ADA Participation Action Research Consortium (ADA PARC)

Principal Investigators:

  • Lex Frieden, M.A., LL.D.(hon), University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
  • Joy Hammel, Ph.D. OT/R, University of Illinois at Chicago


Despite research documenting progress toward increasing the full participation of people with disabilities in the United States, significant disparities remain. Compared to the general population, people with disabilities continue to experience disparities in community living, community participation, and work/economic participation, which significantly impact the health, wellbeing, and civil rights of millions of Americans.

ILRU at TIRR Memorial Hermann, the University of Illinois at Chicago, Syracuse University, the Public Health Institute, and SPR Consulting will be joined by 10 ADA Centers and the ADA Knowledge Translation (KT) Center to conduct a participatory action research (PAR) project entitled The Americans with Disabilities Act Participation Action Research Consortium: Advancing Participation Equity for People with Disabilities. The first iteration of ADA PARC (2012-2017) explored how to measure and document participation disparities experienced by people with disabilities with 7 ADA Centers and a select representative group of 50 cities from within these regions. In this proposal, ADA PARC will build and expand upon this collaborative research via many activities, including 1) expansion of the ADA Center network (all 10 centers participating), 2) creation of an immediate access platform where stakeholders can query participation disparities across thousands of cities, 3) addition of newly available indicators of civic engagement and financial equity, 4) addition of robust participation disparity/opportunity scorecards and reports across states and cities, and 5) participatory action community town halls to share findings and more effectively target disparities action planning.

ADA PARC will design, implement and evaluate a web-based platform that will allow its users to immediately query level of disparities in: (1) access to least restrictive community living with supports (CL), (2) levels of community participation and civic engagement and access to resources to participate in communities (CP), and (3) economic, work and financial equity and resource access.  The system will generate GIS visual maps, accessible tables, and scorecards to show disparities across levels (national, state, city, community), including comparisons of people with and without disabilities, retroactive trends, and future need projections. The system will also link users to ADA and ADA KT Center knowledge translation resources that highlight promising practices, case studies, and information resources to strategize participation disparities.

ADA PARC will also model rigorous disparities analyses with existing and newly identified datasets, examining disparities at community levels in resources and funding related to accessible and affordable housing, transportation, and financial and economic equity.

Participatory action research will be used throughout ADA PARC, adding new annual Participation Disparities town halls (in-person and online) throughout the country to more effectively translate findings to communities and diverse stakeholders. We will use participatory civic engagement strategies, such as participatory voting, to prioritize and collectively action plan community disparities issues and widely share promising practices.  ADA PARC activities will enable ADA Centers, federal agencies, policymakers, community organizations, and constituents with disabilities to target gaps in ADA implementation, document promising practices, and more effectively advance participation equity among people with disabilities.

ADA PARC Website

The ADA Participation Action Consortium is a program of ILRU (Independent Living Research Utilization), at TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston, Texas. ADA PARC is funded by National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) (90DP0026 and 90DPAD0001). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this website do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL, HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.