Rural Disability Research and Practice Summit

About the summit

RTC:Rural hosted a virtual Summit to explore timely issues affecting rural people with disabilities. RTC:Rural is a dedicated group of researchers that has worked for more than 30 years to improve the lives of rural people with disabilities through research, evaluation, technical assistance, and training. The Summit shared some of the most pressing research alongside rural partners.

RTC:Rural now offers these presentations and panels on Personal Assistance Services and Rural Digital Access.

Day 1: Personal Assistance Services

What is self-directed care without someone to direct? In the face of worker shortages and increasing demands for personal assistance services, how do rural people with disabilities attract and retain rural personal care attendants (PCAs)? How does the managed care industry respond to the needs of both rural people with disabilities and the PCA workforce?

RTC:Rural researchers and a panel of partners presented and discussed the challenges and opportunities in these vital services. The panel featured subject matter experts from all sides of personal assistance services including people with disabilities, PCAs, and centers for independent living. Panel members discussed utilizing Medicaid and insurance dollars, managed care, home accessibility, and what all of these pieces mean for the future of rural personal assistance services.

Day 2: Rural Digital Access

What is the role of the technology in rural areas and what solutions can it provide? Does increased digital access in rural areas decrease social isolation and loneliness for people with disabilities? How does digital access improve the lives of rural people with disabilities?

RTC:Rural researchers and panel of rural partners shared digital access for rural people with disabilities. Day 2 featured findings from RTC:Rural research and a diverse panel of rural disability voices exploring broadband access, infrastructure, and how to use the internet to support hard-to-reach groups. Panel members shared their thoughts on various topics including Zoom, building community online, investing in rural infrastructure, and access to rural services.

Visit the website for complete information on the training.

The Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities (RTC:Rural) conducts research on disability as part of the Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities at the University of Montana.RTC:Rural is funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) grant number 90RTCP0002 to improve the ability of people with disabilities to engage in rural community living.