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Disability and Rehabilitation Research and Related Projects

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Program Office: National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)

CFDA Number: 84.133A
Program Type: Discretionary/Competitive Grants, Contracts, Cooperative Agreements
Also Known As: DRRP


PROGRAM DESCRIPTIONS

The purpose of the DRRP program is to improve the effectiveness of services 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 activities: research, training, demonstration, development, dissemination, utilization, and technical assistance.

Many sub-programs fall under the auspices of the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Program (DRRP). Each of these sub programs is listed below.




The General Disability Rehabilitation Research Program

The Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) program funds projects with special emphasis on research, demonstrations, training, dissemination, utilization and technical assistance. Projects may include combinations of these activities. True to the mission of NIDRR, these projects may develop methods, procedures and rehabilitation technology to assist in achieving 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, or to improve the effectiveness of services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act.

Generally, projects are funded for one grant cycle of three to five years as opposed to Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) and Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers (RERC) projects which often require long-term, sustained investments over multiple cycles of funding.

For more information on the types of projects under this program go to "Examples of Projects or Highlights of the General Disability and Rehabilitation Research Program" sub-heading under the "Types of Projects" section.

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The TBI Model Systems' Program

The Traumatic Brain Injury Model Systems (TBIMS) Centers program was created and funded by NIDRR in 1987. The aim of the program is to demonstrate the benefits of a coordinated system of neurotrauma and rehabilitation care and to conduct innovative research on all aspects of care for those who sustain traumatic brain injuries. The mission of the TBIMS is to improve the lives of persons who experience traumatic brain injury by creating and disseminating new knowledge about the course, treatment and outcomes relating to their condition.

The 16 currently-funded centers disclaimer provide comprehensive systems of brain injury care to individuals who sustain a traumatic brain injury, from acute care through community re-entry. The research efforts of the TBIMS centers include site-specific research projects as well as collaborative research module projects, which range from pilot research to more extensive studies. The research topics include improving diagnostic and prognostic tools and evaluating a variety of rehabilitative and pharmacological interventions aimed at reducing specific neurobehavioral symptoms, and optimizing community participation, employment and overall quality of life.

In addition, the TBIMS centers collect and contribute information on common data elements for a centralized TBIMS database, which is maintained through a NIDRR-funded grant for a TBIMS National Data and Statistical Center. disclaimer

Finally, the TBIMS centers are eligible to apply for a TBIMS Collaboratives grant which requires collaboration between four or more of the existing centers. The collaborative grants build on the research infrastructure of the TBIMS Centers and allow for multi-site research that could not be conducted by any one center alone.

For more information on the types of projects under this program go to "Examples of Projects or Highlights of the TBI Model System Program" sub-heading under the "Types of Projects" section.

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The Burn Model Systems' Program

NIDRR created the Burn Injury Rehabilitation Model Systems of Care (BMS) in 1994 to provide leadership in rehabilitation as a key component of exemplary burn care and to advance the research base of rehabilitation services or burn survivors. The BMS Centers have developed a longitudinal database that contains information on over 3,046 adults and more than 1,602 children. The data collection is maintained at the National Data and Statistical Center for the BMS since 1998.

The project activities from these centers continued to advance the knowledge in the field of burn care rehabilitation to inclusion of a chapter on burn rehabilitation in leading comprehensive Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R) textbooks.

The findings from burn Injury-related psychological distress research have been published in the official American Burn Association (ABA) journal (Journal of Burn Care and Research) for dissemination to the entire ABA membership and to the wider body of individuals interested in burn injury rehabilitation

Pressure Garment Therapy (PGT) has been accepted formany years as state of the art treatment to diminish hypertrophic scarring, debilitating contractures across joints and diminishing pruritus have provided scientifically based guidelines for applying PGT.

A project on burn injury prevention collected demographic and research data on patients who sustain work-related burn injuries. This information was disseminated to the Safety and Health Assessment and Research for Prevention (SHARP) Program, part of the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries Burn Surveillance Program. SHARP staff used this new knowledge to educate Washington state employers on workplace safety.

Currently, four BMS Centers conduct research activities designed to improve rehabilitative interventions that can help optimize levels of community participation, employment, and overall quality of life for individuals with burn injury.

For more information on the types of projects under this program go to "Examples of Projects or Highlights of the Burn Model System Research Program" sub-heading under the "Types of Projects" section.

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ADA National Network Centers' Program

The 10 ADA National Network Regional Centers (ADA Regional Centers), along with the ADA National Network Knowledge Translation Center (ADA KT Center) comprise the ADA National Network. The Regional Center are designed to improve understanding by ADA stakeholders of their rights and responsibilities under the ADA.

Each ADA Regional Center contributes to this outcome by implementing a program of outreach, training, technical assistance, information dissemination and capacity building aimed at ADA stakeholders including local, regional and national groups representing such stakeholders.

The ADA KT Center is designed to do the following:

  • improve the efficiency and impact of the ADA National Network’s outreach, training, technical assistance, information dissemination, and capacity building activities;

  • increase the use of available ADA-related research findings to inform behavior, practices or policies that improve equal access in society for individuals with disabilities;

  • increase awareness and utilization of ADA-related research findings by appropriate ADA stakeholder groups; and

  • improve understanding of ADA stakeholders’ need for and receipt of ADA Network Services over time, including services to address emerging issues related to compliance with ADA requirements.

For more information on the types of projects under this program go to "Examples of Projects or Highlights of the ADA National Network Centers' Program" sub-heading under the "Types of Projects" section.

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The Knowledge Translation Program

Knowledge translation (KT) is a process of ensuring that new knowledge and products gained through the course of research and development will ultimately be used to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities and further their participation in society. KT is built upon and sustained by ongoing interactions, partnerships, and collaborations among various stakeholders in the production and use of such knowledge and products,including researchers, practitioners, policy-makers, persons with disabilities, and others.

KT process begins at knowledge creation, and carries through to knowledge synthesis, knowledge dissemination, and knowledge implementation/use in real-life settings and evaluation of its impact. Numerous factors can influence KT but they are not yet well understoodin the field of disability and rehabilitation, and there is a need to establish a better understanding of this process through research and development activities.

NIDRR has invested in KT both through direct funding of research and development projects in its KT portfolio, and through integrating the KT underlying principle of interactions, partnerships, and collaborations among stakeholders into the content of all priorities. The projected long-term outcomes are knowledge and products that not only based on high quality science and relevant to society's needs, but can also be used to solve real issues faced by persons with disabilities.

The focuses of NIDRR's KT projects range from investigating models, methods, strategies, and mechanisms that could contribute to the successful KT of disability and rehabilitation research and products, to synthesizing, disseminating, and promoting the use of existing knowledge and products to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities.

For more information on the types of projects under this program go to "Examples of Projects or Highlights of the General Disability and Rehabilitation Research Program" sub-heading under the "Types of Projects" section.


The Section 21 Program

NIDRR's Capacity Building research agenda, as identified in its Long Range Plan, includes a section focused on activities specific to underserved populations, including racial and ethnic minorities. This part of the plan supports NIDRR's capacity building goal and the intent of Section 21 of the Rehabilitation Act (29 USC § 718) which mandates that 1% of NIDRR appropriations be set aside to address traditionally underserved populations

The Section 21 program focuses on research capacity building for minority entities such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) disclaimer and institutions serving primarily Hispanic disclaimer, Asian disclaimer and American Indian students disclaimer; and non-minority entities with an interest in improving understanding about the needs and outcomes of individuals with disabilities from minority populations.

Program activities include assisting minority entities with networking that supports enhanced collaboration between minority entities and non-minority entities, and the exchange of expertise and advanced training across program areas.

In addition to funding grant activities in this area, NIDRR annually organizes a Section 21 project directors' meeting to discuss critical issues, identify research and knowledge gaps, develop research agenda recommendations, and disseminate information. The audience consists primarily of personnel from funded Section 21 grants, as well as other NIDRR grantees, research entities, organizations, and individuals with an interest in disability and rehabilitation for racial and ethnic minorities.

In FY 2008, NIDRR conducted a Section 21 competition to improve the quality and use of research related to individuals with disabilities from traditionally underserved racial and ethnic populations, and to enhance the capacity of minority entities to conduct this research. The focus of research activities includes studies that address issues of employment, participation and community living, or health and function. Three grants were funded under this priority to conduct research over a five-year period.

For more information on the types of projects under this program go to "Examples of Projects or Highlights of the Section 21 Program" sub-heading under the "Types of Projects" section.

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TYPES OF PROJECTS

Given the number of sub-programs that fall under the auspices of the DRRP program, the types of projects conducted by grantees in each sub-program vary. Illustrative program highlights and examples of the types of projects conducted under each sub-program are listed below.

Examples of Projects or Highlights of the General Disability and Rehabilitation Research Program

  • Univeristy of Illinois at Chicago Obesity Research Project on Prevalence, Adaptations and KT in Youth and Young Adults with Disabilities from Diverse Race/Ethnic Backgrounds.
    The Univeristy of Illinois at Chicago is expanding upon ongoing research on obesity in youth and young adults with disabilities (formerly funded under DRRP-I) by addressing significant gaps in the literature related to prevalence, risk factors and consequences of obesity; successful and promising community-based strategies for obesity prevention; and knowledge translation issues that limit access to important research findings.

  • Classification and Measurement of Medical Rehabilitation Interventions.
    The Mount Sinai School of Medicine is developing a Rehabilitation Treatment Taxonomy (RTT) covering all treatments (experience-based, medications, education, assistive devices, etc.) delivered in medical rehabilitation. This is a multi-year, multidisciplinary process requiring the interweaving of many different conceptual and empirical steps, which needs to be guided by an overall blueprint to direct and link individual efforts. This project develops such a blueprint, and performs research to explore strategies and methods that are needed to create and test the full RTT. The taxonomy will set a needed common base for research and treatment terminology in rehabilitation.

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Examples of Projects or Highlights of TBI Model System Program

The topics the current TBIMS Centers research studies can be broadly categorized as

  • rehabilitation intervention trials,
  • pharmacological intervention trials, and
  • diagnostic/prognostic studies.

The overwhelming majority of these studies are randomized controlled trials.

The topics of these single site studies include:

  • Rehabilitation Intervention Trials
    Memory retraining; cognitive and neurobehavioral rehabilitation; virtual environment and robotic intervention; family crisis and support intervention; advocacy training; work attendance incentive program; home exercise program; visual-perceptual training for driving; sleep augmentation and fatigue reduction program; and acupuncture as novel technique for insomnia.

  • Pharmacological Intervention Trials
    (Carbamazepine for irritability/aggression; dextroamphetamine for attention/mood/function; human growth hormone for function improvement; safety and feasibility of minocycline); and diagnostic/prognostic studies (biomarkers of diffuse axonal injury; relationship between fMRI and outcomes; statistical models for predictors of function; and utility of MRI techniques in predicting outcome).

  • Diagnostic/Prognostic Studies
    Biomarkers of diffuse axonal injury; relationship between fMRI and outcomes; statistical models for predictors of function; and utility of MRI techniques in predicting outcome.
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Examples of Projects or Highlights of Burn Model System Program

  1. Identification of the Pathways to Scarring
    Will utilize bioinformatics tools to identify gene expression pathways associated with hypertropic scarring.

  2. Augmented Exercise Program Trial (randomized, controlled trial)
    Conduct a double-blinded, randomized, controlled clinical trial of the efficacy of a formal, 12-week program of aerobic training in promoting return to fitness and improving adherence to an exercise program.

  3. Acute Stress Disorder (ASD) and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in Children
    Natural history, treatment efficacy, and prediction.

  4. Efficacy of Social Interaction Skills Training Post Burn Injury
    A prospective randomized intervention study.

  5. Long-term Follow-up of the BMS National Database Sample (LTF-NDS)
    Prospective, longitudinal outcome study. The goals are:

    • to document physical, social and psychological conditions five and ten years post-burn injury,
    • to determine significant barriers to community reintegration,
    • to compare acute post-burn quantitative measures of impairment to long-term assessments; and
    • to identify common abnormal conditions caused by major burns to help promote future burn research agendas thus improving the quality of burn survivors lives.

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Examples of Projects or Highlights of the ADA National Network Centers' Program.

The Ten ADA National Network Regional Centers:

  • New England ADA Center disclaimer
    Serves Region 1 (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont)
    Institute for Human Centered Design
    Boston, Massachusetts
    Phone: (617) 695-0085 (V/TTY)
    Fax: (617) 482-8099
     
  • Northeast ADA Center disclaimer
    Serves Region 2 (New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands)
    Cornell University
    Ithaca, New York
    Phone: (607) 225-6686 (V/TTY)
    Fax: (607) 255-2763
     
  • Mid-Atlantic ADA Center disclaimer
    Serves Region 3 (Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia)
    TransCen, Inc.
    Rockville, Maryland
    Phone: (301) 217-0124 (V/TTY)
    Fax: (301) 217-0754
     
  • Southeast ADA Center disclaimer
    Serves Region 4 (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee)
    Project of the Burton Blatt Institute-Syracuse University
    Atlanta, Georgia 30324
    Phone: (404) 541-9001 (V/TTY)
    Fax: (404) 541-9002
     
  • Great Lakes ADA Center disclaimer
    Serves Region 5 (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin)
    University of Illinois/Chicago
    Chicago, Illinois
    Phone: (312) 413-1407 (V/TTY)
    Fax: (312) 413-1856
     
  • Southwest ADA Center disclaimer
    Serves Region 6 (Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas)
    Independent Living Research Utilization
    Houston, Texas
    Phone: (713) 520-0232 (V/TTY)
    Fax: (713) 520-5785
     
  • Great Plains ADA Center disclaimer
    Serves Region 7 (Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska)
    University of Missouri/Columbia
    Columbia, Missouri
    Phone: (573) 882-3600 (V/TTY)
    Fax: (573) 884-4925
     
  • Rocky Mountain ADA Center disclaimer
    Serves Region 8 (Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming)
    Meeting the Challenge, Inc.
    Colorado Springs, Colorado
    Phone (719) 444-0268 (V/TTY)
    Fax (719) 444-0269
     
  • Pacific ADA Center disclaimer
    Serves Region 9 (Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and the Pacific Basin)
    Oakland, California
    Phone: (510) 285-5600 (V/TTY)
    Fax: (510) 285-5614
     
  • Northwest ADA Center disclaimer
    Serves Region 10 (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington)
    University of Washington
    Mountlake Terrace, Washington 98043
    Phone (425) 248-2480 (V, TTY, TDD, TT)
    Fax: (425) 774-9303

The ADA TA Center is located at the University of Washington (Mountain Lake Terrace, Washington). Its primary purpose is to serve as a national technical assistance center to the ten regional ADA netowrk centers.

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Examples of Projects or Highlights of the Knowledge Translation Program.

  • The National Center on the Dissemination of Disability Research (NCDDR)
    focuses on promoting dissemination of disability and rehabilitation research knowledge by conducting research to identify the strategies on effective dissemination practices for intended user audiences,implementing those strategies that would promote the use of research outcomes in meaningful ways, and providing training and technical assistance to NIDRR grantees to for capacity building in this area.

  • The Center on Knowledge Translation for Technology Transfer (KT4TT)
    focuses on promoting the transfer of technology developed by NIDRR technology grantees through applications of both the theories and practices of KT through synthesizing current knowledge about KT theories and practices related to accomplishing technology transfer (TT) outcomes, conducting research to test the effectiveness of KT for TT, conducting demonstration projects on TT, and providing training and technical assistance to NIDRR's technology grantees in this area.

  • The Center on Innovative Knowledge Dissemination and Utilization for Disability and Professional Organizations and Stakeholders
    focuses on an innovative approach—underpinned by close collaborations with various professional organizations, consumer organizations, and other stakeholders—to develop, test, and apply appraisal standards, implementation methods, and dissemination strategies of research-based information that would enable knowledge users in rehabilitation field to make informed choices.

Examples of Projects or Highlights of the Section 21 Program.

Dartmouth College, in collaboration with Howard University, will conduct three research projects to enhance understanding of the broad service experience of African-Americans in psychiatric rehabilitation. All of the planned research will occur in Washington, DC, in partnership with Community Connections mental health services agency and the District of Columbia Supported Employment program.

  • The first project will assess the influence on rehabilitation of living in independent housing units in a small, relationship-centered building that accommodates other people in recovery from mental illness.

  • The second project will examine the process of rehabilitation for African-Americans with co-occurring severe mental illness and substance use disorder.

  • The final project is a study of the service experience of African-Americans in supported employment.

From these findings, the grantee will develop relevant empirically-grounded interventions that may improve service delivery and effectiveness for African-Americans suffering from a psychiatric disability.

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Additional Information

To obtain abstract and contact information for newly and currently funded grants in each sub-program under the auspices of the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Program (DRRP). go to http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/nidrr/nidrrprogramhome.html#

Note:This is one of several NIDRR grant programs. Congress provides an appropriation for NIDRR as a whole; see the entry for NIDRR (# 84.133), also under the topical heading "Disability and Rehabilitation Research." The amounts listed here are a portion of the total NIDRR appropriation.

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Last Modified: 04/04/2014