RTC/CL Happenings, Fall 2013

Changes & Updates

The RTC/CL research and advisory team has undergone several changes in recent months. Jean Ann Summers is now the Research Director for our Center, succeeding Megan O’Brien. Megan’s other research responsibilities in Social Welfare necessitated this change, and Jean Ann has also taken over as the principal investigator on R-7, the health navigator intervention.

Amanda Reichard, formerly at the University of Kansas, is now working with our colleagues Charles Drum and Andrew Houtenville at the University of New Hampshire Institute on Disability. Amanda’s presence is missed in Lawrence, but we’re glad she remained on our larger Center team.

At NIDRR, our program officer, David Keer, has retired. We developed a wonderful working relationship with David over the years, and now we’re looking forward to a long and productive relationship with Pimjai Sudsawad, our new project officer. You may have met her at the Bridging Meeting.

Finally, this summer we mourned the passing of Linda Gonzales, who was an invaluable friend and astute advisor to several of our centers over the years. We are grateful, however, that Ron Garcia has agreed to join our Scientific and Consumer Advisory Panel in her place. We’ll send you more information about Ron soon.

We want to again thank those of you who attended our Bridging Meeting last spring in Alexandria, Va., either in person or remotely. We’re completing a report now on that two-day event and our next steps; please look for the report in December.


Amanda Reichard, Dot Nary, and Jamie Simpson published "Chronic Conditions and Disability: Research Contributions and Implications." Disability and Health Journal, which is now online. In January 2014, it will be published in the journal’s special print issue titled “Chronic Conditions and Disability: Research Contributions and Implications.” 

Dot Nary is co-author of “Exercise for Everyone: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Project Workout on Wheels in Promoting Exercise Among Wheelchair Users.” Lead author is Katherine Froehlich-Grobe, with other authors Jaehoon Lee, Lauren Aaronson, Richard A. Washburn, and Todd D. Little. The article appeared online in July in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and is in press for the print version. 


Advisory panel member Stanley Holbrook and his colleague Dara Baldwin made a presentation on “Health Disparities of People with Disabilities: Influence of Race and Ethnicity” at the annual conference of the National Council on Independent Living in Washington, D.C., July 2013.

Center researchers made presentations at the American Public Health Association conference in Boston, Nov. 2013.

  • Glen White presented “The ADA Accommodations Model: A New Tool for Empowering Postsecondary Students with Disabilities.”
  • Dot Nary presented “Is There Really No Place Like Home? An Exploratory Study of the Impact of Non-Visitable Homes on Wheelchair Users.”
  • Craig Ravesloot organized and presented in the Disability Section’s Chair’s Forum titled “The Construction of Disability and Health: The Role of Spaces and Places.” Dot Nary spoke on visitability in the forum and Glen White moderated.

In Oct. 2013, Center researchers made oral presentations at the national APRIL conference in Tulsa.

  • Glen White presented “Building Capacity for Full Community Participation” with Jack Stratton and John Meinkowsky, CIL staff members who are taking part in the intervention they discussed.
  • Dot Nary presented “Invisitability: a Family Discussion” about her work on the effects of invisitable homes on the participation of wheelchair users.
  • Craig Ravesloot and Tom Seekins presented “Will ACA Make Medicare Compatible with IL? Questions, questions, questions….”

Dot Nary presented her research on home visitability for an IL conversation hosted by APRIL in Aug. 2013. “Visitability: Advocating for Basic Home Access" is on the APRIL website as an audio recording. Nary spoke about disability and health to undergraduate nursing and health studies students at the University of Missouri-Kansas City in Oct. 2013. She met with about 60 students in the “Diversity in Health” class to discuss health disparities experienced by people with disabilities.

Martha Hodgesmith presented “Listening to Their Voices – Improving Access to Health Care Using a Community Engagement Initiative Model” at the National Home & Community-Based Services Conference in Arlington, Va., Sept. 2013. This meeting was attended by people who work in the field of Medicaid long-term supports and services. The process that Hodgesmith discussed and resulting recommendations are outlined in Improving Access to Health Care for Kansans with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: A White Paper.

Martha Hodgesmith, Andrew Houtenville and Val Renault were panelists for a conference titled “Knowledge Translation Measurement: Concepts, Strategies and Tools.” The three-day online conference discussed theoretical foundations, models for and methods of KT measurement. As panelists, our team members visited KTDRR and responded to speakers’ presentations made during the Oct. 29 and 30 sessions. Learn more about the conference at KTDRR

Jessica Dashner, David Gray, Sarah Zaas and Irene Hsu made a poster presentation at the Washington University Program in OT Scholarship Day in April 2013. The title was “Web-based training program for consumers with disabilities and their personal attendants.”

Fabricio Balcazar presented “Critical consciousness raising: Comparing strategies across academic and community settings” and “Critical awareness among high school youth: A peer-teaching approach” at the Biennial Conference of the Society for Community Research and Action in Miami, June 2013. He was a discussant for “Understanding the role of mentoring on promoting youth’s well-being” at the same conference.

Ashmeet Oberoi, Fabricio Balcazar and Yolanda Suarez-Balcazar made a poster presentation titled “Predictors of Rehabilitation Outcomes for African Americans in a Vocational Rehabilitation State Agency” at the 14th Biennial Conference of the Society for Community Research and Action in Miami, June 2013.


Glen White is now the Secretary of the United States International Council on Disabilities, located in Washington, D.C. He also began his term as Chair of Delta Air Lines National Advisory Board on Disability in August. He is the current Committee Chair of the Research and Quality Assurance Committee under this board.

Martha Hodgesmith was elected to the KU Law Alumni Board of Governors in Oct. 2013. Board members represent districts that cover Kansas and the rest of the country.

Dot Nary has been appointed to the University of Maine’s Graduate Faculty for a five-year term as part of her service on a dissertation committee. She has also been appointed to the Accessibility Executive Advisory Council at the University of Kansas.

Jessica Dashner serves on the Admissions Committee for the Program in Occupational Therapy at Washington University in St. Louis.

Fabricio Balcazar is a Board Member Emeritus for the Youth Connection Charter School for Dropouts in Chicago and a member of the Hispanic Advisory Board for the Division of Rehabilitation Services, State of Illinois.


The KU Work Group for Community Health and Development has been honored by two national organizations. The Division of the Civilian Volunteer Medical Reserve Corps awarded the Community Tool Box with the Medical Corps Reserve Partnership Organization Award. The Community Tool Box partnered with MRC to provide capacity building support for their public health workforce of more than 200,000 volunteers around the United States.

The Society for Community Research and Action, Division 27 of the American Psychological Association, awarded the Community Tool Box the John Kalafat Community Program Award for its “global contribution to our field.” RTC/CL researchers are using the Community Tool Box and its online documentation system in project R-11 to build capacity at centers for independent living. A new Community Tool Box was launched in October, 2013 (including resources in Arabic).


Registration is now open for the Annual Compendium of Disability Statistics and the Third Annual Research-to-Policy Roundtable, which is sponsored by Andrew Houtenville’s Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Statistics and Demographics (StatsRRTC). Both events will be held on December 11, 2013 in Washington, D.C. and broadcast live via the web.

Spreading the Good Word(s)

The RTC on Independent Living published the 8th edition of Guidelines: How to Write and Report About People with Disabilities and its companion poster, “Your Words, Our Image,” in June 2013. The brochure discusses portrayal issues and recommends preferred terminology while the poster provides a short list of words to use and others to avoid.

We’re delighted to report that our disability language resources are being used by people in a wide variety of fields. Here are some recent accomplishments from our dissemination:

  • The American Association for the Advancement of Science will distribute the poster to participants in the 2014 Emerging Researchers National Conference in STEM. The objectives of the conference are to help undergraduate and graduate students enhance their science communication skills and better understand how to prepare for science careers in a global workforce. (Sept. 2013 request)
  • The Institute for Human Centered Design is including the Guidelines and poster on a new website on accessibility and universal design that they are creating through a contract with the National Endowment for the Arts in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute for Museum and Library Services. (Aug. 2013)
  • The Mayo Clinic is using the Guidelines in an online training module on disability awareness that will be offered to all staff, including physicians and nurses at Mayo’s three sites. (Feb. 2013)
  • The Guidelines was cited in an article written for nurses. Linda B. Borenstein, MSN, CRNP, FNP-BC, published “Communicating Respectfully with People Who Have Disabilities” in Home Healthcare Nurse. (Nov. 2013)
  • A lawyer with a visual disability distributed the Guidelines in her presentation on “Elimination of Bias” for the San Francisco Bar Association. (Nov. 2013)
  • A wayfinding consulting group for the Canadian Museum of Human Rights (Winnipeg, MB) included the Guidelines in its Wayfinding Masterplan for the museum. One of CMHR's mandates is to demonstrate inclusivity to all visitors and staff. (Oct. 2013)
  • The National Catholic Partnership on Disability included both documents in its press packet for the media while hosting its national conference in Houston. The group is also using the poster as part of a Disability Ministry curriculum which will be used by church leaders across the country. (Oct. 2013)