CHRT receives additional funding to expand its work with the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR). The University of Michigan Center for Disability and Wellness is selected to create a national Equity Center to identify and address disparities experienced by individuals from marginalized backgrounds with physical, cognitive, sensory, and developmental disabilities.
The Equity Center will partner with CHRT to enhance the capacity of trainees, community organizations, and researchers across the United States as they work to inform evidence-based policy changes related to equity and disability health. CHRT will conduct policy training workshops and symposia via webinars several times throughout the course of the grant, focusing on improving knowledge and skills about the policymaking and advocacy process. All trainings will be accessible through ASL interpreters, open captioning, braille materials, wheelchair ramps, and more.
Recent briefs funded by CHRT’s original work with the Rehabilitiation Research and Training Center include:
- A policy brief outlining ways to support unpaid caregivers. CHRT staff review six different state and federal policy options to support family caregivers in the U.S. including Medicaid waivers, workplace anti-discrimination laws, investments in long-term care and other programs, expansion of the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) National Family Caregiver Support Programs, and Social Security work credits.
- Policy recommendations to improve telehealth for people with disabilities. Telehealth can increase access to care, help health systems reduce long term costs, and promote consumer independence. However, people with disabilities face access challenges; for example, video communication platforms may be challenging for people who are deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind, blind, or intellectually or developmentally disabled. CHRT provides recommendations for policymakers and funders.
- A brief on new COVID-19 stressors for unpaid family caregivers. Caregivers may have a heightened risk of infection, as research shows that more than one-third have medical conditions that make them more susceptible to contracting COVID-19. And during the pandemic, many caregivers have had to manage risks to their care recipient’s health, as well. The brief provides recommendations for policymakers and funders.
- A paper in the Annals of Family Medicine on annual wellness visit use among people with disabilities. The paper looks at annual wellness visit (AWV) use among persons with physical disabilities from 2008 to 2016–before, during, and after the rollout of the ACA. Researchers consider insurance type (Medicare Advantage or commercial) as well as race, sex, and disability type to determine how persons with disabilities use AWV. Overall,
- An infograph outlining how states are combating social isolation and loneliness for adults with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Forty percent of adults with a debilitating disability or chronic condition report feeling lonely or socially isolated, say CHRT staff. However, programs that encourage interaction within neighborhoods, fund resources for seniors such as transportation and medication delivery, and media campaigns may offer protection against the negative consequences of social isolation.