Interagency Committee on Disability Research

ICDR Highlights

October 2015


The Interagency Committee on Disability Research (ICDR) promotes coordination and cooperation among departments and agencies conducting disability, independent living, and rehabilitation research programs including programs relating to assistive technology research, and research that incorporates the principles of universal design. It is chaired by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research and includes 17 statutory member agencies.

ICDR Releases Two Proceedings Reports

The ICDR and two of its standing committees led interagency events last summer – on disability employment and accessible transportation. These are two critical issues for the disability community that the ICDR is advancing throughout the federal government. The ICDR shares the proceedings reports to ensure the valuable findings and new information generated by these events are available to others working to increase positive outcomes in disability, independent living and rehabilitation.

Employment Symposium

The Employment Symposium: Research Informing Practice and Policy, held June 24, 2015, addressed the employment challenge. Over 20 experts shared the state of the science in disability employment research and examined how research-based knowledge can affect practice and policy, and how practice and policy can influence research. Symposium participants included approximately 150 researchers, practitioners, policymakers, advocates, students, consultants, and others interested in disability and employment issues.

Through presentation and discussion, participants identified important research needs and offered recommendations to advance collaboration among researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to more effectively address these questions. A few broad themes of the symposium were:

  • High quality and relevant research plays an important role in helping to understand and shape policy and practice in disability employment. For example, research can be used to confirm need, estimate program costs, validate and measure program fidelity and outcomes, and assess policy alternatives.
  • All disability employment stakeholders — researchers, policymakers, practitioners, people with disabilities, and employers — must engage in joint dialogue to promote understanding and participate together in the research process to improve the applicability of findings to real world issues.
  • There is an urgent need to share and pool existing administrative data at the federal and program levels to facilitate systems change improvements. Common measures for and access to workplace data and metrics are necessary to strengthen research quality and relevance.

The complete proceedings report with specific recommendations is now available at:

Accessible Transportation and Technology Roundtable Identifies Future Collaboration Opportunities

The Roundtable on Accessible Transportation Technologies Research, held June 26, 2015 in collaboration with the Department of Transportation (DOT), addressed the need for interagency collaboration to support accessible transportation research. The Accessible Transportation Technologies Research Initiative (ATTRI) at DOT shared its state-of-the-practice/innovation scan and stakeholder engagement/user needs assessment to identify promising technologies for development and user needs of travelers with disabilities. The subsequent discussion among representatives of 12 federal agencies, generated ideas for future collaborations to create an inventory of related research across agencies, to help pilot and demonstrate new accessible technologies, and to leverage and share data.

The complete proceedings is now available at:

Accessibility in Health IT Conference Connects Diverse Stakeholders

On September 17-18, 2015, the ICDR sponsored Accessibility and Usability in Health Information Technology (HIT): A Research & Action Conference to Empower People with Disabilities, Older Adults, and Caregivers in Washington, DC. Almost 100 HIT end-users, policy experts, accessibility and usability professionals, HIT researchers and developers, and industry representatives participated in an interactive conference designed to promote a user-driven, human-centric approach to accessibility in HIT systems.

Some key takeaways from the conference were:

  • Aging and disability stakeholder groups recognized their shared goals to integrate both accessibility and usability standards and tools into HIT systems and resources.
  • HIT professionals and developers acknowledged that accessibility can be an opportunity for innovation.
  • Rigorous and comprehensive capacity-building efforts to educate and train industry representatives, developers, clinicians, and community-based providers on accessibility and usability of HIT are needed.
  • Government-supported accessibility research and development is often behind the fast-moving IT industry. Partnerships between government and industry may help align these activities.
  • Person-centered accessible HIT is the key to making the Affordable Care Act and the “triple aim” of improved care, better outcomes and reduced cost, succeed.

For more information about the conference including the speaker bios and downloadable PowerPoint presentations, please visit:

AHIT Huddle Group Activity
Photo: Participants working on a "huddle group" brainstorm activity. From left: Bambang Parmanto, PhD (PITT), Jason Bishop, PhD (WVU), AHIT Co-Chair Margaret Campbell, PhD (NIDILRR), Mohanraj Thirumalai (UAB Lakeshore), and James Rimmer, PhD (UAB).
Photo: Day 2 Keynote Speaker, Frances West (IBM)
Photo: Day 2 keynote speaker, Frances West (IBM).

Health Disparities Webinar Series: Health and Environment

On October 20, 2015, the Interagency Committee on Health and Health Disparities (ICHHD) hosted the third in their series of webinars on Disability and Health Disparities, with a webinar on Health and Environment. Keshia Pollack of Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy, and Ruth Lindberg of the Health Impact Project discussed select findings from a comprehensive health impact assessment (HIA) examining the potential health implications of a proposed update by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development of its designated housing rule permitting housing authorities to allocate certain public housing properties for senior families, disabled families, or a mixed population of both. The presenters highlighted findings regarding housing design, accessibility, and safety, and presented recommended actions to promote health and equity among seniors and younger people with disabilities when updating the rule. The recording to this webinar and other webinars in the series, is available here:

Coming Soon: ICDR Strategic Plan Stakeholder Webinars!

Over the past few months, the ICDR has been working towards building a comprehensive, government wide strategic plan for disability, independent living, and rehabilitation research. As part of the planning process, the ICDR is holding two webinars to gather input from stakeholders in the areas of:

  • Assistive Technology and Universal Design
  • Community Integration and Participation
  • Employment and Education
  • Health and Wellness

ICDR members will present information about the ICDR strategic planning process and proposed research problems in the four topic areas. Stakeholders will be invited to assess the relative importance of each proposed problem area. The feedback will help define future goals and objectives for the ICDR strategic plan.

Register Today!
We have a limited number of participants per session. Both sessions are the same - please only attend one (1) session.

Questions or comments about the Stakeholder Webinars or ICDR strategic plan can be directed to

Please reference the Strategic Planning Efforts document for a more in-depth review of the planning process.

Please submit suggestions for content and other comments on the e-mail bulletin. Give us your feedback.

The Interagency Committee on Disability Research (ICDR), authorized by the 2014 Workforce Investment Opportunities Act (WIOA), Section 203, promotes a cohesive, strategic Federal program of disability, rehabilitation, and independent living research; brokers partnerships; and facilitates coordination and collaborations among federal department and agencies conducting such research.

This ICDR Newsletter was developed under a U.S. Department of Education contract award to New Editions Consulting, Inc. The findings and opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of Interagency Committee on Disability Research (ICDR) and its members, or the US Department of Education; and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

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