Spring 2021 RTC/IL Newsletter

In this Edition: 

Director's Welcome

Jean Hall, director of Kansas DHPGreetings from the RTC/IL!

At long last, springtime is here. For many, this year’s historic low temperatures and rolling blackouts remind us of the importance of emergency preparedness for people with disabilities, and we invite you to prepare with our emergency preparedness resources. Visit rtcil.org for information about making an emergency preparedness kit; preparing service animals, pets, and other animals for a disaster; and staying safe in unpredictable times. While you are on our website, you can also explore RTC/IL's curated COVID-19 Resources, which are continuously updated.

Spring also brings with it a multitude of opportunities for outdoor recreation, and RTC/IL staff have stayed busy promoting recreational opportunities for people with disabilities. Jay Schulz, graduate research assistant, has worked to improve the accessibility of the Lawrence Community Garden, and Dot Nary, RTC/IL researcher, is indexing accessible recreation opportunities across the state of Kansas across the state of Kansas. If you know of an opportunity to include, please contact dotn@ku.edu.

All the best,

Jean Hall, Director
Research and Training Center on Independent Living 

Lawrence Community Garden Now More Accessible

the raised beds at the community gardenJay Schulz, a graduate research assistant, worked with Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health to improve access to the Lawrence Community Garden. Improvements include four large, two foot tall, raised beds; two wheelchair accessible raised beds; and accessible signage that includes large, clear pictures, ADA-compliant text, and Braille labels. In addition to promoting greater community participation for Lawrence residents with disabilities, the garden increases access to free, healthy foods for low-income families in the Lawrence community.

Assistive Technology (AT) Fact Sheet Available

Assistive technology (AT) can maintain or improve the independence and function of people with disabilities and seniors as they learn, work, participate in recreation, and go about their everyday living activities. AT includes magnifying glasses for people with low vision, wheelchair lifts for embarking and disembarking from a vehicle, head trackers to support use of a computer for people with limited hand movement, and many other technologies. 

A new fact sheet from RTC/IL describes the varieties of AT, explains its importance, and provides background on the Assistive Technology Act of 2004, which helps people with disabilities select, obtain, and use assistive technology. The fact sheet is useful to consumers and the professionals who serve them. Download the AT fact sheet at the RTC/IL fact sheet page

Hall Elected to NASI

Jean Hall, RTC/IL Director, joined 55 other distinguished experts in being elected to the National Academy of Social Insurance (NASI) this year. NASI educates the public on the connections between social insurance--such as Workers Compensation, Unemployment Insurance, and Medicare--and economic security. "It is essential to include various types of expertise and disciplines when it comes to the challenges we face - from the impacts of COVID-19 to systemic racism in our society and economy," William Arnone, the Academy's CEO, said of the recent elections. Read the press release at NASI

Hall and Nary Write Book Chapters

Jean Hall and Dot Nary have each authored a chapter for the new book, Public Health Perspectives on Disability: Science, Social Justice, Ethics and Beyond (2nd edition). In “The Interrelationship of Health Insurance and Employment for People with Disabilities,” Hall evaluates how access to adequate health insurance affects the health and employment of people with disabilities or chronic illnesses. Nary and Lindsey Mullis of the University of Kentucky wrote the chapter “Disability and Health Programs: Emerging Partners,” which describes the development of state disability and health programs and the continuing challenges to meeting the health needs of individuals with disabilities.   

A quarter of the adult population of the United States has a disability, making people with disabilities the largest minority group in the country. Research confirms that people with disabilities experience significant health disparities. Too often, research and policy on disability focus on medical determinants of health. Public Health Perspectives on Disability considers the field of public health to be the practice of social justice using science-based strategies that improve population health, which requires a strong focus on social determinants of health such as housing, geographical location, education, and employment.

Shinnick Goddard Successfully Defends Dissertation

kelsey shinnick goddardKelsey Shinnick Goddard, RTC/IL researcher, successfully defended her doctoral dissertation. "Examining the Effects of a Home Usability Intervention on Community and Home Participation" examines the effects of the Home Usability Program and ways to address the limitations of traditional home usability research methods. Please join us in congratulating Dr. Shinnick Goddard.  

Koon Leads Crossfit Study

lyndsie koonLyndsie Koon, RTC/IL researcher, is leading a study of Crossfit’s effectiveness for people with disabilities (Morning Chalkup). The study will provide much-needed data for healthcare providers, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and others who use Crossfit in their work and fill an important void in the body of research on functional training for people with disabilities—before now, only one pilot study has ever taken up the question. Crossfit deserves examination because in addition to promoting overall health and a stronger sense of self, it supports everyday movements of importance to people with disabilities, Koon says.

Koon Receives KU Research Grant

Dr. Lyndsie Koon, a researcher with RTC/IL, was awarded a two year, $20,000 grant from the New Faculty General Research Fund in the University of Kansas Office of Research. Her proposal "Self-determination through technology: Understanding physical activity engagement for manual wheelchair users" is aimed at discovering the ways activity technology, such as Fit Bits, can motivate manual wheelchair users to increase their physical activity.

Coulter to Participate in Mentoring Circles

seth coulterSeth Coulter, RTC/IL’s communication specialist, has been accepted to the 2021 cohort of the University of Kansas Mentoring Circles for Disability Inclusion. The Mentoring Circles Program, which culminates in a capstone project, intends to broaden participants’ perspectives on disability inclusion and teach participants how to promote a more inclusive workplace. The program also includes an overview of the disability rights movement, the Americans with Disabilities Act, employment accommodations, and microaggressions. 

2021 National Survey on Health and Disability Available

black male wheelchair user. According to the 2020 NSHD, 45% of Americans with disabilities have unmet health care needs. Let us learn from you so policymakers can learn from us. Take the 2021 National Survey on Health and DisabilityThe 2021 National Survey on Health and Disability (NSHD) (NSHD) is now available to adults over the age of 18. The survey is anonymous and your responses help with our on-going research to improve health care services and access for people with disabilities and/or chronic health conditions. It is especially important we hear from people all over the country during the Covid-19 pandemic. And you can enter a drawing to win one of fifteen $100 gift cards.


Smith S, Hall JP, Kurth NK. (2021) Perspectives on health policy from people with disabilities. Journal of Disability Policy Studies. 

Ipsen C, Kurth NK, Hall JP. (2021) Evaluating MTurk as a recruitment tool for rural people with disabilities. Disability and Health Journal.

McCormick ST, Kurth NK, Chambless CE, Ipsen C, & Hall, JP. (2021). Case Management Strategies to Promote Employment for Transition-Age Youth With Disabilities. Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals. 

Koon LM, Remillard ET, Mitzner TL, Rogers WA. (2020). Aging Concerns, Challenges, and Everyday Solution Strategies (ACCESS) for adults aging with a long-term mobility disability. Disability and Health Journal.  

Nary D, Mullis LC. (2020). “Disability and Health Programs: Emerging Partners.” Public Health Perspectives on Disability: Science, Social Justice, Ethics, and Beyond (2nd Edition).  

Hall JP. (2020). “The Interrelationship of Health Insurance and Employment for People with Disabilities.” Public Health Perspectives on Disability: Science, Social Justice, Ethics, and Beyond (2nd Edition).  


Ryan Henley, Research Aide at the RTC/IL, presented “Ryan Henley’s Inclusion Experience” to 37 students. The students were enrolled in SPED 630: Inclusive Education, Empowerment, and Equity in Diverse Schools. Henley spoke to his inclusion experience at K-12 schools, community college, and the workplace.

On October 29, 2020, Dot Nary delivered a virtual presentation titled “What is an Accessible Health Care Environment and How Do We Create It?” to 35 staff members, in including nurses, administrators, social workers and a physician, at Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City. A video of the presentation was added to the hospital intranet for other staff to view.