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Bob Liston, RTC: Rural Researcher and Advocate, Retires

Bob Liston 2014 DiverseUBob Liston, a long time disability rights activist, and a research associate for RTC: Rural, is retiring.  Bob began his work at the RTC in 2008 with a focus on nursing home emancipation for people with disabilities, and over the last seven years has participated in research on violence and abuse against men with disabilities and helped develop a peer training program for Centers for Independent Living.  His most recent project was conducting outreach to disability stakeholders to get their input on RTC research projects and product development.

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Involving Consumers in Disability Research

man in wheel chair using computer 200x300Involving consumers in disability research helps ensure the products of research are relevant and useful.  Research and Training Centers across the country work hard to incorporate consumers into the research process and are mandated to do so by their primary funding agency, the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research, (NIDILRR).  This mandate for consumer involvement is crucial, not only to make sure research actually benefits people with disabilities but also to support and affirm nothing about us without us, the Independent Living Movement’scall to action for consumer involvement at all levels of research and service.

Continue reading more on the RTC:Rural website.

Standing is Critical for Bone Health, Digestion, Mental Health

Oftentimes, people who primarily depend upon wheelchairs for their mobility spend their day sitting in the wheelchair and their nights lying in bed. Our long bones require two forces in order to be healthy: weight bearing against gravity and muscle pull.

Without these forces, our bones weaken and can eventually fracture easily during simple daily activities. Standing improves breathing, digestion, and spinal alignment. Standing helps to prevent circulation issues, obesity, skin breakdown, and idiopathic bone fractures. Standing allows people to be on eye-level during social interactions.

Everybody – adult or child -  needs to stand on their feet part of every day. There are simply no exceptions to this rule. With some people, this requires assistance, special equipment and/or additional motivators. Sometimes, when people with IDD move from school to their adult life, this part of their daily routine is lost. We must all work together to restore safe and healthy standing and physical activity to everyone’s daily routines. Before beginning a new activity, always check with the primary care provider on the team.

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RTC:Rural - Accessibility Promotes Participation

Girl standing with her grandmother sitting in a wheelchair 87388731 200x300Accessibility features of public and private spaces ensure that people with disabilities can fully participate in life activities.  Researchers at RTC: Rural have been studying accessibility in the context of events and other community settings to see how people with disabilities are included in all the activities a community has to offer.

While the need for hospitals, grocery stores and schools to be accessible is widely recognized, we don’t always consider the accessibility of the places in which people recreate.  Participation isn’t just limited to the basic necessities of daily life such as medical visits and shopping.  Opportunities for socialization and outdoor recreation are just as important.

Read the recent news post on the RTC: Rural website.

The Older Americans Act: Aging Well Since 1965

President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Older Americans Act (OAA) into law in July 1965. Over the past 50 years, the Act has provided a national network of aging services and funding that helps older adults to live and thrive in communities of their choice for as long as possible. These services include home-delivered and congregate meals, caregiver support, preventive health services, transportation, job training, elder abuse prevention, and so much more. This milestone anniversary is a time to celebrate the ways the OAA has impacted the lives of older adults and their families across the nation. But it also provides an opportunity to highlight the importance of OAA-funded programs, inclusive community living, and healthy aging.

OAA50 WebBadgeMediumSquareThe theme for the 50th anniversary of the OAA is Get into the Act. Visit their website for outreach materials to educate and inspire others in your community.

Knowledge Translation-What Is It?

Knowledge translation refers to the practice of getting research off the shelves and into the hands of those who can benefit from it.  Originating in the health sciences, knowledge translation activities focus not only on the implementation of research but translating research results into useable, understandable formats to benefit both service providers and consumers. In order to make sure disability research conducted at RTC: Rural will be useful and relevant once the project is complete and to enhance the success of knowledge translation activities, we involve consumers in project development right from the start.

Read more about RTC:Rural knowledge translation.

Fishing Derby

Montana’s outdoors are some of the most beautiful natural landscapes on earth. Unfortunately many Montanans have a difficult time enjoying all the outdoors has to offer due to physical limitations. MonTECH is an organization that uses state funding and grants to loan assistive technology to Montanans in need.

Recently MonTECH joined up with the Missoula Parks and Recreation department to put on a series of youth fishing derbies. During 2 sessions between 70 and 90 families participated in the derby fishing in the Clark Fork river in Missoula. During the event Parks and Rec. taught sustainable fishing practices to the youth and their families. They even awarded prizes for biggest and smallest fish, as well as prettiest and ugliest fish.

Continue reading about MonTECH Recreation

Rick Heitz - building up the advocacy network in Montana

The Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities is looking forward to working with Rick Heitz. Rick is the Montana State Coordinator for Pacific Alliance for Disability Self-Advocacy (PADSA), visit:

Here are Rick’s own words about himself: “I became involved in the disability community when I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease called Sjogren’s in April 2008. I have many of the symptoms of MS (Multiple Sclerosis) which is a slow degenerating disease.

Continue reading about Rick