Senior Research Associate

Areas of work: Direct support workforce, Employment, Families, Health and wellness, IDD Prevalence, Long-term supports and services, Person-centered planning and practice, Positive support, Quality measurement, Self-advocacy, Self-determination and self-direction, Social inclusion

Contact information

phone: +1 612-625-1098

Institute On Community Integration Room 102D PtH 150 Pillsbury Dr SE Minneapolis, MN 55455


Amy Hewitt, PhD has an extensive background and work history in the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities and has worked in various positions over the past 30+ years to improve community inclusion and quality of life for children and adults with disabilities and their families. At the University of Minnesota, she is the director of the Institute on Community Integration. Dr. Hewitt directs several federal and state research, evaluation and demonstration projects in the area of community long-term services and supports for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism. She currently has research projects that focus on community living, autism, outcome measurement, direct support workforce development, person centered planning/thinking and positive behavior support. Dr. Hewitt has authored and co-authored numerous journal articles, curriculum, technical reports, and she co-authored books entitled, Staff Recruitment, Retention and Training and Critical Issues in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities: Contemporary Research, Practice and Policy and a soon-to-be-published book called, Community for All: Community Living and Participation for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. Dr. Hewitt is on the editorial board of Inclusion and an associate editor of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, both journals of the AAIDD. She is a past president of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) and is the vice president of the board of directors for the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, and a past board member of Arc Minnesota. Dr. Hewitt earned a BS in political science and psychology at Indiana University; a Master's degree in social work at Indiana University; and a PhD in social work at the University of Minnesota.



Developmental Disabilities Rotation for Pediatricians

Coordinates several components of the Developmental Disabilities Rotation required of all pediatric residents in the University of Minnesota Medical School, acquainting them with the design and...

In collaboration with: Medical School, University of Minnesota, Gillette Children's Specialty Healthcare


DSP Workforce Development Program [Archived]

Provided state-of-the-art resources to help people with disabilities and their families find and retain quality Direct Support Professionals (DSPs). Specifically, the program updated and marketed...


FISP: Supporting Individuals and Families Information Systems Project (FISP) [Archived]

Establishes and refines a comprehensive program of annual data collection from states on family support, and conducts longitudinal data analysis, policy studies, and dissemination activities to...

In collaboration with: National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services, Human Services Research Institute



Offers a suite of competency-based, online curricula for professionals providing services to people with intellectual, developmental, physical, and psychiatric disabilities, and to older adults....

In collaboration with: Center for Personal Assistance Services, University of California, San Francisco, Elsevier, Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts Boston, Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion for Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities [Philadelphia, PA]


Minnesota DHS Systems Change and Capacity Building Through Research, Training, and Technical Assistance Projects

Conducts research, training and technical assistance activities that enhance Minnesota's capacity to support community living for individuals with disabilities and/or mental illness. Primary areas...


Minnesota Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network (MN-ADDM)

Joins a national network that is increasing knowledge about the population of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities in the U.S., comparing how common ASD...

In collaboration with: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


New York Direct Support Professional (DSP) Credentialing Program Implementation Study [Archived]

Aims to gauge the workforce development issues for Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) in the state of New York through multi-method analysis. The 2014 New York legislative assembly requested that...

In collaboration with: New York State Association of Community and Residential Agencies, New York State Rehabilitation Association


"Learn the Signs, Act Early" Outreach Work

Develops and expands on the MN Help Me Grow and the Institute's Act Early work in culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Act Early is building a national network of agencies,...

In collaboration with: MN Help Me Grow, St. Mary's Health Clinics, Consulate of Mexico in St. Paul, United States, Ecuadorian Consulate General in Minneapolis, United States, Minnesota LEND (Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities) Program


Validity and Source Reliability of Selected Background Section Items of the NCI Adult Consumer Survey (NCI-ACS) Across Data Sources and States [Archived]

Evaluates the reliability and validity of the Background section of the National Core Indicators Adult Consumer Survey (NCI-ACS) in three states to be able to use these variables in analyses and...

In collaboration with: Human Services Research Institute, National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services


Twin Cities and Zambia Disability Connection (2016-18) [Archived]

Builds upon the earlier work of Twin Cities and Zambia Disability Connection (2008-2009), expanding and developing knowledge of disability services and supports across academic, provider, and...

In collaboration with: Fraser [Minneapolis, MN], Opportunity Partners [Minnetonka, MN], St. David's Center for Child & Family Development [Minnetonka, MN], The Arc Greater Twin Cities


ICI Engaged Department Grant Program [Archived]

Creates an infrastructure to grow and develop ongoing community engagement, and to facilitate new initiatives and promote engaged learning on community based action research. In doing so, ICI hopes...


Developing and Engaging Training on Person-Centered and Family-Centered Approaches in Mental Health and Co-occurring Disorders

Addresses gaps in services and the fragmentation of service delivery for Minnesotans experiencing mental health conditions and/or substance abuse as the state moves these services towards community...


Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training Community Living and Participation (AART)

Trains one or two post-doctoral participants each year, offering them a program that is rich in research training and experience that is focused on community living and participation of persons...


Active Support Interventions and Their Effect on Increased Participation of Persons With Disabilities [Archived]

Conducts a longitudinal, randomized control study to examine the impact of Active Support (AS) interventions in 20 group homes in Minnesota. AS is an organizational intervention that enables Direct...

In collaboration with: Dakota Communities Incorporated, Homeward Bound, Inc. [Plymouth, MN], Howry Residential Services [Mendota Heights, MN], Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota, Olu's Home [Minneapolis, MN], Opportunity Partners [Minnetonka, MN], Outcomes, Inc., Thomas J Apartments Corporation [Apple Valley, MN], University of Sydney [Australia], Volunteers of America - Minnesota


Effects of Competency-Based Training for Direct Support Professionals on Organizations, Learners, and Service Recipients [Archived]

Uses a standardized competency-based training program to assess the extent to which training directly linked to validated skills and knowledge needed by Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) affects...


Review of Effective Measures, Instruments and Programs for Research on Inclusion, Self-Determination and Well-Being of Persons With Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities (ID/DD) [Archived]

Assessed current measures and instruments on participation and community living. It provided comprehensive identification, review, and assessment measures related to participation and community...


Lewin Personal Care Attendant Project [Archived]

Conducted evaluative research on Minnesota's personal care attendant (PCA) program by: (1) analyzing legislation, rules, regulations, and policy documents to identify program changes and their...

In collaboration with: PHI [Bronx, NY]


National Direct Support Workforce Resource Center [Archived]

Brought together in one place the nation's premier resources on the topic of Direct Support, with the goal of improving the quality, recruitment, and retention of the Direct Service workforce...

In collaboration with: Annapolis Coalition on the Behavioral Health Workforce, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Institute for the Future of Aging Services [Washington, DC], Lewin Group [Falls Church, VA], Westchester Consulting Group [Washington, DC]


Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC-CL)

Conducts a wide range of research, training, and technical assistance and dissemination projects related to community supports under its center grant and related project funding. The RTC-CL is...

In collaboration with: Center on Human Policy, Syracuse University, Human Services Research Institute, Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts Boston, National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services


RISP: National Residential Information Systems Project: Data Collection and Information Dissemination on Residential and In Home Services for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (RISP)

Examines the status of, and longitudinal trends in, provision of institutional and home and community based long-term supports and services for people with intellectual and developmental...

In collaboration with: Human Services Research Institute, National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services


Profiles of Transformation Case Studies [Archived]

Conducts six annual case studies of exemplary initiatives in transformation of community living or employment supports, and two annual case studies of exemplary Direct Support Professional...

In collaboration with: Center on Human Policy, Syracuse University, National Alliance for Direct Support Professionals

Project Web Site on Person-Centered Services for Persons with Developmental Disabilities

Provides resources and information on leading-edge, person-centered supports for use by individuals with disabilities, families, advocates, government officials, and service providers, in a wide...

In collaboration with: Human Services Research Institute, National Association of State Directors of Developmental Disabilities Services


Twin Cities and Zambia Disability Connection (2008-2009) [Archived]

Provided advanced leadership training in disability advocacy, policy, and services for a delegation of nine government officials, missionaries, educators, and advocates from Zambia in southern...

In collaboration with: The Arc Greater Twin Cities, Fraser [Minneapolis, MN], Opportunity Partners [Minnetonka, MN]


Minnesota Direct Support Workforce Project

Conducted statewide surveys of direct support workers and their employing organizations in Minnesota to better understand wages, benefits, size, and scope of the direct support workforce. The direct support workforce is one of the highest-demand and anticipated growth sectors in the U.S. and Minnesota. Expansion of this workforce is impossible without significant improvements in worker recruitment, on-boarding, development, and retention. These challenges impact individuals, families, and community providers who are finding it increasingly difficult to find and keep high quality employees. Meeting the promises of the Minnesota Olmstead Act is directly related to being able to provide adequate support in the community, and direct support workers are the ones that provide this support.

In collaboration with: Advocating Change Together, Association of People Supporting EmploymentFirst, Association of Residential Resources of Minnesota, Care Providers of Minnesota, Disability Services Division, Minnesota Department of Human Services, LeadingAge Center for Applied Research, Minnesota Families and Advocates Coalition, Minnesota Homecare Association, Minnesota Organization for Habilitation and Rehabilitation, The Arc of Minnesota


Find, Choose and Keep Great DSPs

Formats: PDF, PrintPublished: 2006

Frontline Initiative: Aging

Formats: PDFPublished: 2004

Frontline Initiative: Ethics

Formats: PDFPublished: 2001

Frontline Initiative: Teamwork

Formats: PDFPublished: 2001

Frontline Initiative: Credentialing

Formats: PDFPublished: Spring 2000

Frontline Initiative: Diversity

Formats: PDFPublished: Winter 2000

Frontline Initiative: Complex Needs

Formats: PDFPublished: Summer 1999

Frontline Initiative: Self-Determination

Formats: PDFPublished: Spring 1999

Frontline Initiative: International Issue

Formats: PDFPublished: Winter 1999

Frontline Initiative: Professionalism

Formats: PDFPublished: Fall 1998

Frontline Initiative: Stress and Burnout

Formats: PDFPublished: Summer 1998

Frontline Initiative: Communication

Formats: PDFPublished: Spring 1998

Frontline Initiative: Change

Formats: PDFPublished: Winter 1998

Frontline Initiative: Training

Formats: PDFPublished: Spring 1997

Frontline Initiative: Relationships

Formats: PDFPublished: Winter 1997

Frontline Initiative: Premier Issue

Formats: PDFPublished: Fall 1996

National Frontline Supervisor Competencies

Formats: PDFPublished: April 2013

Frontline Supervisor Assessment

Formats: PDFPublished: April 2013

LEND Brief: ASD and Culture

Formats: PDFPublished: Spring 2015