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Advisor Profile: Stan Holbrook

Six people pose in front of a planter with red flowers.

Center staff met with our visiting advisor in August. From left: Glen White,

Shelby Akers, Stan Holbrook, Val Renault (kneeling),

Jean Ann Summers and Hayley Burghart.

Sept. 8, 2017 - Stan Holbrook has long experience in working with centers for independent living (CILs), which are nonprofit organizations that provide resources, training, and other supports to people with disabilities. Currently, he is executive director of the Pennsylvania Council on Independent Living.

Holbrook is a member of the Scientific and Consumer Advisory Panel (SCAP) for the Research & Training Center on Community Living, a group of external advisors who make sure the Center’s research is both rigorous and relevant to the lives of people with disabilities.

He reflected on his role as an advisor: “Being a part of the Scientific and Consumer Advisory Panel has been a rich experience for me. First of all, I became intimately involved with the many research projects developed to promote independence and quality of life for people with disabilities. Secondly, through my involvement, I began to see how many of the research projects could be applied by centers for independent living to increase organizational capacity and empower consumers to lead self-directed lives.”

Continuing the Work

In August 2017, Holbrook visited the KU Center in person to share ideas with the researchers about how to continue disseminating their work to transform people’s lives. “We explored ways to bring their research findings to practical application, as well as looking at ways to enhance the value of their website and other materials as user-friendly resources for CILs and other interested partners,” he said.

Holbrook had already helped the research team with one important task: finding organizations to take part in their research to improve community participation for people with disabilities. Through his professional contacts in Pennsylvania, he connected the researchers implementing a health promotion project with several CILs that were interested in trying the intervention.

Jean Ann Summers, research director of the Center, leads this project called Health Access for Independent Living (HAIL), and she is grateful to Holbrook for helping establish a relationship with CILs in Pennsylvania. “For our earliest tests of this program, we worked with two centers in Kansas. It’s important to replicate the results from Kansas centers to other states, and this relationship also allowed us to test our ability to deliver the training remotely.”

Martha Hodgesmith, the Center’s associate director, notes that the work with Pennsylvania also enables the center to explore policy and Medicaid funding implications for the HAIL program in regard to Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Medicaid Managed Care.

“Pennsylvania is introducing LTSS Managed Care for its Medicaid recipients, and the managed care organizations will be aware of the HAIL program through their relationship with the CILs,” she said. “This gives us a valuable precedent for evaluating the effectiveness of the program in terms of both health outcomes and cost effectiveness in a LTSS Medicaid Managed Care environment.”

Glen White, Center director, said Holbrook helped the research team for the Community Capacity Building project by providing feedback on a new video, “Stoplights Don’t Stop Us,” which showcases the work of a Kansas CIL and its consumers to make their community of Emporia more accessible. 

“Stan also spent extensive time with the team discussing a new publication that empowers people to make community change,” White said. “He provided input regarding the content and suggestions for dissemination of this tool, titled "Your Action Planning Guide for Promoting Full Community Participation Among People with Disabilities" (PDF).

“The folks at the RTC were very welcoming,” Holbrook said. “I had a great time working with them, brainstorming and sharing ideas. The RTC has a robust website [rtcil.org] full of resources that would be valuable to CILS. I encourage disability professionals to take a look at them.”

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