Past Projects

Project A: Building the capacity of community-based organizations for participatory research and program evaluation.

Principal Investigator: Yolanda Suarez, Ph.D.

This project aims to increase the capacity of community-based organizations, vocational rehabilitation centers and independent living centers to evaluate their programs and services and provide culturally sensitive services through training and ongoing technical assistance and support. Community-based organizations from five regions of the country are involved in the project and work with our regional coordinators.

Region Base Location of Current Agencies
South: Paul Leung, Ph.D., Dallas TX
East : Maria Restrepo-Toro, M.S., CRSP, Boston MA
Pacific Nortwest: Katherine McDonald, Ph.D., Portland OR
Midwest : Christopher Keys, Ph.D., Chicago IL

Project B: Racial identity and cultural mistrust as psychocultural correlates of rehabilitation success for African Americans.

Principal Investigator: Reginald J. Alston, Ph.D.

Empirical evidence of how cultural and/or sociopolitical forces may impact the worldview of an ethnic minority with a disability is integral to improving our understanding of the complex interplay among client characteristics, agency variables, societal factors, and rehabilitation success. In regard to African American clients, racial identity and cultural mistrust are two psychocultural factors that may have a profound influence on their successful rehabilitation and may help to explain the low representation and poor outcome of African Americans in the rehabilitation system.

The research objectives of this project are to:

  1. Delineate the field implications of racial identity development for rehabilitation counseling practice with African Americans,
  2. Identify counseling challenges associated with providing rehabilitation counseling services to African American clients who exhibit manifestations of cultural mistrust, and
  3. Identify ways in which rehabilitation counselors’ perceptions of the client may factor into their professional decision-making when serving African Americans with non-internalized racial identity or cultural mistrust concerns.

Project C: Is Disability Identity a White Preoccupation? Investigating the Intersection of Disability and Race in Self Views of Latinos and African Americans with Disabilities.

Principal Investigator: Carol J. Gill, Ph.D.

This project will be conducted with a sample of 40 African Americans and 40 Latinos with physical and sensory disabilities from the greater Chicago area. Each participant will complete quantitative identity measures: the disability identity scale and a racial/ethnic minority identity scale. We will also assess the participants’ understanding of the purposes and contexts of use for the multiple dimensions of their identities associated with ethnicity, disability, gender and class. The quantitative measures will be administered every six months and the qualitative interview will be conducted three times during the project.

Regarding African American and Latino individuals with physical and sensory disabilities:

  1. How central or important is disability in identity?
  2. How positive is the view of self as a disabled person?
  3. How stable is disability identity over time?
  4. What is the relationship between disability identity, majority culture American identity, and racial/ethnic identity?
  5. How relevant are marginalized statuses of disability, ethnicity, gender, and class for different purposes in different contexts?

Project D: Disability determination and provision of vocational rehabilitation services: How good are the tools that are used?

Principal Investigator: Brigida Hernandez, Ph.D.

The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) is a federal agency that is authorized to carry out key provisions of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. By providing funds to state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies, RSA establishes programs that assist individuals with disabilities in obtaining employment and independent living goals.

The purposes of this research project are to:

  1. Review existing literature concerning the assessment of ethnic minority individuals when making disability determination and providing vocational rehabilitation services;
  2. Investigate the most commonly used standardized tests, surveys, and procedures for making disability determination and providing VR services in the states of Illinois, California, Florida, and New York,
  3. Conduct a capacity-building workshop in the four aforementioned states to improve the process of disability determination and provision of VR services for ethnic minority clients,
  4. Develop and disseminate a practitioners’ guide to culturally-competent diagnosing and service delivery, and
  5. Disseminate project findings via conferences (including a national conference sponsored by the center), research publications in rehabilitation/disability/psychology journals, and the center’s website.

Project E: Standards for Culturally Competent Disability and Rehabilitation Research.

Principal Investigator: Glenn Fujiura, Ph.D.

The goal of this project to develop and publish three authoritative works on disability research in the area of minorities and disability. The intent is to make available to the research community a comprehensive synthesis and analysis of the current status and gaps in the methodologies used in extant research. The work should serve as a methodological guide for future efforts.

The synthesis and analysis will provide:

  1. A critical evaluation of existing research tactics, including review of sampling strategies, measurement validity, and design, and analysis; and
  2. Identification of critical gaps in the epistemological process and recommendations for filling those gaps (for example, the need for more outcomes-based evaluations, or recommended use of multi-level statistical methods to account for neighborhood poverty).

Cultural Competence Training Workshops

Celestine Willis, M.A. and Fabricio Balcazar, Ph.D.

The purposes of the training are to:

  1. Increase awareness of participants’ (and others’) cultural identity and Ethno-history, attitudes and values about cultural diversity,
  2. Increase participants’ knowledge of factors that determine cultural differences between African Americans,
  3. Latinos and Asian Americans with disabilities,
  4. Help participants identify ways to create a more welcoming environment to consumers from various cultures, and
  5. Help participants plan specific actions to improve services to consumers from different cultures