New Research Center Aims to Improve Aging with a Long-Term Physical Disability
Nationally, 1 in 5 adults lives with a disability.
But knowing what it’s like for those 53 million people to age — and how their unique needs may change over time — isn’t always clear to the professionals that provide care.
“When we work in a health care system, we interact with patients with disabilities, but we don’t always understand what it’s like to live with a physical disability,” says Michelle Meade, Ph.D., associate professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Michigan Medicine and a member of the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation.
“For example, managing other health conditions, such as diabetes or the aftereffects of a stroke, while dealing with a spinal cord injury or cerebral palsy adds another level of complexity.”
That complexity is what led Meade to seek funding from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) to establish a Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) program at U-M.
RRTC programs conduct research, offer training and disseminate information around rehabilitation topic areas determined by the NIDILRR. There are 23 active programs operating across the United States.
Supported by $4.3 million in NIDILRR funding over the next five years, the U-M RRTC will generate research around the interactions between personal and environmental factors associated with better health outcomes for people with physical disabilities.