The IDEAL RRTC will contribute to the understanding of successful aging with disability by investigating the interplay between individual factors and social and environmental barriers and facilitators, as they hinder or promote healthy aging and community participation. We will work across research stages to conduct research activities to promote the healthy aging of adults with long term physical disabilities. 

All research activities will be informed by an Advisory Panel that connects Center Staff with disability organizations to collaborate on the development, implementation, and evaluation of research activities and products to ensure that activities are likely to achieve the purposes for which they have been created.

Exploratory and Discovery Phase

Research projects at the exploratory and discovery phase will enhance understanding of the nature of the person-environment relationship and identify practices, policies, programs and components of the built environment that either support or impede the health of adults aging with long-term physical disabilities, particularly those from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.

Analysis of Longitudinal Claims Databases (R1) 

This three part project will examine claims data from Medicare, Medicaid and / or Optum databases to explore aging trajectories, use of preventative services, and healthcare outcomes for individuals with various types of physical disabilities.

Multi-method Community Inquiry (R2) 

This three part project will use various methods of engaging individuals and community organizations to identify environmental factors, programs and supports perceived as supporting healthy aging for people with a physical disability (PWPD). 

Examination of Built &  Social Environment (R3)

This project will tie together existing information from various contextual databases to identify which features of the social and built environment have the greatest impact on the health and participation of individuals aging with long-term physical disabilities.

Intervention Development Phase

Research projects at the Intervention Development stage will create innovative and evidence-based approaches to enhance access to healthcare and community supports through a model healthcare clinic and a prototype web-based decision tool to coordinate transportation services.

Model Clinic (R4)

This project will design, pilot and evaluate an accessible, integrated health program for people with physical disabilities (PWPD) at a primary care clinic, scalable for other integrated health centers, and assess how the systematic collection of social and functional status information and use of this information by care managers may reduce adverse health events & improve social and functional status of PWPD.

Transportation Access (R5)

This two part project will quantify changes in transportation needs and priorities, and patterns of ADA paratransit use among PWPD aging in a defined geographical area across time. The project will then develop a prototype data-driven, web-based decision tool for transportation service providers, city/county planners and disability organizations to inform and better coordinate transportation services to support successful aging in PWPD.