FR Doc 2010-14135
[Federal Register: June 11, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 112)]
[Notices]               
[Page 33285-33288]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr11jn10-47]                                 

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

 
National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research 
(NIDRR)--Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers 
Program--Disability Rehabilitation Research Project (DRRP)--Reducing 
Obesity and Obesity-Related Secondary Health Conditions Among 
Adolescents and Young Adults With Disabilities From Diverse Race and 
Ethnic Backgrounds

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.133A-7.

AGENCY: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, 
Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of final priority for a DRRP.

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SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services announces a priority for the Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program administered by 
NIDRR. Specifically, this notice announces a priority for a DRRP on 
Reducing Obesity and Obesity-Related Secondary Health Conditions Among 
Adolescents and Young Adults With Disabilities From Diverse Race and 
Ethnic Backgrounds. The Assistant Secretary may use this priority for a 
competition in fiscal year (FY) 2010 and later years. We take this 
action to focus research attention on areas of national need. We intend 
this priority to improve rehabilitation services and outcomes for 
individuals with disabilities.

DATES: Effective Date: This priority is effective July 12, 2010.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lynn Medley, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 5140, Potomac Center Plaza, 
Washington, DC 20202-2700. Telephone: (202) 245-7338 or by e-mail: 
lynn.medley@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the 
Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice of final priority (NFP) is in 
concert with NIDRR's Final Long-Range Plan for FY 2005-2009 (Plan). The 
Plan, which was published in the Federal Register on February 15, 2006 
(71 FR 8165), can be accessed on the Internet at the following site: 
http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/nidrr/policy.html.
    Through the implementation of the Plan, NIDRR seeks to: (1) Improve 
the quality and utility of disability and rehabilitation research; (2) 
foster an exchange of expertise, information, and training to 
facilitate the advancement of knowledge and understanding of the unique 
needs of traditionally underserved populations; (3) determine best 
strategies and programs to improve rehabilitation outcomes for 
underserved populations; (4) identify research gaps; (5) identify 
mechanisms of integrating research and practice; and (6) disseminate 
findings.
    Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program is to plan and 
conduct research, demonstration projects, training, and related 
activities, including international activities, to develop methods, 
procedures, and rehabilitation technology, that maximize the full 
inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living, 
family support, and economic and social self-sufficiency of individuals 
with disabilities, especially individuals with the most severe 
disabilities, and to improve the effectiveness of services authorized 
under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

[[Page 33286]]

DRRP Program

    The purpose of the DRRP program is to improve the effectiveness of 
services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 
by developing methods, procedures, and rehabilitation technologies that 
advance a wide range of independent living and employment outcomes for 
individuals with disabilities, especially individuals with the most 
severe disabilities. DRRPs carry out one or more of the following types 
of activities, as specified and defined in 34 CFR 350.13 through 
350.19: research, training, demonstration, development, dissemination, 
utilization, and technical assistance. An applicant for assistance 
under this program must demonstrate in its application how it will 
address, in whole or in part, the needs of individuals with 
disabilities from minority backgrounds (34 CFR 350.40(a)). The 
approaches an applicant may take to meet this requirement are found in 
34 CFR 350.40(b). In addition, NIDRR intends to require all DRRP 
applicants to meet the requirements of the General Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research Project (DRRP) Requirements priority that it 
published in a notice of final priorities in the Federal Register on 
April 28, 2006 (71 FR 25472).
    Additional information on the DRRP program can be found at: 
http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/res-program.html#DRRP.

    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(a).

    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350.
    We published a notice of proposed priority (NPP) for NIDRR's 
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program in 
the Federal Register on December 15, 2009 (74 FR 66307). The NPP 
included a background statement that described our rationale for the 
priority proposed in that notice.
    There is one significant difference between the NPP and this NFP as 
discussed in the following section.

Public Comment

    In response to our invitation in the NPP, five parties submitted 
comments on the proposed priority for the DRRP.
    Generally, we do not address technical and other minor changes or 
suggested changes the law does not authorize us to make under the 
applicable statutory authority. In addition, we do not address general 
comments that raised concerns not directly related to the proposed 
priority.
    Analysis of Comments and Changes: An analysis of the comments and 
of any changes in the priority since publication of the NPP follows.
    Comment: One commenter requested that this priority address the 
need for youth to learn skills to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The 
commenter noted that these skills can be taken into adulthood, and 
include proper nutrition, daily exercise, and group activities.
    Discussion: The priority does not preclude applicants from focusing 
on promising community-based and culturally competent practices for 
teaching youth about proper nutrition, daily exercise, or other 
behavioral and lifestyle changes to reduce obesity and obesity-related 
conditions.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter asked the Department to clarify whether the 
term ``disability'' includes children with mental and emotional 
illness, particularly children who develop obesity as a result of the 
effects of prescription drugs taken to treat depression and other 
symptoms of mental or emotional illness.
    Discussion: Individuals with mental and emotional disabilities are 
included in the definition of individual with a disability that applies 
to this program (see section 7(20)(b) of the Rehabilitation Act of 
1973, as amended (29 U.S.C. 705(20)(B)). However, applicants are not 
required to include individuals with all types of disabilities as part 
of their proposal. Rather, the priority requires applicants to identify 
the specific sub-populations of adolescents and young adults they 
propose to study by type of disability. Therefore, under this priority, 
an applicant could focus its project on adolescents and young adults 
with mental or emotional disabilities.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter recommended that the requirements related to 
the translation of research findings into practice or policy (paragraph 
(c) of the priority) include a requirement that materials be 
disseminated in alternate formats.
    Discussion: NIDRR agrees with the commenter that project materials 
must be produced in alternate formats to help ensure accessibility for 
individuals with disabilities.
    Changes: NIDRR has amended the language in paragraph (c)(3) of the 
priority to provide that the DRRP must conduct dissemination 
activities, including the distribution of materials in alternate 
formats, to increase the utilization and accessibility of the DRRP's 
research findings by individuals with disabilities.
    Comment: One commenter requested that the Department articulate the 
specific kinds of community-based obesity reduction strategies and 
programs that will be considered under paragraph (b) of the priority.
    Discussion: NIDRR believes it would be too restrictive to limit the 
kinds of strategies and programs that will be considered under this 
priority and that doing so could result in the potential exclusion of 
innovative projects. As such, NIDRR did not specify the kinds of 
community-based strategies and programs that are to be considered under 
paragraph (b) of the priority. Applicants must specify the criteria and 
methods they will use to identify such strategies and programs.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter asked NIDRR to specify potential sources of 
health data for use under this priority.
    Discussion: There are a wide variety of data sources that the DRRP 
could use to meet the requirements under paragraph (a) of the priority. 
NIDRR believes, however, that identifying specific data sources in the 
priority would be unnecessarily restrictive. As such, NIDRR did not 
specify the sources of health data that are to be considered under 
paragraph (a). Rather, applicants must specify the data sources that 
they propose to use under paragraph (a).
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter stated that risk factors for obesity are 
best addressed in the pre-adolescent years before unhealthy habits 
become established. The commenter recommended that the priority focus 
on children younger than age 15.
    Discussion: NIDRR acknowledges the current obesity epidemic among 
young children and the importance of addressing obesity in the pre-
adolescent years. However, with this priority, NIDRR focuses on obesity 
for individuals between the ages of 15 and 25. This focus helps address 
the paucity of research regarding this population and is consistent 
with the Department's focus on improving outcomes for transition-age 
youth with disabilities.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter asked which operational definitions of 
``disability'' applicants should use to address this priority.
    Discussion: Section 7(20)(b) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as 
amended (29 U.S.C. 705(20)(B)) defines ``individual with a 
disability,'' for purposes of title II of the Rehabilitation Act, as 
any person who ``(i) has a physical or mental impairment that 
substantially limits one or more of such person's major life 
activities, (ii) has a

[[Page 33287]]

record of such an impairment, or (iii) is regarded as having such an 
impairment.'' Within this definition and the requirements of the 
priority, applicants have the flexibility to specify their target 
population for the purposes of their proposed projects.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter stated that risk factors may be categorized 
from an ecological perspective, including a focus on the individual, 
the environment, and society.
    Discussion: NIDRR does not specify a particular perspective or 
conceptual approach that applicants must use in addressing the 
priority. Nothing in the priority precludes an applicant from 
characterizing risk factors from an ecological perspective.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter stated that resources should be targeted to 
children diagnosed with developmental disabilities at birth.
    Discussion: NIDRR acknowledges the current obesity epidemic among 
young children and the importance of addressing obesity in the pre-
adolescent years. However, with this priority NIDRR focuses on obesity 
for individuals between the ages of 15 and 25. This focus helps address 
the paucity of research regarding this population and is consistent 
with the Department's focus on improving outcomes for transition-age 
youth with disabilities. Regarding the commenter's request that 
resources be targeted to children diagnosed with developmental 
disabilities, nothing in the priority precludes an applicant from 
focusing on this population. However, NIDRR has no basis for requiring 
all applicants to do so.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter recommended that research funded under this 
priority adapt and prospectively track or evaluate high quality obesity 
treatment programs for children with developmental disabilities.
    Discussion: Paragraph (b) of the priority requires applicants to 
identify promising obesity-reduction strategies and programs and to 
specify criteria and methods for doing so. The DRRP's work is intended 
to identify potential interventions that can be tested and implemented 
in the future in community-based settings. This systematic 
identification of promising practices must occur before the intensive 
evaluation activities suggested by the commenter. Adaptation and 
prospective tracking or evaluation of programs are beyond the scope of 
this priority.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter asked how community-based and culturally 
competent practices to reduce obesity and secondary conditions will 
include consideration of a medical home.
    Discussion: The priority neither requires nor precludes a focus on 
medical homes. Applicants are required to specify the criteria and 
methods they will use to identify obesity-reduction strategies and 
programs.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter asked whether NIDRR will support studies of 
how primary and secondary disabilities vary by factors such as race/
ethnicity, geography, family income, and access to health insurance.
    Discussion: Paragraph (a) of the priority requires applicants to 
identify variations in rates of obesity and overweight status by race/
ethnicity and other obesity risk factors among adolescents and young 
adults with disabilities. Nothing in the priority precludes applicants 
from examining geography, family income, and access to health insurance 
as additional potential obesity risk factors.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter stated that it is important to study 
potential impacts of obesity and related secondary conditions on job 
placement and retention.
    Discussion: The priority requires the applicant to address risk 
factors for and health consequences of obesity for adolescents and 
young adults with disabilities and to identify promising community-
based and culturally competent practices to reduce obesity among this 
population. While NIDRR acknowledges the potential importance of the 
impact of obesity and related secondary conditions on job placement and 
retention, such a focus is beyond the scope of this priority.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter asked if there is evidence to support the 
effective transfer of obesity management programs developed for 
individuals without disabilities to individuals with disabilities.
    Discussion: The priority requires grantees to examine existing 
community-based obesity prevention programs such as the programs being 
implemented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 
Grantees must determine whether the practices of community-based 
obesity prevention programs serving the wider community hold promise 
for individuals with disabilities, might need modification for use by 
individuals with disabilities, or might incorporate individuals with 
disabilities. Accordingly, the grantee will examine whether there is 
sufficient evidence to support such a transfer.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter asked NIDRR to identify the best methods for 
communicating scientific findings to multiple stakeholder groups.
    Discussion: There is a wide variety of methods that the DRRP could 
use to meet the requirements under paragraph (c) of the priority. NIDRR 
believes that specifying these methods in the priority would be 
unnecessarily restrictive and could result in the exclusion of projects 
using dissemination and knowledge translation methods that are not 
specified in the priority. As such, NIDRR does not identify methods for 
communicating scientific findings to multiple stakeholder groups. 
Rather, applicants must specify the methods that they will use to 
fulfill the requirements of paragraph (c) of the priority.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter recommended the identification or adaptation 
of behavioral and exercise programs for children with disabilities.
    Discussion: The priority requires a focus on individuals between 
the ages of 15 and 25. Applicants may propose criteria and methods that 
would allow behavioral and exercise programs to be identified as 
promising under paragraph (b) of the priority. The peer review process 
will determine the merits of each proposal.
    Changes: None.

Final Priority

    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services announces a priority for a Disability Rehabilitation Research 
Project (DRRP) on Reducing Obesity and Obesity-Related Secondary 
Conditions among Adolescents and Young Adults With Disabilities From 
Diverse Race and Ethnic Backgrounds. The DRRP must build upon the 
current research literature on obesity and secondary conditions and 
examine existing community-based obesity prevention programs such as 
the programs being implemented by the Centers for Disease Control and 
Prevention (CDC) in order to determine whether practices they are 
implementing hold promise for individuals with disabilities, what 
modifications to these practices may be necessary, and how individuals 
with disabilities might be incorporated into community-based programs 
serving the wider community. Applicants must identify the specific sub-
populations of adolescents and young adults they propose to study by 
type of disability

[[Page 33288]]

(e.g., physical, sensory, mental) and by race/ethnic background. Under 
this priority, NIDRR is interested in obesity as a condition that is 
experienced concomitantly with other disabling conditions, but not as a 
primary disabling condition. When identifying the specific sub-
populations by race/ethnic background, the DRRP must select from three 
or more of the following categories: Non-Hispanic Whites, non-Hispanic 
Blacks, American Indians or Alaskan Natives, Asians or Pacific 
Islanders, and individuals of Hispanic origin.
    Under this priority, the DRRP must be designed to contribute to the 
following outcomes:
    (a) Enhanced understanding of the risk factors and health 
consequences of obesity and overweight status for adolescents and young 
adults with pre-existing disabilities from diverse race/ethnic 
backgrounds. The DRRP must contribute to this outcome by conducting 
analyses of extant data sources to identify variations in rates of 
obesity and overweight status by race/ethnicity and other risk factors 
among adolescents and young adults with disabilities approximately 15 
to 25 years of age, as well as variations in obesity-related secondary 
conditions.
    (b) New knowledge of promising community-based and culturally 
competent practices for reducing obesity and obesity-related secondary 
conditions among adolescents and young adults with pre-existing 
disabilities. The DRRP must contribute to this outcome by conducting 
research to identify the key elements of community-based and culturally 
competent strategies and programs that show promise toward reducing 
obesity and overweight status for the specific target populations 
selected. The DRRP's work in this area is intended to identify 
potential interventions that can be tested and implemented in the 
future in community-based settings. Applicants must propose, in their 
applications, the specific criteria and methods they will use to 
identify promising community-based and culturally competent strategies 
and programs.
    (c) Increased translation of research findings into practice or 
policy. The DRRP must contribute to this outcome by:
    (1) Collaborating with stakeholder groups (e.g., youth and young 
adults with disabilities, families, family surrogates, rehabilitation 
professionals, and public health professionals) to develop, evaluate, 
or implement strategies to increase utilization of the DRRP's research 
findings in programs targeted to youth with disabilities;
    (2) Coordinating with existing programs such as those being 
implemented by the CDC to obtain and share information regarding the 
applicability of promising practices for individuals with disabilities; 
and
    (3) Conducting dissemination activities, including the distribution 
of materials in alternate formats to increase the utilization and 
accessibility of the DRRP's research findings by individuals with 
disabilities.
    This notice announces a priority that NIDRR intends to use for DRRP 
competitions in FY 2010 and possibly later years. However, nothing 
precludes NIDRR from publishing additional priorities, if needed. 
Furthermore, NIDRR is under no obligation to make an award for this 
priority. The decision to make an award will be based on the quality of 
applications received and available funding.

Types of Priorities

    When inviting applications for a competition using one or more 
priorities, we designate the type of each priority as absolute, 
competitive preference, or invitational through a notice in the Federal 
Register. The effect of each type of priority follows:
    Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only 
applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).
    Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference 
priority, we give competitive preference to an application by (1) 
awarding additional points, depending on the extent to which the 
application meets the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) 
selecting an application that meets the priority over an application of 
comparable merit that does not meet the priority (34 CFR 
75.105(c)(2)(ii)).
    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are 
particularly interested in applications that meet the priority. 
However, we do not give an application that meets the priority a 
preference over other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).

    Note:  This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use this priority, we invite applications through 
a notice in the Federal Register.

    Executive Order 12866: This notice has been reviewed in accordance 
with Executive Order 12866. Under the terms of the order, we have 
assessed the potential costs and benefits of this final regulatory 
action.
    The potential costs associated with this final regulatory action 
are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have 
determined as necessary for administering this program effectively and 
efficiently.
    In assessing the potential costs and benefits--both quantitative 
and qualitative--of this final regulatory action, we have determined 
that the benefits of the final priority justify the costs.

Discussion of Costs and Benefits

    The benefits of the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects 
and Centers Programs have been well established over the years in that 
similar projects have been completed successfully. This final priority 
will generate new knowledge through research and development. Another 
benefit of this final priority is that the establishment of a new DRRP 
will improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. The new DRRP 
will generate, disseminate, and promote the use of new information that 
will improve the options for individuals with disabilities to perform 
regular activities in the community.
    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, 
audiotape, or computer diskette) by contacting the Grants and Contracts 
Services Team, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., 
room 5075, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-2550. Telephone: 
(202) 245-7363. If you use a TDD, call the FRS, toll free, at 1-800-
877-8339.
    Electronic Access to This Document: You can view this document, as 
well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal 
Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the 
Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/news/fedregister. To 
use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at 
this site.

    Note: The official version of this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the 
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available on GPO Access at: 
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/index.html.


    Dated: June 8, 2010.
Alexa Posny,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 2010-14135 Filed 6-10-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P