Dear Friends and Colleagues,
I am happy to present to you the Fiscal Year 2015 Annual Report for the Institute on Disability (IOD) at the University of New Hampshire. In addition to informative data and metrics on many important aspects of our work, this report includes a selection of profiles which help illustrate the IOD’s impact this past year.
The development and dissemination of new knowledge is critical, but it is people and their development and wellness that drive positive change. We are fortunate to be part of a vast, diverse, and prolific network of change agents, which includes research faculty, operating staff, students, advocates, policymaker and service providers, who strive each and every day to ensure all people, including individuals living with disabilities, are fully engaged members of communities. Their noble efforts remind me that we must not rest on what we think we know or simply on past practices, but that we must continually focus on gaining and applying new knowledge to ensure progress in our society for individuals with disabilities and their families.
Thank you for taking the time to review this report. I welcome any comments and feedback you have about the work of the IOD and appreciate your ongoing support and partnership.
Charles Drum, MPA, JD, Ph.D.
Director, Institute on Disability, University of New Hampshire
Professor of Health Management and Policy
The 2015 IOD Annual Report contains data from the FY 2015 Report on Scholarly Activity and Engagement. For additional information about the Institue on Disability,
please visit the IOD website.
Dr. Debra Brucker has been working at the Institute on Disability since 2011, conducting research for its Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTCs). Dr. Brucker uses national level survey data to measure the economic, health and social well-being of individuals with disabilities. She has over 20 years of applied policy research experience and has held social and health policy research positions at academic institutions, research organizations, and state agencies. Through her work with the RRTCs, Dr. Brucker developed an interest in the intersection of poverty and disability.
In 2014, Dr. Brucker participated in the University of New Hampshire’s Research & Engagement Academy which helps researchers develop the skills to apply for grants and manage them. Since then, she has applied for and was granted two cooperative agreements from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to examine food security among individuals with disabilities.
Serving as a Principal Investigator on her own research has been a rewarding experience for Dr. Brucker, and she has been successful in sharing her research with the greater community. In 2015, she authored or coauthored eight articles in peer-reviewed publications – a quarter of all publications the IOD had accepted. She also continued to present at conferences and in the classroom, served as a peer reviewer for journals, and served as a grant reviewer for two different federal agencies.
“It’s very helpful to work with people who have expertise in so many different areas of disability policy” explains Dr. Brucker. “I can talk through questions with multiple colleagues as I conduct my research, gaining unique insights and ideas.” Dr. Brucker hopes that in the coming years she can continue to develop her research portfolio to examine other issues related to poverty and disability while managing her existing grants and research.
24 UNH Courses
11 Guest Lectures
295 Number of Students
Mike Tappan was a second year graduate student in the University of New Hampshire’s Social Work program when he heard about the NH Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities program (NH LEND). He had long been drawn toward programs empowering people with disabilities, and with a growing interest in policy and advocacy work, the NH LEND program offered him the opportunity to explore both. Mike Tappan entered the program in Fall 2014.
Mike was placed with the NH Council on Developmental Disabilities (NHCDD) for his leadership field placement. His major project with the NHCDD was supporting the passage of Senate Bill 47, a ground-breaking law that made New Hampshire the first state in the nation to repeal statutes allowing employers to pay individuals with disabilities less than minimum wage.
Mike participated in NHCDD Policy Committee meetings to strategize responses to proposed legislation, build a coalition of NH disability stakeholders to promote the policy, research and draft testimony to share with state legislators, provide testimony, and track the status of the bill as it moved through the NH House and Senate.
“My placement at the NHCDD was a great experience that allowed me to take what I was learning in LEND and put it to practical use,” explains Mike Tappan. “Being an informed advocate, building relationships to create change, and always thinking about the individual and family first were all skills I was able to take from LEND seminar and use in my work at the DD Council.”
Mike graduated from the NH LEND program in May 2015, and is currently a full-time, stay-at-home father to his newborn daughter, Violet.
NH LEND Class of 2015
In 2010, the IOD hired Kimberly Phillips to assist in research and evaluation on projects related to mental illness and caregiving for older adults. Since then, she’s provided her research expertise on a number of disability-related topics including employment, health disparities, and workplace culture.
Recently, Kim has taken on a new challenge - how do you translate research on disabilities into practice? As the Project Director of the NH Disability & Public Health (DPH) Project, a CDC-funded collaboration between the IOD and NH Division of Public Health Services, her job is to make sure that existing and new public health initiatives are inclusive of people with disabilities.
Her work with DPH this year has seen a lot of success. The project has built important partnerships across the state, presented at state and national conferences including the American Public Health Association, and released its 2nd Annual NH Disability & Public Health Report. One of Kim’s major accomplishments has been to develop and provide Responsive Practice trainings to health care providers around the state.
“Working on the DPH project has been an interesting challenge for me,” explains Kim. “I appreciate appying the research knowledge to public health programs and people with disabilities in NH. There is a lot of creativity involved in coming up with new approaches.”
In addition to her work at the IOD, Kim Phillips is currently a doctoral candidate in psychology at the University of New Hampshire. Her dissertation, which she hopes to defend in 2016, will look at co-worker and supervisor relationships among employees with disabilities in the workplace.
Dr. Therese Willkomm and the ATinNH team provide a day-long workshop for more than 50 people on Digital Interventions for Document Disorganization.July
The IOD’s RENEW Project launches a new Summer Conference on School Culture, Climate, and Positive Behavior Supports (PBIS).August
The Center for START Services and NH LEND program partner to provide clinical rotations that introduce LEND trainees to the mental health needs of children and youth with disabilities.
The New England Genetics Collaborative (NEGC) hosts a webinar to provide information and policy recommendations for the Affordable Care Act’s coverage of children with genetic disorders.September
Dan Habib receives University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts Humanitarian Service Award for his work to inspire inclusivity for all people.October
The IOD partners with school districts, nonprofits, and state offices to host the 8th Annual Transition Summit where more than 200 families and professionals learned about actively engaging students and families in the transition planning process.November
The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Statistics and Demographics releases the 2014 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium in Washington D.C. which included presentations from the Health and Health Care Disparities Team.
After nearly 25 years as a Project Director and Research Professor at the IOD, Dr. David Hagner, retires.December
North Carolina START Central becomes START’s first Certified Program, demonstrating its ongoing fidelity to their model.January
NH LEND becomes one of five LEND programs to receive funding from the AUCD to increase the diversity of their trainees.February
RENEW holds a retreat for PBIS School Leadership teams. This is one of six trainings that they offer over the course of the year for schools and school districts.March
In April, 30 individuals graduate from the 2014-2015 NH Leadership Series. NH Governor Maggie Hassan, a 1991 graduate of the program, attends the final session to offer her congratulations.April
Susan Fox, the IOD’s Associate Director, successfully defends her dissertation, Life Interrupted: The Experience of Informal Caregivers of Aging Family Members, and received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of New Hampshire.
The NEGC launches the Patient Centered Medical Home webinar series to highlight a team approach to caring for children with genetic and complex conditions.May
Beth Dixon, the driving force of the NH Leadership Series since participating in its inaugural class, retires after 25 years of service.
The IOD and UNH Survey Center collaborate to conduct the 2015 Kessler Foundation National Employment and Disability Survey, the first nationally representative survey on the workplace experiences of Americans with disabilities.June
Jill entered the 2014-2015 NH Leadership Series as a strong woman and advocate. She had worked with two school systems to make sure her two daughters were included in a general classroom, but felt like she was a lone voice.
During her first Leadership session, Jill began to realize that she had found like-minded people. Listening to her peers and sharing her story, she began to realize that bigger dreams for her children as well as herself were attainable. She advocated for her daughters at school, and received an In-Home Support waiver for help after school. Today, she says, “My school situation is so awesome that I have to pinch myself to believe it. They finally get it.”
Jill’s story doesn’t end there though. While she started Leadership to become a better advocate for her daughters, she quickly found that the Series is about her finding and becoming her strongest self.
“Through Leadership, I discovered that I have a voice and it matters,” explained Jill.
Over the course of the series, Jill’s talent for public speaking led her to testify in front of budget committees for both houses of the NH General Court. She began connecting with community leaders, members of the legislature, and members of her local school system to build a better network for herself and her daughters. She had a bigger vision for herself then being a caregiver, mom and wife, but felt barriers prevented this. As a result of her new connections, she received funding from her area agency to attend professional development training to become a facilitator, and is working with families to help them develop personcentered plans. She has been building her technical skills and is on a path to one day earn a college degree.
NH Leadership Class of 2015
Charles E. Drum
Director & Professor
Director of Finance
Director of Communications
Director of Research
Director of Development &
Director & Professor
Dean, College of Health & Human Services, University of New Hampshire
Executive Director, Disability Rights Center
Chief Executive Officer, Disability Rights Center
Bureau Chief, New Hampshire Dept of Health & Human Services, Bureau of Developmental Services
State Director of Special Education, Bureau of Special Education
Interim Director, New Hampshire Council on Developmental Disabilities
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