Vermont and New Hampshire UCEDDs to Work Together

July 8, 2015

Vermont's UCEDD, the Center on Disability and Community Inclusion (CDCI) at the University of Vermont has received a $3.5 million grant from the U.S Department of Education to test the RENEW intervention. CDCI will collaborate with the University of New Hampshire's Institute on Disability (IOD) to conduct the trial.

Dr. Jesse Suter, research assistant professor at CDCI and principal investigator on the grant, will conduct the multisite randomized controlled trial of the RENEW model (Rehabilitation for Empowerment, Natural supports, Education and Work). RENEW was developed by IOD staff in 1996 and is a promising individualized intervention for high school students with significant mental health challenges.

The primary goal of the grant is to test whether students who receive RENEW have better outcomes than students receiving typical services. Suter and co-principal investigator Dr. JoAnne Malloy of IOD's RENEW Project, and clinical assistant professor at the University of New Hampshire, will test for differences in student engagement, self-determination, social support, as well as academic and behavioral functioning.

"Approximately half of students with emotional and behavioral challenges drop out of school, which is the highest rate of any student group," said Suter. "Even worse, most don't receive the supports needed to succeed and graduate. The RENEW approach was designed to help these students by increasing their engagement in school, self-determination, social support networks, and long-term academic and emotional and behavioral functioning."

Suter adds that although RENEW is being used around the country, it has not yet been rigorously evaluated. The grant runs from July 2015 to June 2019 and is administered through the National Center for Education Research, Institute of Education Sciences. For questions contact Dr. Suter: