Overview: Research and Training Center on Community Living

The goal of the Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC/CL) is to increase the interdependence and full community participation of people with disabilities through the development and implementation of scientifically sound, theoretically driven and evidence-based data analysis and interventions. The 13 core projects represent a comprehensive, integrated and robust array of activities promoting community living among people with disabilities. These projects recognize “disability” as an interaction between the characteristics of an individual and his/her environment.

Six research projects (Core A) will conduct secondary data analysis to provide a knowledge foundation about how the barriers to and experiences of community living may differ across sociodemographic and geographic groups within the diverse population of individuals with disabilities. We will mine this information from the American Time Use Survey, the American Housing Survey, the American Community Survey, the Medical Expenditures Panel Survey, a statewide Vocational Rehabilitation database, and the PARTS and SPARC survey data. 

We will supplement these data analyses with two systematic scoping literature reviews (Core B) on services and supports that present barriers or provide opportunities for individuals with disabilities to participate fully in the community, including factors that may initiate and maintain their continuity of community living. 

Five intervention projects (Core C) will evaluate the efficacy of programs, policies and practices to improve services and supports that provide community participation opportunities for individuals with disabilities. These interventions will address consumer participation needs in the areas of housing, health, recreation and community and civic involvement. Several of these address the services and supports needed to transition from institutions, nursing homes, and other health and community institutions, to the community and to maintain continuity of community living. 

Project investigators and staff will work with consumers with disabilities to regularly incorporate their input on individual projects as they are planned and implemented. Additionally, we will integrate into all of our projects the advice of a Scientific and Consumer Advisory Panel composed of nationally recognized disability researchers and advocates.

As an extension of our accumulated knowledge, many of the research, intervention and knowledge translation projects will utilize the participation measures and methods that we developed in our current RRTC on Measurement and Interdependence in Community Living. Additionally, through multiple established partnerships with other NIDRR funded RTCs and DRRPs, the proposed Center will benefit from many years of scientific knowledge and practice produced from other investigators in the field of disability research. 

The Center will employ and add to the latest knowledge translation approaches to disseminate research results that target multiple audiences, including advocates, policymakers, and program planners. The goal of the dissemination plan is to translate knowledge to allow scientists, policymakers, consumers, and consumer advocates in the area of disability and independent living to create and maintain greater opportunities for community living and participation of people with disabilities.