University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs) aim to positively affect the lives of people with disabilities by building and strengthening systems that support full community participation. These activities are carried out in alignment with the DD Act (hyperlink) through the UCEDD core functions which include: (1) interdisciplinary training including continuing education; (2) community service including training, technical assistance, model, and demonstration services; (3) research including evaluation, and analysis of public policy; and (4) information dissemination. The ExceLens series highlights the valuable work of the UCEDDs within university systems, the community, and in the lives of people with disabilities across the lifespan and their family members.
University of Washington Center for Technology and Disability Studies
The University of Washington Center for Technology and Disability Studies is an interdisciplinary program within the Center for Human Development and Disability and the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine in the School of Medicine. Their work is supported by grants from the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and other funding sources.
Addressing Hesitancy and Ensuring Access to Covid-19 Vaccines for Everyone: A Collaborative Health Equity Project of Disability Service and Advocacy Organizations In Washington State
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the country, the United States Congress authorized federal funding to help ensure that individuals with disabilities would have access to information on the COVID-19 virus and access to the vaccines when those were approved for distribution. The three ACL funded organizations in Washington State joined with two Independent Living Centers (ILCs) in the state (Disability Empowerment Center and Central Washington Disability Resources), the Washington State Independent Living Council, Allies in Advocacy, and the state Department of Health (DOH), to evaluate needs to determine where to focus our funding. After an initial meeting to review the federal guidelines for distribution of the funding which differed some in the amount available for each funded organization, the group began by reviewing vaccine resources already available in Washington State and attempt to identify gaps. It was clear early in the process that there were gaps in rural and or minority communities across the state as well as access to accessible vaccine sites for many individuals with disabilities. To understand more about the barriers and needs, input was solicited from individuals across the state through two community conversations over zoom and a widely distributed survey. Early on the group committed to providing access to individuals whose first language is not oral English. The community meetings included interpreters as well as a facilitator who has expertise in conducting meetings with diverse communities on issues related to health. Based on the data obtained from the zoom conversations and the surveys, the group met for several weeks to develop and then issue a call for proposals from community organizations for projects up to $25,000. They received thirty applications and were able to fund ten organizations. Each ACL funded organization – UCEDD, DRW and DDC – had different funding amounts and somewhat different requirements.