The Research and Training Center on Community Living

The Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC/CL) has operated at the University of Minnesota since 1976. During this time, it has made many substantial contributions that have positively affected the field and the lives of people with disabilities by developing effective, research-based interventions, and creating new knowledge that has influenced practices and policies for increasing community living and participation for people with disabilities. The mission of the RTC/CL has long been to support high-quality lives of people with disabilities through research, training, and dissemination. Community living and participation for people with disabilities is influenced by many factors, including the availability and competence of individuals who provide services necessary to support people with disabilities as participating members of their communities. The RTC/CL is housed within the Institute on Community Integration, a department within the University of Minnesota’s College of the Education and Human Development, and funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The staff and partners of RTC/CL are highly productive and well-respected in their fields. This is exemplified by: highly productive researchers, trainers, evaluators, and knowledge translators; expansive and effective training and technical assistance expertise and approaches; a proven record of dissemination of research outcomes in peer-reviewed publications and highly used translation products targeting non-research audiences; robust collaborative relationships with government, provider, and advocacy agencies; a record of successful management of complex development, research, and dissemination efforts; and substantial institutional resource support.

Over the past five years, the RTC/CL has conducted the following research studies:

  1. National Core Indicators (NCI) Study of Community Living Outcomes.
  2. Targeted National Studies and Analyses of Community Long-Term Supports and Services for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities and Families.
  3. Effects of a Statewide Online Training Intervention Scale-Up on the Direct Support Professional Workforce and Outcomes for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
  4. Competency-Based Training Interventions for DSPs who Provide in Family Home Settings to Improve Outcomes for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.
  5. A National Study of the Effects, Practices, and Innovations in Employment Supports for Adults and Transition-Age Youth.
  6. Supporting Self-Determination of Adults and Transition-Age Youth within the Family Context.
  7. The Effectiveness of Two Approaches to Expand the Social Inclusion of Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Living with Families.
  8. Identifying the Critical Elements Associated with High Fidelity Adoption of Programs that Support and Enhanced Quality of Life for Persons with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

Rehabilitation and Research Training Center on HCBS Outcome Measurement

Co-directed by Brian Abery and Amy Hewitt, the Rehabilitation and Research Training Center on HCBS Outcome Measurement (RTC/OM) evaluates measures focused on the outcomes experienced by people with disabilities as well as the quality of services and supports they receive. Despite its importance, the quality of home and community-based services (HCBS) has historically been difficult to define and even more difficult to measure. Through working with researchers, measure developers, policymakers, and advocates, the Research and Training Center on HCBS Outcome Measurement (RTC/OM) is committed to:

  1. Validating and refining a national framework of HCBS outcomes for persons with disabilities (National Quality Forum).
  2. Implementing the framework to refine and develop measures to assess the impact of HCBS on the lives of people with disabilities in the community.
  3. Training the next generation of researchers who will work in the field of HCBS measurement development.
  4. Proving extensive technical assistance to NIDILRR & ACL grantees, states, and other organizations on selection and development of HCBS related measures.

During its initial five-year cycle, the RTC/OM is conducting work in six related phases. Each phase targets an important aspect of quality measurement, including social validation of the National Quality Forum (NQF) framework, measure development and validation, developing a database of measures, examining implementation practices of data collection programs, and identifying important risk adjusters. One of the Center’s key products will be a set of measures submitted for endorsement by the NQF. The RTC/OM is also conducting a gap analysis of current HCBS measures and the NQF's HCBS Outcome Measurement Framework, looking at psychometric properties of measurements and their person-centeredness and the extent to which current measures possess the properties that are consistent or conform with NIDILRR/ACL and NQF requirements

Partners of the Institute on Community Integration on the RTC/OM include Temple University, the University of California–San Francisco, Ohio State University, and the National Council on Aging.

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