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RTC:Rural - APRIL Conference-Virginia is for Advocates!

On October 16-19, Virginia Beach was host to the APRIL conference.  Held annually for the last 21 years, the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) gathers its membership from across the country to network, offer training and technical assistance, and to provide  much needed opportunities for socialization and collaboration for staff of Centers for Independent Living who serve rural communities.

Lillie Greiman, Tannis Hargrove, Andrew Myers and Tom Seekins presented updates on research projects to APRIL membership.

Read more about the APRIL Conference on the RTC:Rural website: http://rtc.ruralinstitute.umt.edu/april-conference-virginia-is-for-advocates/

RTC: Rural - National Disability Employment Month

business man in wheelchair pushing button to open door 300x200Since the passage of the ADA, more Americans with disabilities have entered the workforce but there is still much work to be done.  RTC: Rural conducts research projects that help support the health and wellness of people with disabilities hoping to find or maintain employment.

Working Well with a Disability is a six-week peer-facilitated workshop that builds on the content of Living Well and considers health in the context of employment.  Participants in the workshop learn the skills to maintain life balance, manage stress, and improve their health in support of looking for or maintaining employment.

You can read more of this article on the RTC: Rural website.

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RTC: Rural Awarded Development Grant

RTC logoThe Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities has received a five year, $2.5 million health promotion development grant.  This grant, awarded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) will fund the development of a state-of-the-art health promotion program.  This program will advance the ability of people with disabilities to live independently in the community by increasing access to our current evidence-based health promotion curriculum, Living Well with a Disability, using online multimedia that will support increased motivation and confidence for health improvement.

Read more about the grant on the RTC:Rural website: http://rtc.ruralinstitute.umt.edu/rtc-rural-awarded-development-grant/

RTC: Rural - Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living-Annual Conference

2015 April ConferenceThe Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL) is holding its annual conference in Virginia Beach October 16th-19th.  The theme of this year’s conference is “Virginia is for Advocates: Starting a New Revolution at the Beach,” and the focus is on independent living, advocacy and transition services.  Attendees come to the conference from Centers for Independent Living (CIL) across the country and include executive directors, advocates, direct services staff, peers and youth.  During the Friday pre-conference, youth will have a day devoted to learning about the ADA, disability history and creating real change in their communities.  At the general conference sessions, participants will have the opportunity to attend trainings designed to support their centers in service delivery and advocacy.

Read more about the conference on the RTC:Rural website: http://rtc.ruralinstitute.umt.edu/association-of-programs-for-rural-independent-living-annual-conference/

RTC:Rural - State of the Science

On September 22nd, the RTC: Rural hosted its third State of the Science (SOS) Rural Colloquium on Environment and Participation for people with disabilities. The International Classification of Function, Disability and Health focuses on participation as a dynamic interaction between an individual and the environment. Environments that foster participation through accessibility features are less disabling to the individual with mobility or other impairments and facilitate health. In this SOS event, presenters focused on both the interior and exterior environments and the independent measures used to evaluate them.

Read more about the State of the Science conference.

"Visit Montana Colleagues" trip report by Marty Blair

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1250.1. That is the number of miles I traveled last week on my "Visit Montana Colleagues" trip.

I started in Helena with the new Developmental Disabilities Program (DDP) director, the MT Part C Coordinator, and the director of Disability and Employment Transitions (MT's VR agency). I spent almost two hours with our federal partner, the MT Developmental Disabilities Council.

In Billings I met with the medical and administration staff at The Children's Clinic, I also met with the director of PLUK, Inc and the director of Early Childhood Intervention (ECI).

On to Glendive where I spent several hours with the Prairie View Special Services Coop coordinator (provides special education and related services in 13 eastern counties) and the new president of Dawson Community College.

Continue reading about Marty's trip

UM Students Helping Montanans with Developmental Disabilities

“I locate, pack, and ship adaptive equipment all over Montana.” Megan Murphy, a UM pharmacy student, is talking about her work-study job with the Montana Adaptive Equipment Program (MAEP). For more than two decades, the program has provided adaptive equipment to Montanans with developmental disabilities. Megan is one of several UM students who are the hands that make sure people from Superior to Sydney get the equipment they need to be more independent. Megan says that this experience has “really opened my eyes to other opportunities.” She adds, “When I'm a pharmacist, I'll be asked a lot of questions regarding medical equipment and now I feel like I know what I'm talking about.”

Continue reading about Megan and MAEP

UM Accessibility Policy

The Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities applauds the University of Montana for developing a fairly comprehensive Accessibility Implementation Plan to enact its new Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Policy. While no policy is perfect, this initiative represents a huge step forward for the University. The policy is designed to provide full access to students, staff and visitors to the UM community. It addresses web access, accessibility of instructional materials and documents, audio and video access and procurement of hardware and software that is accessible to people of all abilities. On behalf of our staff, students and the thousands of Montanans that we serve, we thank UM for taking this bold step, for doing the "right" thing and for working hard to fully implement this policy across the several UM campuses.

Martin E. Blair, PhD
Executive Director
The Rural Institute, University of Montana

UM Student and Research Professor Teach Each Other Valuable Lessons

Hyeok Yun, an undergraduate student from South Korea, is gaining a wider perspective on how art therapy and counseling are impacted by disability research. Under the direction of Dr. Craig Ravesloot, a research professor at UM’s Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities, Hyeok’s work is exposing her to other issues too. “I didn't pay attention to or think about rural communities very much. I've grown up and lived in big cities. This job made me think as if I were in their shoes,” she says adding, “I’m very happy being a part of this project.”

Continue reading about Hyeok Yun and Dr. Craig Ravesloot

UM Research Faculty Invited to the White House Summit and Research Forum on Improved Health and Fitness for Americans with Disabilities

Dr. Meg Ann Traci was one of a select group of advocates and experts recently invited to the White House to discuss ways to get people with disabilities more physically active. Dr. Traci, Director of Montana’s Disability and Health program administered through UM’s Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities, attended the White House meeting on October 6-7, 2014. She commented, “The discussion made me more aware of Montana’s unique capacity to increase access to healthy lifestyle activities for Americans with disabilities, especially those living in rural areas.” “Representing Montana disability and public health partners, I strengthened our connections with national advocates, large research organization collaborators and federal agency administrators—all of whom work together for inclusion and health equity for people with disabilities,” she continued.

Continue reading about Dr. Meg Ann Traci's trip to the White House Summit