COMPASS - Iowa's New Disability Resources Database

March 22, 2012

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People from Dubuque to Council Bluffs, Des Moines to Davenport, Sioux City to Iowa City, all really like Iowa COMPASS and its newly redesigned disability resources database.  They like the new database website because it's so easy to navigate, even from their cell phones. They like using the new "Browse Categories" feature to search through thousands of services records in the database.  They like knowing they can call a COMPASS Information Specialist to help them search if they need assistance. In fact, Iowa COMPASS is so likable, the disability resources database has more than 150 friends on Facebook!

Iowa COMPASS is the state's one-stop resource for information about disability-related programs and services. The COMPASS staff is based at Iowa's UCEDD, the Center for Disabilities and Development at the University of Iowa. Staff update the database and revise existing records, provide information to those who call the COMPASS voice and TTY toll-free numbers for help, and train providers to use COMPASS to locate information and services for individuals they support. One member of the staff serves as the "social media expert," posting news to the COMPASS Facebook page each week. When visitors "Like" COMPASS on Facebook, they help get the word out about the resource database by sharing it with all their Facebook friends. 

While COMPASS staff planned the redesign of the website, members of the UCEDD's Community Partners Advisory Council provided suggestions and feedback from the perspective of consumers, as individuals with developmental and physical disabilities and their family members. The participation of these community partners was critical to the success of the redesign process. For example, their advice helped shape the function and content of the Browse Categories feature, which allows a visitor to the site to select one of 11 categories to quickly tailor their search for information.

Iowa COMPASS is a longtime member of the Alliance of Information and Referral Systems (AIRS) which sets the national standards for information and referral. COMPASS staff have been certified by AIRS, both as Information Specialists and Resource Specialists. The accuracy and attention to detail in the Iowa COMPASS database have made it an integral part of providing services to individuals with disabilities in the state. The Iowa COMPASS database will continue to serve Iowans as plans to integrate the COMPASS, 2-1-1 and Iowa Association of Area Agencies on Aging (i4a) Services databases move forward.

Anyone from the AUCD network who would like to know more about the COMPASS disabilities resource database or about the process of redesigning the database website should get in touch with Jennifer Britton.

Explore the Iowa COMPASS Disability Resources Database at:

Visit Iowa COMPASS on Facebook at: