UNH Awarded $4.3 million for Disabilities Research
NEC member the University of New Hampshire’s (UNH) Institute on Disability was awarded five-year, $4.3 million by the US Department of Education’s (DOE) National Institute for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) to help improve knowledge and increase data on disabilities. The Institute on Disability at UNH was established in 1987 to advance knowledge, policies, and practices that will increase a disabled person’s quality of life. Its mission is to “promote full access, equal opportunity, and participation for all persons by strengthening communities and advancing policy and systems change, promising practices, education, and research.”
The grant, called the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Statistics and Demographics (StatsRRTC), is awarded to entities that conduct the necessary research for continuously improving future disability data collection and dissemination efforts to increase health outcomes. The goal of the StatsRRTC project is to bridge the divide between the researchers who develop disabilities statistics and those who use the data to develop policies and programs to improve the lives of people with disabilities. The projects undertaken by UNH’s Institute of Disability “address highly relevant and current policy issues” that aim to provide policymakers with the facts they need to make careful and informed decisions.
“Statistics are powerful tools – in research, policymaking, program evaluation, and advocacy,” said Andrew Houtenville, research director at the Institute on Disability and principal investigator for the grant. “They are used to frame the issues, monitor current circumstances and progress, judge the effectiveness of policies and programs, make projections about the future, and predict the costs of potential policy changes. Having accurate and timely health statistics for people with intellectual disabilities is important for moving policies and practices forward.”
As a result of the grant funding, UNH is now able to pursue 12 research and 15 knowledge translation projects. The projects range from assessing progress toward national goals to creating a conference that will bring experts in the field together to developing national- and state-level Annual Reports on Disability. The New England Council commends UNH’s commitment to research and to people with disabilities and congratulates them on this grant. .