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Team-Based Design of Assistive Technology Devices

During the 2021 fall semester , the UK Human Development Institute collaborated with Dr. Justin HuberUK College of Medicine, and Dr. Babak Bazgari, from the UK College of Engineering working with 16 students in the Team-Based Design of Assistive Technology Devices. Each of four groups started with multiple project proposals identified from their summer shadowing experience at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital. They presented their projects and analyzed each idea with the Real Win Worth It framework analysis. The selected project for each group then went to data collection and development.  Funds were made available through a National Institutes of Health grant and the HDI Student Scholarship Fund. Each group carried their selected project through prototyping and concept generation.  Group one worked on a device to reduce the probability of pressure ulcers by alternating pressure, temperature, and or reducing friction on the buttocks. Group two developed an assistive device to allow for self-catheterization of female wheelchair users.  Group three focused on creating a device, via electrical/mechanical or other stimulation, to remind post-stroke patients to maintain proper posture during activities. Similarly, group four developed a device to support posture correction in stroke patients with hemiparesis. All groups presented their prototypes to a group of professionals, users, and other stakeholders.

For more information about this project or HDI’s work as the University’s Center on Disability, contact Christina Bard at

Universal Design in Action at HDI!

On September 1, HDI’s Haley Potter presented on universal design in the performing arts at the LexArts Network monthly meeting. These meetings serve as a way to present and discuss new and innovative ideas in the arts industry to professionals in Central Kentucky. Haley was joined by Erin Lum from Lexington Philharmonic as a co-presenter. The presentation titled “Universal Design for the Arts: Making the Arts Better for Everyone” provided background on disability, gave an overview on the experience in the arts as a patron with a disability, and introduced these professionals to universal design in the performing arts. This is a great example of how we can share universal design information with community partners to make their offerings more usable and accessible to the broadest array of people. Contact to learn more about this project.

Contact to learn more about Universal Design at HDI.

HDI Collaborates on NIH Research Education Program Grant

The UK Human Development Institute in collaboration with the UK College of Engineering and the UK College of Medicine Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Medicine have received a National Institutes of Health R-25 Research Education Program grant: Team-Based Design of Assistive Technology Devices. This program invites students to apply for an opportunity to complete courses in engineering and universal design, participate in a clinical immersion experience at Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital, and gain practical skills and knowledge by working with people with disabilities who use assistive technology devices. Based on availability of funds, students will have additional opportunities to apply for funds from the HDI Student Fund to develop prototypes.

Contact for more information.

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The Rehabilitation Services Administration Funds Partnership to establish Technical Assistance Center on Quality Employment

In concert with the University of Wisconsin and other committed partners, the University of Kentucky (UK) Human Development Institute (HDI) is part of the new Technical Assistance Center (TAC) on Quality Employment. Christina Bard, Community Education Director and Dr. Phil Rumrill, Director of Research and Training, will lead HDI’s involvement in this five-year project to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities.

The TAC will work closely with partners, state vocational rehabilitation (VR) programs, employers, disability advocacy organizations, and other national-level employment and disability resources to provide customized training and credential programs to meet employer demands in the post-COVID-19 economy.  The TAC will emphasize career pathways for STEM fields, apprenticeships, supported and customized employment, self-employment and business engagement.

The UKHDI will also lead the TAC team in conducting a comprehensive national needs assessment of state VR agencies regarding high-priority quality employment areas that should be the focus of technical assistance, pre-service training, and continuing education for VR counselors, college and university personnel, community rehabilitation providers, and other stakeholders in total workplace inclusion. In keeping with the ideals of Participatory Action Research, all UKHDI training, technical assistance, and credentialing efforts will be guided by input and direction from members of the disability community. 

Contact if you have any questions.

HDI Fund for Excellence Awarded for Rural Clinic Assessment for Accessibility Project

Congratulations to HDI’s Christina Espinosa Bard who recently received the HDI Fund for Excellence award to engage in a “Rural Clinic Assessment for Accessibility Project”!

Nearly 30% of Kentuckians have a disability, which is the 6th highest prevalence in the nation (CDC, 2014, 2015). Adults with disabilities in the Commonwealth are more likely to experience negative health outcomes, including high blood pressure, obesity, inactivity and smoking. Health care for persons with disabilities are sparse and often poorly coordinated, the availability and quality of which can vary geographically, particularly in rural Appalachian Kentucky. Continue reading