RRTC on Aging with Developmental Disabilities at IL UCEDD Creates Community/University Partnership to Establish Infrastructure to Improve Health Care for People with Disabilities

August 25, 2010

Leveraging the power of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding, two community-based organizations serving people with developmental disabilities are collaborating with the NIDRR funded Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Aging with Developmental Disabilities at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) to form an inter-state consortium. This consortium will create statewide infrastructures to improve health for people aging with developmental disabilities in Illinois and New Mexico. The funding from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development provides $1,000,000 in shared project support over three years. Key consortium collaborators include ARCA in Albuquerque, New Mexico and NorthPointe Resources in Zion, Illinois.

Beth Marks, RN, PhD, the Principal Investigator in the Department of Disability and Human Development at UIC says, "For people aging with developmental disabilities, little data exists on how to translate health promotion research into public health practice so that they have health equity. The development of strong statewide infrastructures through an innovative community-academic health center partnership can ensure the involvement of local stakeholders in planning culturally and linguistically appropriate research and bridge gaps in practice outcomes. By building capacity across communities we can better facilitate health care delivery by linking a hard-to-reach population through outreach and referral initiatives."

Through this consortium, community based organizations will assume a leadership role in generating research questions, actively participate in the development and implementation of research initiatives, apply the results in practical activities, and disseminate evidence-based products. ARCA and Northpointe Resources are well suited to facilitate the research to practice process by engaging local communities and tribal entities because they have a wealth of experience providing day-to-day services and translating and disseminating evidence-based health promotion practices. This three year project will build much needed statewide infrastructures to promote and maintain healthy lifestyles among people aging with developmental disabilities.

For more information contact:

Beth Marks, RN, PhD, University of Illinois at Chicago, Department of Disability and Human Development, (312) 413-4097 or Jasmina Sisirak, MPH, PhDc, Co-Principal Investigator, (312) 996-3982.