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UM Students Helping Montanans with Developmental Disabilities

Megan Murphy University of Montana Pharmacy Student

“I locate, pack, and ship adaptive equipment all over Montana.” Megan Murphy, a UM pharmacy student, is talking about her work-study job with the Montana Adaptive Equipment Program (MAEP). For more than two decades, the program has provided adaptive equipment to Montanans with developmental disabilities. Megan is one of several UM students who are the hands that make sure people from Superior to Sydney get the equipment they need to be more independent. Megan says that this experience has “really opened my eyes to other opportunities.” She adds, “When I'm a pharmacist, I'll be asked a lot of questions regarding medical equipment and now I feel like I know what I'm talking about.”

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UM Accessibility Policy

The Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities applauds the University of Montana for developing a fairly comprehensive Accessibility Implementation Plan to enact its new Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility Policy. While no policy is perfect, this initiative represents a huge step forward for the University. The policy is designed to provide full access to students, staff and visitors to the UM community. It addresses web access, accessibility of instructional materials and documents, audio and video access and procurement of hardware and software that is accessible to people of all abilities. On behalf of our staff, students and the thousands of Montanans that we serve, we thank UM for taking this bold step, for doing the "right" thing and for working hard to fully implement this policy across the several UM campuses.

Martin E. Blair, PhD
Executive Director
The Rural Institute, University of Montana

UM Student and Research Professor Teach Each Other Valuable Lessons

Hyeok Yun and Dr. Craig Ravesloot

Hyeok Yun, an undergraduate student from South Korea, is gaining a wider perspective on how art therapy and counseling are impacted by disability research. Under the direction of Dr. Craig Ravesloot, a research professor at UM’s Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities, Hyeok’s work is exposing her to other issues too. “I didn't pay attention to or think about rural communities very much. I've grown up and lived in big cities. This job made me think as if I were in their shoes,” she says adding, “I’m very happy being a part of this project.”

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UM Research Faculty Invited to the White House Summit and Research Forum on Improved Health and Fitness for Americans with Disabilities

Dr. Meg Ann Traci at the White House

Dr. Meg Ann Traci was one of a select group of advocates and experts recently invited to the White House to discuss ways to get people with disabilities more physically active. Dr. Traci, Director of Montana’s Disability and Health program administered through UM’s Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities, attended the White House meeting on October 6-7, 2014. She commented, “The discussion made me more aware of Montana’s unique capacity to increase access to healthy lifestyle activities for Americans with disabilities, especially those living in rural areas.” “Representing Montana disability and public health partners, I strengthened our connections with national advocates, large research organization collaborators and federal agency administrators—all of whom work together for inclusion and health equity for people with disabilities,” she continued.

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Montana Youth in Transition Conference

Register now for the Montana Youth in Transition Conference, to be held November 5-7, 2014, in Missoula!

The Rural Institute Consumer Advisory Council is recruiting a representative from the Montana Developmental Disabilities Program, as well as individuals with developmental disabilities from the north and south central areas of the state to serve on the council.

The advisory council helps various Rural Institute projects determine necessary and appropriate activities, establish priorities, develop work plans, craft products, deliver training, and conduct evaluation activities. Term lengths run for 12 months and may be renewed. Meetings are held quarterly; one meeting is face-to-face (generally in Missoula or Helena) and the other three are conference calls. In addition, council members may be asked to serve on work groups or task forces, which could require additional meetings by conference call.

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