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The Montana Family to Family Health Information Center Awarded Funding

Famiily to Family Montana Health Information CenterThe University of Montana’s Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities announces the reopening of the Montana Family to Family Health Information Center (F2F- HIC) in summer 2019. The parent-led Family to Family initiative will improve access to and sharing of evidence-based health information so parents and families of children and youth with complex health needs and health care providers can make informed health care choices.

Read More About Awarded Funding

Six Students Complete the URLEND Program

This year, six Utah Regional Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (URLEND) students from Montana completed training in family-centered care for children and youth with special health care needs. URLEND students from five states (Utah, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and North Dakota) met weekly via video conference to learn how they can provide optimal services to children and adolescents with special health care needs. The Rural Institute is committed to being a ‘satellite’ partner of the URLEND program to educate professionals about the issues surrounding disability.

The URLEND graduates learned about the importance of the family-professional partnership, health equity across the lifespan, the use of evidence-based practice, interprofessional team building, historical and intergenerational trauma and resilience among Native Americans, and how to work within communities and systems.

Continue reading about URLEND

All of Us Research Program

All of Us Researcghb Program: The Future of Health Begins with You

University of Montana Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities

Joins NIH in Launching the All of Us Research Program to Advance Precision Medicine

On May 6th, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will open national enrollment for the All of Us Research Program - a momentous effort to advance individualized prevention, treatment and care for people of all backgrounds, including people with disabilities. The All of us Research Program is a historic effort to gather data from one (1) million or more people living in the United States to accelerate research and improve health.

Read more about "All of Us"

UM Student from Rocky Boy Makes National Contribution to Public Health

Helen Russett standing infront of informational posterAfter working for several years as a research assistant for the Montana Disability and Health program at the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities, and completing her Master’s in Public Health at UM, Helen Russette went to work for the Missoula City-County Health Department (MCCHD). There, she aided in the development of a community health needs assessment (CHA) process that fully includes representatives of marginalized populations. She recently shared this work in February 2018 article published with co-author, Robin Nielson-Cerquone, MJ, MCCHD Accreditation Specialist, on the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) website.  

The article, “An Inclusive Community Health Assessment Process,” details steps taken to ensure inclusive and meaningful participation in the process. Recruitment strategies to increase the diversity of participants and the positive outcomes are described. In fall 2018, Helen, who grew up on the Rocky Boy Reservation (Chippewa-Cree Tribe), returned to UM as a doctoral student in the School of Public and Community Health Sciences.

Continue reading about Helen

DDP Children's Autism Waiver

CAW Letter to FamiliesThe Children’s Autism Waiver renewal was approved by CMS. A letter will be mailed to families who have children currently enrolled in the Waiver. Please see the PDF letter for more details.

In-Person Professional Development Opportunities

Pre ETS TAC 72dpi
Register now for these free upcoming workshops in a community near you!

Systematic Instruction Training
June 15, 16, and 17, 2016 (8:30 AM-4:30 PM)
Holiday Inn Downtown, 200 S. Pattee St., Missoula, MT
June 20, 21, and 22, 2016 (8:30 AM-4:30 PM)
Bitterroot River Inn, 139 Bitterroot Plaza Dr., Hamilton, MT
July 13, 14, and 15, 2016 (8:30 AM-4:30 PM)
25 West Silver St., Butte MT
Continue reading post for more information and registration.

New Emerging Leader Story - Never Give Up. Never Give In. Never Quit.

By Lauren Beyer, Rural Institute Project Assistant

Allison playing the piano

Allison is a cheerful young woman. Those who know her describe her as kindhearted and always willing to help. She has a smile that can light up an entire room. Allison lives in Billings, Montana with her family. She graduated high school last year and is driven to reach many goals for her future.

Continue reading Transition & Employment Project Emerging Leader story

New article by Mindy Renfro in the Rural Connections Spring 2016 publication

Happy senior coupleHope for the Best and Plan for the Worst
Can You Age-in-Place in YOUR Home?

The Western Rural states are aging. It is expected that by 2025,  Montana’s population will be the fourth oldest state in the union. It’s also estimated that by 2030, Montana will be one of ten states in the country to have more people over the age of 65 than under the age of 18, and it will be one of only six states to have 25 percent of its population aged 65 and older.

Policy makers are reshaping Medicare; politicians are trying to protect Social Security... but what are each of us doing to be sure that we can age-in-place in our own homes? Each day, 10,000 Baby Boomers (born between 1946 and 1964) are celebrating their 65th birthday and joining the ranks of “older adults.”

RuralConnections - A publication of the Western Rural Development Center, Spring 2016

MonTECH Welcomes a New Director

anna margaret goldman2Dr. Anna-Margaret Goldman recently completed her PhD in Higher Education Administration at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. However, she is no stranger to Montana. She has lived in Missoula part time since 2009. Her most recent position was Prevention Specialist at C.S. Porter Middle School. Prior to that she was responsible for growing a university mentoring program at the University of Alabama. She brings excellent skills in developing campus/community relationships.

We are delighted to have her as a member of the Rural Institute’s Leadership Team and as a community-focused colleague. Please join us in welcoming Anna-Margaret to the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities.

Helen Russette on the value of visitable homes

How visitable homes benefit you and your community

Helen Russette for the Missoulian, May 5, 2016

"A home is foundational to our well-being. For most, our home provides us with a sense of security, safety, and a place where we most often spend time with our loved ones. To me, this means having a roof over my head, safe running water, protection from weather extremities, and creating memories with my family and friends. We all define and describe what home means to us in different ways, but we share the common understanding that home is at the core of our daily lives. Purchasing or renting a home tends to be the single greatest expenditure Americans make. Our home can also play a role in shaping our health and well-being.

However, as we and our loved ones continue to live longer than our parents and grandparents before us, we can also expect to experience disability, such as mobility limitations that require assistive equipment like a wheelchair, walker, or cane. When homes include steps to the main entrance, have no bathroom on the first floor, and the door widths are too narrow to accommodate a wheelchair, our home, our very core, is disrupted and negative consequences can occur."

Continue reading visitable homes on the Missoulian.

AUCD Executive Director Andrew Imparato visits RIIC

Andrew J Imparato and Marty Blair in a meeting with RTC:Rural

AUCD Executive Director Andrew J. Imparato, JD and Marty Blair in a meeting with RTC:Rural.

"Imparato's work has been recognized by the Secretaries of Health and Human Services and Transportation, the US Junior Chamber of Commerce, the National Council on Independent Living, the National Association of the Deaf, and the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation. He has testified nine times before Committees of the US Senate and House of Representatives and has been interviewed on a wide range of disability issues by national television, radio and print media."

The Rural Institute is part of the AUCD national network of over 100 university-based programs that conduct research, training and advocacy to improve the quality of life of children and adults with disabilities. We are excited and honored to have a visit from Mr. Imparato.

The Portal Periodical

The most recent issue of the Medical Home Portal's newsletter, The Portal Periodical, is nowonline.  The Periodical is published quarterly to provide updates on changes and additions to Portal, alert users to relevant news & information, and solicit feedback to improve the Portal.

In this issue (Click Here): 

  • The Portal Wants to Know Your Location
  • Utah Medical Home Portal Visitors Can Get More Help
  • How To Use the Portal Videos
  • Service Provider Lists
  • New & Updated Portal Content

Montana Autism Center Highlighted in AMCHP Overview

AMCHP (Association of Maternal & Child Health Program)Overview
2016-18 Learn the Signs. Act Early. State Systems Grants

Goals: Maintain/expand the state ASD/DD team partnerships and activities, with a focus on serving rural and remote communities and working in reservation-serving areas and through tribal health services

Activity Areas: Engage current partners in rural/ frontier communities, build their training capacity, then mentor them in the training process; Partner with the Montana Parent Training Information Center and Montana’s Children with Special Health Services Bureau to target the dissemination of print and electronic family-engaged developmental monitoring tools and resource information statewide; Focus screening (e.g., M-CHAT) training and resource dissemination activities on extreme rural/ frontier communities; Continue information dissemination through the virtual Montana Autism Center.

Project Leads: Martin Blair, Director, Montana UCEDD, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.and Ann Garfinkle, LTSAE Ambassador, UM Dept. of Teaching and Learning
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Pain and Participation

Woman with multiple sclerosis giving keys to a service dog in the snow 117195499 300x200Pain is commonly experienced by people with disabilities.  The relationship between pain and participation was explored by researchers at RTC: Rural to see if pain acted as a barrier to people’s ability to participate fully in community life.  The concept of participation and understanding the barriers that hinder it is important.  Just as inaccessible buildings and transportation can interfere with employment, errands and engaging in social activities, pain can also keep people at home. Understanding the multiple barriers that interfere with participation for people with disabilities is crucial to developing meaningful policies and community change.

Visit to read more about this research.


Transportation Voucher Model

man in wheelchair using car lift The transportation voucher model works to address transportation barriers in rural communities, a significant problems for people with disabilities.  Many rural communities lack the resources to provide accessible and safe transportation so that people with disabilities can fully participate in community life.  Researchers at RTC: Rural studied this problem and developed one potential solution that helps individual consumers meet their transportation needs through the use of transportation vouchers.

You can read more about the transportation voucher model by visiting the RTC: Rural website.

RTC: Rural - Early Exit from VR Services

business man in wheelchair pushing button to open doorPeople with disabilities have an unemployment rate more than twice that of people without disabilities.  The Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) system helps people with disabilities find and maintain employment but over half of VR consumers leave services early. In 2013, researchers at the Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities (RTC: Rural) conducted a research project on early exit from VR services.  Reasons for early exit from VR services vary but include issues such as inaccurate contact information, disconnected phone or relocation.  However, some VR consumers cite dissatisfaction with services as their primary reason for discontinuing.  The researchers who developed this study wanted to learn more about why consumers were not satisfied with VR services and offer insight on these findings to VR counselors with the goal of reducing early exit from the system.

Continue reading "Early Exit from VR Services."


Evidence Based Practices for Autism: A Practical Approach for Pre-Service Professionals

autism summer 2015 UM classSummer 2015 Class Application

CSD 491 – 80M, CRN 51149, Instructor approval required

This 3 credit blended online course with a practical lab is the first comprehensive evidenced based practices course for autism in the state. EBP for Autism will allow pre-service professionals to develop EBP strategies to effectively support their clients. This course promises to provide future interventionists with the tools necessary to implement the specialized interventions required for people with autism.

Webinar about Young Adults with Disabilities Transitioning into Adult Lives

“Amazing!” That’s how participants describe a recent webinar facilitated by the Rural Institute’s Kim Brown and Ellen Condon. Their webinar series is a highly-respected source of information for young adults with disabilities transitioning into their adult lives and for the family members and professionals who support them. Over 175 people from 25 states participated in the May 13, 2014 session entitled “Self-Management Strategies for People to Live and Work Independently.”

The presenters discussed ways to incorporate hi-, lo- and no-tech assistive technology (AT) into daily life to help build self-management and independence skills.  They also described  planning processes used to determine appropriate AT for an individual at each stage of a person’s life.

Continue reading about Self-Management Strategies

Craig Ravesloot, Ph.D. - 2014 Distinguished Service Award Recipient

Craig Ravesloot, Ph.D., was awarded the National Association of Rehabilitation Research and Training Center 2014 Distinguished Service award at the NARRTC annual conference in Washington, DC.

Dr. Ravesloot has been conducting research at the RTC:Rural for more than 25 years. He received the award for his research productivity, including the national reach of the evidence-based Living Well with a Disability program that has been implemented by over 250 organizations in more than 45 states.

Webinar Reveals Importance of Better Communication between Law Enforcement Officials and People with Disabilities

University of Montana Rural Institute Researcher Dr. Rosemary B Hughes and retired Sgt. of Police Michael J Sullivan presented a highly informative and well-attended webinar with compelling reasons for increasing law enforcement training in responding to crime victims with disabilities.

Continue reading about Law Enforcement Offican and People with Disabilities

Tom Seekins Receives 2014 ADA Award at UM

The University of Montana awarded Tom Seekins its Americans with Disabilities Act Award for 2014. The ADA Award honors individuals whose contributions advance education and employment opportunities for people with disabilities at the University of Montana in Missoula, and who carry on the spirit of the ADA. Recipients of the award are recognized for consistent efforts to increase accessibility for people with disabilities, for leading the way by providing an inclusive environment for everyone, for successful implementation of programs and strategies that result in measurable change, and for using collaborative practices across units at UM.

Continue reading about Tom Seekins

Rural Institute Researchers present update to Interagency Committee on Disability Statistics

The University of Montana Rural Institute on Disabiities has been invited to present an update on their recent research activities to a subcommittee of the Federal Interagency Committee on Disability Statistics on May 7, 2014. Lillie Greiman, M.A., and Catherine Ipsen, Ph.D., will present “Using National Data to Describe the Context of Rural Disability and Inform Policy and Practice.”

According to Greiman, “It’s a great opportunity to highlight our research and bring attention to disability issues in rural America, which don’t often get the attention they deserve.”

Greiman will present metro, micro, and non-core disability data from the American Community Survey (ACS). This information is also contained in a new RTC:Rural publication that Greiman co-authored entitled: Map Facts: Disability in Rural America (PDF).

Continue reading about Interagency Committee on Disability

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ScholarWorks Readership Map

Browse the Rural Institute Collections at ScholarWorks University of Montana


Happenings at Rural Institute

Major Programs within the Rural Institute