IIDC's Interdisciplinary Education and Training Program
Having a firm grasp of evidence-based practices in disability services, supports, and policy are critical for future leaders. The Indiana Institute on Disability and Community’s (IIDC) Interdisciplinary Education Training Program (IETP) is a leadership development program for students working at the IIDC. The IEPT trainee experience includes engagement in research, field-based training, technical assistance, and/or curriculum and materials development in community settings.
Former interdisciplinary trainee Mackenzie Jones, now a health education specialist for the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services, Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Bureau, recounts her experiences as part of the IETP program. Jones was a graduate student pursuing her Masters of Public Health degree in 2018-2019. “With so many opportunities throughout IIDC, I was also able to complete my capstone for my Master’s program,” said Jones. “However, it was the focus on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) that was especially helpful for me in my current position in Montana. Before working at IIDC, my research focused on communication disorders, specifically, the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing (D/HH) communities, but IIDC helped me expand my knowledge of people with IDD.
“I did much research on supported decision-making, guardianship, and self-determination of people with IDD. I also had the pleasure of working with, and learning from, my friend/colleague, Adria Nassim, who identifies as having Autism and a processing disorder. As a result, I gained great respect for the IDD community and the need to elevate their voices! This has been extremely valuable in Montana too. Last fall, I hosted six listening sessions with people with IDD eliciting their ideas, suggestions, and questions on a video that taught the audience about how to take care of diabetes. Without my experience at IIDC, I would not have felt as confident or comfortable in this role. I will always be grateful for the time I spent at Institute and the amazing people who mentored and encouraged me along the way!”
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Living Well Initiative
In a collaborative between the Indiana Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services (DDRS) and the Center for Collaborative Systems Change (CCSC), Living Well is an initiative that engages and empowers self-advocates, families, and other key stakeholders to build capacity around community supports. Living Well aims to enhance current systems for monitoring the safety, health, and well-being of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities to promote independence, community integration, and access to quality Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS). Project deliverables include toolkits for providers, individuals, and their families to improve monitoring of safety, health, and well-being, reduce risk factors for abuse, neglect, and exploitation, and identify and implement an innovative approach to build the capacity of community supports through paid and non-paid community services and supports.
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Indiana Disability Health Project
Since 2012, the Center on Health Equity (CHE) has received funding support from the Indiana State Department of Health, Division of Chronic Disease, Primary Care and Rural Health (ISDH/CDPC) to address health disparities for people with disabilities in the Hoosier state. For 2019, the Indiana Disability and Health Project activities focused on the priority area of improving health outcomes through the reduction of chronic diseases and health disparities in alignment with Indiana’s State Health Assessment and Improvement Plan (2018-2021). Project work included facilitating the meeting of the Indiana Disability and Health Workgroup which is made up of representatives from disability organizations, state agencies, and other health-related organizations. The Workgroup provided insights from a disability perspective to state initiatives addressing chronic diseases and health risks such as tobacco use and lack of physical activity. Additionally, project staff planned and hosted three workshops on optimal health for professionals in health care, health education, and health promotion. The combined attendance for all three workshops was 60 participants.
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Jail Chemical Addiction Program
For several decades, drug use has shaped the criminal justice system, and drug offenders often move through the system in a prescribed pattern: arrest, prosecution, conviction, incarceration, and release. The Dearborn County Court Services in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, aims to improve community safety by reducing repetitive criminal behavior and encouraging rehabilitation through evidence-based practices. With funding through Indiana’s Office of the Attorney General, the Center for Collaborative Systems Change (CCSC) is the evaluator of Dearborn County’s Jail Chemical Addictions Program. The program also includes two problem solving courts focused on breaking the cycle of criminality as it relates to alcohol and drug abuse. In exchange for successful completion of one or more of these programs, the courts may dismiss participants’ original criminal charge or reduce it when appropriate, returning individuals to productive functioning in their family, workplace, and community.
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Sexual Health Literacy and Advocacy Skills Project
Lack of formal sexual health education can make individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) vulnerable. This can lead to unsafe sexual practices, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), and sexual abuse and exploitation. This is a serious problem for people with disabilities in general, but it can be more pronounced for individuals with IDD. The Center for Health Equity’s (CHE) Sexual Health and Literacy Skills Project aims to improve health and wellbeing of women with IDD in Indiana by enhancing their sexual health literacy and advocacy skills through evidence-based sexual health education. Project objectives include identifying the current landscape of sexual health for adult women through literature reviews, key informant interviews, and focus groups; and development of pilot sexual health education curriculum for the target audience. Project outcomes will lay the foundation for future efforts in Indiana regarding sexual health literacy and advocacy skills for women with IDD to improve their sexual health.
Learn more about Sexual Health Literacy Project