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Community Engagement for Disability and Aging Research (CEDAR)
Spring 2021
CEDAR Midwest is a Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research. This research project is exploring the participation needs of people aging with a physical disability and how community organizations can best meet those needs.

Project Updates

Project 1: Community-Based Research Network

Our community-based research network, the Missouri Aging and Disability Research Network (MADRN), held its quarterly meeting on May 18. We welcomed the newest member of MADRN, Heartland Independent Living Center (HILC) and HILC CEO Pat Chambers. HILC is located in Owensville, Mo., and provides independent living services in Franklin, Gasconade and Maries Counties.

Anneliese Stoever from the St. Louis Area Agency on Aging (SLAAA) presented on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected SLAAA. Representatives from other MADRN member organizations also shared their experiences with the pandemic. Challenges included hesitancy among both clients and staff regarding programs and interventions delivered in clients' homes, staff challenges due to increased requests for information and referral services, and difficulty determining when and how to ease COVID-related restrictions as infection rates have declined. Members also noted some positive outcomes such as increased communication with local health departments, particularly for provision of vaccines to homebound individuals; stronger relationships with other community organizations; and increased accessibility for their clients due to the necessity of remote communication.

For our next meetings, on August 10 and November 16, we look forward to brainstorming ways to translate the information gathered from our longitudinal cohort study (Project 2) into practice for the organizations that comprise MADRN.

Project 2: Longitudinal Cohort Study

Participants in our longitudinal cohort study are continuing to fill out their Year 3 surveys; so far, 261 participants have completed their third survey.

We are running data analyses from the first two years of the study. The updated infographic below captures some of the baseline demographics and characteristics of our sample.

Project 3: Developing and Pilot Testing an Intervention to Reduce Environmental Barriers and Promote Participation for People Aging with Disability

The goal of Project 3 was to develop an intervention to teach self-management skills and remove barriers to participation for people aging with long-term physical disabilities. Project 3 is complete; the resulting intervention, Removing Environmental Barriers to Independent Living (REBIL), is now being tested in a sample of people aging with disabilities (Project 4). See our website for more information on the development of REBIL.

Project 4: Testing the Efficacy of REBIL

Project 4 consists of conducting a randomized controlled trial to test REBIL, the intervention developed in Project 3. So far, we have consented 40 participants.

We are still actively recruiting participants to test the intervention. Anyone who is interested, between the ages of 45 and 65, and has had a physical disability for at least five years is encouraged to call us at 314-287-4118 or email us at cedarmidwest@paraquad.org for more information.

Our Team

CEDAR Midwest includes well-established scientists in rehabilitation/participation science and aging research, and community organizations that serve both older adults and people with disabilities. Our team is experienced in community-engaged research approaches. The institutional partners, Washington University, Paraquad and the Simmons School of Social Work, are leaders in participation and aging with disability. Scientific and community advisory boards enhance the team and ensure the scientific rigor and community focus of our projects. To learn more about our team, please visit cedarmidwest.org.

Team Member Spotlight:

Sherdonna Denholm

Sherdonna began working in the Participation, Environment and Performance Lab at the Washington University Program in Occupational Therapy in 2019. She started part-time making phone calls and completing surveys with study participants. She now works full-time assisting in the office, supporting the research studies and helping coordinate our community-based research network.

Sherdonna’s background is actually not in Occupational Therapy or research but in music. She earned a full scholarship to study classical music at Clayton State University in Atlanta, Ga., where she studied privately with Ted Gurch of the Atlanta Symphony. She graduated in 1998 with a music performance degree as a clarinetist. Sherdonna learned to play guitar and is currently a singer-songwriter in St. Louis. She has independently produced and recorded three full-length albums and is finishing writing her fourth. She hopes to begin recording the new album this summer.

Along with working in the lab and finding ways to be creative, Sherdonna has three adult and teenage sons, a daughter-in-law, two dogs and a cat. She and her husband, Todd, are celebrating their 20th anniversary this month and are expecting their first grandchild this fall.

What We've Been Up To...

2021 ADA State of the Science Conference

On April 15, Drs. Michelle Putnam and Kerri Morgan presented at the ADA National Network State of the Science Conference. In honor of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the ADA National Network hosted a conference highlighting "research related to successes and challenges in fulfilling the promise of the ADA."
Introductory slide of conference presentation describing the purpose of our study
Introductory slide of ADA State of Science Conference presentation on our longitudinal cohort study
The conference presentations were grouped into three themes: Employment and Economic Self-Sufficiency, Community Development and Planning, and Access and Inclusion. Drs. Putnam and Morgan presented on participation, accessibility and aging with physical disability, under the Access and Inclusion theme. In their presentation, Drs. Putnam and Morgan discussed some of the findings of our longitudinal cohort study. Presentation slides can be found on the ADA National Network State of the Science webpage.

Vaccine Hesitancy Webinar

On May 4, Dr. Nathaniel Nolan of the Washington University Infectious Disease Clinic presented a webinar to our community-based research network on vaccine hesitancy, particularly among vulnerable older adults, and how community organizations can address questions and concerns their clients may have surrounding the COVID-19 vaccines. The full webinar is available on our website and on YouTube.
For technical assistance with any part of this project including information, resources, and data, please call 314-289-4270 or email us at cedarmidwest@paraquad.org.
Find out more at cedarmidwest.org.
Copyright © 2019 Community Engagement for Disability and Aging Research Midwest, All rights reserved.

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For technical assistance or more information, please call 314-289-4270 or email us at cedarmidwest@paraquad.org.

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