Virginia Commonwealth University Project Empowerment Webcast

Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Location: Online

Please join the community of practice (CoP) members for a webcast hosted by Project Empowerment: Building Research Infrastructure Capacity. The project is funded by NIDRR and based at Virginia Commonwealth University's (VCU), Department of Rehabilitation Counseling.

The featured presenters are: Dr. Allen Lewis, Mr. Andrew J. Imparato, Esq., Dr. Keith Wilson,
and Dr. Phil Rumrill.

Webcast Registration

(no fee to participate):
After registering for the program, you will receive additional instructions on how to participate in the webcast.

About the Webcast

This webcast will present a model of disability disparities. Though the concept of health disparities is discussed in the health care literature, there is no such model that explicitly addresses disparities in the disability literature. Therefore, this model begins to fill a void in the disability literature. Part of the value of such a model is that it represents an attempt to address the question of why cultural competency is important in the disability arena at this point in the 21st century. The urgency in addressing cultural competency at this time in history is supported by understanding the multiple accountability demands on rehabilitation and disability providers these days, e.g., increasing ethnic diversification of the United States population, that render providing effective services to everyone a clear mandate. This web cast will offer a working definition of disability disparity. Additionally, the disability disparity model will be described in terms of its five-domain continuum as well as its macro- and micro-level aspects that are designed to both promote clarity of the concept for researchers and offer practitioners ideas on how to explore the existence of disability disparities in working with specific service recipients.

About the Presenters

Allen N. Lewis, Jr., Ph.D., CRC Photo of Allen N. Lewis, Jr., Ph.D., CRC
Dr. Lewis is Associate Professor and Chair of the VCU Department of Rehabilitation Counseling in the School of Allied Health Professions. Dr. Lewis has conducted more than 50 refereed and invited presentations and workshops regionally, nationally and internationally over the past five years on topics related to his research interests: (1) the influence of culture on the disability experience and (2) evaluating the effectiveness of rehabilitation services. He has written more than 30 publications (refereed journal articles, book chapters, abstracts and technical reports). Dr. Lewis is PI on more than $2.5 million dollars in grant funding. Dr. Lewis serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation and is an ad hoc reviewer for the Journals of Black Psychology, Adolescent and Family Health, and Spinal Cord Medicine. Dr. Lewis has had a longstanding commitment to working in the health and disability arena for over 25 years, 10 years at VCU as an applied social sciences researcher, professor and administrator and more than 15 years of experience prior to coming to VCU as a services practitioner, program administrator, program evaluator, and services researcher.

Andrew J. Imparato Photo of Andrew J. Imparato
Dr. Imparato is the first full-time President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), a national non-profit membership organization for the political and economic empowerment of all people with disabilities based in Washington, DC. With more than 120,000 members, AAPD is the largest cross-disability membership organization in the U.S. In September 2005, Imparato was honored by the United States Junior Chamber of Commerce ("Jaycees") as one of "Ten Outstanding Young Americans" who are selected annually for their contributions to American society. Prior to joining AAPD, Imparato was general counsel and director of policy for the National Council on Disability, an attorney advisor with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, counsel to the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Disability Policy, and a staff attorney/Skadden Fellow with the Disability Law Center in Boston, Massachusetts. In 2004, Imparato was appointed by Maryland Governor Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr., to the Maryland Statewide Independent Living Council, an independent policy body working to maximize the ability of Marylanders with disabilities to live independently. In 2003, Imparato was appointed by Senators Daschle and Kennedy to serve as a Panel Member of the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Advisory Panel to the Social Security Administration. Imparato was also elected in 2003 to serve on the Executive Committee of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, the nation's oldest, largest and most diverse coalition dedicated to promoting civil and human rights for all people. Imparato, whose perspective is informed by his own experience with bipolar disorder, is frequently called upon to write, speak or provide testimony about disability issues. His essay on the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings relating to disability rights appears in The Rehnquist Court: Judicial Activism on the Right (H. Schwartz, ed., Hill and Wang, 2002). He is an advisor on disability market and accessibility issues for Microsoft, IBM, SAP, America Online, Verizon, and other leading businesses.

Keith Wilson, Ph.D., CRC, LPC, NC, ABDAPhoto of Keith Wilson, Ph.D., CRC, LPC, NC, ABDA
Dr. Wilson is a Professor of Education at The Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Wilson's research interests are primarily centered around two areas: (1) Cross-cultural and multicultural issues among persons with disabilities (e.g., African Americans and Latinos) in the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) system in the United States; and (2) privilege based hue/color skin (phenotype and colorism) in the VR system and in the general population in United States (i.e., Black and White Hispanics). He has been employed at both state and private universities before coming to Penn State University. Besides the numerous research and conceptual publications during his professional career, he has several national and international presentations to his credit. As a rehabilitation counselor, he is experienced in assisting people with physical and mental disabilities to get back to work. As an educator, he has helped guide the clinical studies of numerous college students and provided consultation services to the U.S. Department of Education.

Phillip D. Rumrill, Jr., Ph.D., CRC Photo of Phillip D. Rumrill, Jr., Ph.D., CRC
Dr. Rumrill is a Professor of Rehabilitation Counseling and Director of the Center for Disability Studies at Kent State University (KSU). Dr. Rumrill has extensive experience developing, administering, and evaluating services for students with disabilities in higher education. He has directed KSU's Office of Postsecondary Education (OPE) project since its inception in 2002. Dr. Rumrill has authored or co-authored more than 140 professional journal articles in the fields of rehabilitation, counseling, and education; 40 book chapters; numerous measurement instruments and training manuals; and seven major books. He has also guest-edited 15 special issues of professional journals, five of which focused on the experiences and outcomes of postsecondary students with disabilities. His work in the area of higher education and disability has garnered numerous invitations to speak at national and international conferences, and he has held Distinguished Visiting Scholar appointments at Arla Institute of Finland and the University of Leeds Medical School in England. He is a frequent presenter at national and international conferences in education, rehabilitation, and health care. Dr. Rumrill has received numerous awards, most recently the 2005 Rehabilitation Researcher of the Year Award from the National Council on Rehabilitation Education. Dr. Rumrill has secured and administered 24 federal and private foundation grants whose total budgets exceed $12 million. In addition to his professional contributions to the fields of education and rehabilitation, Dr. Rumrill's personal experience with a significant disability (blindness) brings consumer credibility and authenticity to project activities.

Webcast Instructions

  • You need a computer, Internet, and a browser with the Flash Player plugin (free software).
  •  Register for the webcast here.
  • All webcasts feature a web board where participants can ask questions of the presenter(s).
  • Technical support is available by phone and e-mail.
  • An archive of the webcast will be made available.

If you have a question about webcast content, please contact:
Teri Blankenship

Technical questions may be directed to:
Doug Erickson