WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY | COLLEGE OF NURSING
Research scientists with disabilities are underrepresented in the health sciences, yet such scholars bring needed perspective to understanding and improving health policies and services for people with disabilities.
A new federal grant will help WSU hire three post-doctoral students with disabilities to become academic researchers, with the goal of having them go on to faculty positions at major universities or leadership roles in federal research agencies and nonprofit foundations.
The five-year, $750,000 award from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research will provide a competitive salary, full benefits, and support for any needed workplace assistance or adaptive technologies.
Called the Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living Fellowship (CHRIL-F), the positions “will bring new scholars with disabilities to the table, and provide them the skills and support they will need to enlarge the policy debate,” said Jae Kennedy, principal investigator, professor and chair of the Department of Health Policy and Administration in the WSU College of Nursing.
The three fellows will be hired by WSU in staggered terms over the five-year grant, and will spend 18 months taking graduate courses, working on research grant proposals and journal manuscripts, and developing individual plans of research. They can spend three to six months of the fellowship at one or more affiliate sites, including Washington DC, Houston, or Lawrence, Kansas.
Grant funding can also be used for conference travel, which typically is more difficult and costly for people with disabilities, but which is critical for networking and presenting research work. The specific uses of support funds will depend on the needs of the fellows hired, but could include office space reconfiguration, or hiring a personal aide or interpreter.
With this grant, “We propose building a small but sturdy pipeline for disability researchers with disabilities by designing postdoc positions specific to their needs,” Kennedy said.
Besides Kennedy, the project team includes Roberta Carlin, director of the American Association on Health and Disability; Lex Frieden, a professor of bioinformatics and rehabilitation at the University of Texas in Houston; Jean Hall, a professor and director of the Institute for Health and Disability Policy at the University of Kansas; and Elizabeth Wood, a research associate in the Department of Health Policy and Administration at WSU.
The same team makes up the Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living (CHRIL), established by Kennedy under a $2.5 million federal grant to bring together disability advocates and researchers to investigate how the Affordable Care Act and related legislation affects the lives of adults with disabilities.
“The members of the CHRIL have personal, professional, and political experience with disability, and many contacts throughout the research and disability communities,” Kennedy said. “We are not just advocates and researchers who happen to have disabilities: disability is central to what we do and why we do it.”
Research Spotlight: Mason Burley, “Evaluating Risk for Psychiatric Re-Hospitalization: a Recurrent Event History Analysis” (Individual Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program)
The treatment of people with serious mental illness has changed dramatically over the last 50 years, from long-term institutionalization to community-based care. But the community-care system is lacking, and some people with serious mental illness are repeatedly hospitalized, released and re-admitted, a costly and disruptive cycle.
Washington State University doctoral student Mason Burley wanted to identify consistent and reliable factors associated with psychiatric re-hospitalization to help guide public policy and treatment options. » More …
A decades-long interest in issues relating to disability has taken Dr. Jae Kennedy to a leadership position with NARRTC, an organization that advocates for increasing the quality and rigor of applied disability research. Kennedy, professor and chair of the WSU College of Nursing’s Health Policy & Administration program, was named president-elect of the organization at its annual conference last week.
NARRTC is made up of current and former grantees of the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation. The federal agency funds projects to generate new knowledge on disability and rehabilitation and to encourage the adoption and use of that work. Projects include new rehabilitative technologies, and advances affecting quality of life issues such as the ability to work, be a parent and participate in community activities.
Separately, Kennedy and doctoral candidate Elizabeth G. Wood won this year’s best paper award at NARRTC’s annual meeting for their work, “Medication Costs and Adherence of Treatment Before and After the Affordable Care Act: 1999-2015.” Not taking prescribed medication because of the cost is an important health problem that’s been growing since the 1990s, Kennedy noted. Their research found a coincidence between health policy changes, such as the introduction of Medicare Part D prescription coverage and the Affordable Care Act, with a reduction in cost-related nonadherence (CRN). » More …
By Eric Sorensen, WSU
A Washington State University researcher will lead a $2.5 million examination of the federal Affordable Care Act’s impact on what may be the largest group in need of its services: people with disabilities.
“Their service needs are different and their health needs are more intensive,” said Jae Kennedy, professor and chair of the Department of Health Policy and Administration, College of Nursing, WSU Spokane. “There are a lot of reasons why this is an important population to study and make sure that the legislation is living up to its promise.”
The ACA, he said, has aspects of care coordination and care management that “could potentially erode some of the freedoms that some people with disabilities currently enjoy. There’s reason to be skeptical. A lot of other so-called reforms haven’t benefited important segments of the disability community.”
Most experience disability sometime
While many of them reject the term, people with disabilities have been called the nation’s largest minority. Some 57 million Americans have a disability, by the U.S. Census’ definition. More to the point, said Kennedy, “Disability affects nearly all of us at some point in our lives, usually towards the end but often earlier.” » More …
WASHINGTON STATE UNIVERSITY | COLLEGE OF NURSING