saying that without the tax the individual mandate must fall and with it, the rest of the ACA.

Two things should be noted about this decision: first, it will almost certainly be appealed and will probably end up at the Supreme Court for a decision. Second, it will have no legal affect while these appeals go through so the ACA marketplace is still open for business. As today is the last day to enroll in many states (see yesterday’s blog for some exceptions), do not let yesterday’s court ruling deter you from enrolling in health insurance!

Read more at https://nationaldisabilitynavigator.org/2018/12/15/judge-strikes-down-aca-oe6-continues/

“I wish people knew that even though we have disabilities, we can prevail”

2018 MYTransitions/MAR Conference

Annual Montana Youth Transitions and Association of Rehabilitation Conference provides event for RIIC staff to support needs of youth with disabilities in Montana.

Several RIIC staff presented at the Montana Youth Transitions/Montana Association of Rehabilitation Conference in Great Falls, November 14 – 16.  The conference is geared towards youth with disabilities, families, educators, service providers and counselors to connect, collaborate, and learn more about transition planning.

A variety of workshops were offered including, but limited to, the areas of creative employment opportunities, self-advocacy, identifying and developing transition resources, assistive technology, and teaching and developing work readiness and quality IEPs.

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