RTC/CL Happenings, Winter 2014

Ron Garcia Joins SCAP

Welcome to Ron Garcia, who has joined our Scientific and Consumer Advisory Panel (SCAP). Garcia has served as the Executive Director of New Vistas, a Center for Independent Living in Santa Fe, New Mexico, since 1997, and has a 30-year career in non-profit management and administration. We appreciate Ron’s willingness to join us following the death of Linda Gonzales, and look forward to his contributions to our work.


Ashmeet Oberoi completed her PhD in Community Psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago in Dec. 2013. Her dissertation title is “Religion in the Hallways: Academic Performance and Psychological Distress among Muslim Adolescents in U.S. Public High Schools.” She is now a postdoctoral research associate continuing to work with Fabricio Balcazar at the Center on Capacity Building for Minorities with Disabilities, Department of Disability and Human Development, University of Illinois.

Catherine Graham is now the Executive Director of the South Carolina Spinal Cord Injury Research Fund. She also continues to do some contract work for the University of South Carolina School of Medicine.

Rural Realities: Testifying for the National Council on Disability

Several of the Center’s partners and colleagues testified in a panel on living with a disability in rural America when the National Council on Disability (NCD) held its quarterly meeting in Topeka, KS, on Dec. 4-5, 2013. The NCD is an independent federal agency making recommendations to the President and Congress to enhance the quality of life for all Americans with disabilities and their families. Learn more about the testimony.

Tom Seekins spoke about the “rural accessibility penalty” for people with disabilities. Center Director Glen White spoke about education for people with disabilities during a public comment session.

Disability Statistics Resource Released

Andrew Houtenville released the Annual Disability Statistics Compendium in Dec. 2013, which is produced by Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Statistics and Demographics (StatsRRTC) at the University of New Hampshire. This web-based tool gathers disability statistics published by various federal agencies together in one place. When working on legislative and other matters relating to persons with disabilities, the Compendium will make finding and using disability statistics easier. A few of the findings from 2012:

  • Poverty: The poverty rate was 29.2 percent for individuals with a work limitation and/or a broad disability.
  • Employment Gap: The employment rate for individuals with disabilities was 31.1 percent versus 73.6 percent of people without disabilities.
  • Living in the Community: The prevalence of disability increased with age in all states for adults age 18 and older.

Shaping the Research Agenda

Jean Ann Summers was invited to participate in an advisory work group in Dec. 2013, sponsored by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). The work group developed recommendations on a new priority called “Patient-Empowering Care Management,” which will become a PCORI request for proposals (RFP) in the coming months.

Advisors Blog on Disability Issues

Stan Holbrook wrote a column on Health Disparities and People with Disabilities for the Disability.gov blog. In the June 12, 2013 post, he discusses provisions in the Affordable Care Act that, if enforced, “can begin to bridge the gap and break down barriers contributing to health disparities for people with disabilities.”

Bob Michaels writes a blog called The Independent Living Ideal. In addition to his posts about a wide variety of subjects related to independent living (IL), his blog offers a comprehensive tool box.

In the News

Dot Nary’s research on home visitability was featured in the Lawrence Journal-World on Dec. 17, 2013. The article “Make sure your home is ‘visitable’ during the holidays for guests with disabilities” highlights the health aspects of staying socially connected.

New Video Ready to Share

Christina Holt and staff at the Community Tool Box have released Tools to Change Our World, a new video about the online resource. The CTB is being used in our R-11 intervention. Please share with your colleagues, friends and loved ones who want to change the world, too.


David Gray contributed to a report issued by the World Health Organization in Dec. 2013 titled "International Perspectives on Spinal Cord Injury." As a contributor, he wrote portions of three chapters (“Attitudes, relationships and adjustment”; “Spinal cord injury and enabling environments”; “Education and employment”), recruited people to share their experiences, and met with the editors in London and Geneva in 2012.

Dot Nary is co-author of “Exercise for Everyone: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Project Workout on Wheels in Promoting Exercise Among Wheelchair Users.” (Volume 95, Issue 1, January 2014, Pages 20–28). Lead author is Katherine Froehlich-Grobe, with other authors Jaehoon Lee, Lauren Aaronson, Richard A. Washburn, and Todd D. Little. 

Fabricio Balcazar co-authored this article: Taylor-Ritzler, T., Suarez-Balcazar, Y., García-Iriarte, E., Henry, D., & Balcazar, F.E.,  (2013). Understanding and Measuring Evaluation Capacity: A Model and Instrument Validation Study. American Journal of Evaluation. 34(2) 190-206.


Dot Nary and Val Renault presented information about people with disabilities for students in a Journalism “Documentary” course at KU in Jan. 2014. They are partnering with Journalism Professor Jerry Crawford to advise the students in the class as they research selected disability topics. The students will then produce multi-media documentaries for the capstone course.

Glen White and Stan Holbrook made presentations at the 17th annual SILC (Statewide Independent Living Council) Congress held Jan. 18-21, 2014, which focused on state plans for independent living (SPIL). Holbrook spoke on “Steps for Building Organizational Infrastructure for Cultural Competency” and White presented “Implementing the SPIL – Online Documents and Support System as Evidence.”

Craig Ravesloot and Andrew Myers presented Time Use Among Americans With and Without Disabilities at the University of Montana’s Day of Dialogue, a campus-wide symposium on diversity held in Nov. 2013. Their research shows dramatic differences based on income, impairment status and availability of transportation that highlight the impact of disability on people's lives. Ravesloot and Myers worked from these differences to develop a dialogue about opportunities and access for everyone.