The Southwest ADA Center, a program of Independent Living Research Utilization at TIRR Memorial Hermann, has received funding from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) to continue its work as the Southwest’s leading resource on the Americans with Disabilities Act and related disability rights laws. Funded since 1991, the Center will receive more than $1 million annually for the next five years, supporting its programs through September 2021.
Part of the ADA National Network, the Southwest ADA Center is one of 10 regional centers across the country whose mission is to promote voluntary compliance with the ADA through four core services. “NIDILRR’s goal is to strengthen the nation’s disability assistance network through technical assistance, training, dissemination of educational materials and research on barriers encountered by people with disabilities,” says Vinh Nguyen, program director of the Southwest ADA Center. “During the current five-year cycle, our focus will be on state and government information technology services, employers, health care providers, the criminal justice system and minority individuals with disabilities.”
Planned research projects include “A Pilot Study of a Screening Tool to Identify Candidates for Vocational Rehabilitation Among Individuals with Cancer,” conducted in collaboration with the American Institutes for Research/Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (AIR/SEDL) and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; “Project Workwell,” investigating the characteristics and prevalence of current workplace wellness programs; “Access for Users of Service Animals,” exploring barriers to access encountered by people with service animals in public places and producing recommendations for improvement; and “A Survey of Centers for Independent Living on Their Knowledge and Capacity to Provide Training and Technical Assistance on the ADA.”
From its location in Houston, the Center serves Arkansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Texas. Training activities to be undertaken at the national level during this five-year cycle include 30 webinars on case law development and legal issues, in collaboration with the Great Lakes ADA Center. Regional training activities funded include promoting accessible information technology in government and education; addressing health care disparities among people with disabilities; emergency preparedness and management webinars for first responders in Texas and Louisiana; and criminal justice educational projects in Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas.
The Southwest ADA Center serves a range of audiences interested or impacted by the Americans with Disabilities Act, including employers, businesses, government agencies, schools and people with disabilities. For more information, contact the Southwest ADA Center.