UM Graduate Student Part of National Expert Panel
Research shows that children with disabilities experience more social isolation, higher obesity rates and as pedestrians, they are five times more likely to be hit by a vehicle when compared to children without disabilities. Helen Russette, a University of Montana graduate student studying public health, hopes to change those statistics.
Russette is part of a team at UM that is developing a toolkit for identifying school routes that increase pedestrian safety, accessibility and inclusivity. Toolkit collaborators include the Montana Disability and Health Community Planning Group at the Rural Institute, Accessibility Ambassadors from four Montana Independent Living Centers, and local Safe Routes to School experts. The free toolkit will be available online later this year.
As a result of her work, Russette was an invited presenter at the Safe Routes to School national conference held in August in Sacramento, Calif. The Safe Routes to School program encourages school-age children to roll walk, or ride their bike to school. Russette shared information that will help communities provide safe routes for children with disabilities.
PROGRAM WEBSITE: http://mtdh.ruralinstitute.umt.edu/