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HDI to pilot Professional Certification in Universal Design

A University of Kentucky (UK) Human Development Institute (HDI) Fund for Excellence award has been given to Christina Espinosa Bard and Patti Singleton to offer a professional certification to equip people to use the principles of Universal Design (UD) in the workplace. This will expand HDI’s current undergraduate certificate program available to UK students from any field of study.

HDI is a national leader in embedding UD practices in learning by examining goals, materials, methods, and assessment for usability factors. These practices will be used to develop and pilot a six-hour certificate program that will include case studies and activities to support practical application of UD principles in the workplace.

To increase capacity and raise awareness about UD principles, UK employees will be provided an opportunity to complete the certificate at no cost to them. This project supports HDI’s mission of promoting the inclusion and contributions of people with disabilities through information sharing, leadership, and advocacy. 

Contact or for more information.

Virtual Retreat

HDI receives Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Grant

A team of HDI staff including Dr. Chithra Adams, Jason Jones, Lindsey Mullis and Abby Marsh have received $50,000 through Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation’s 2020 COVID-19 Quality of Life grants program, funded through a cooperative agreement with the Administration for Community Living. Their proposal, Recharging Resiliency Together-Virtual Retreat will help people with paralysis recharge their resilience and provide the necessary connections and supports that are needed to navigate in a COVID-19 environment.

This series of virtual retreats will be accompanied by three follow up group calls to build upon the skills learned during the retreat and to build a tightknit group of peers (pods) who are supportive of one another. Each session in the retreat will be universally designed, accessible and have expert presentation followed by a group activity. The purpose of the group activity is to participate in real time sense-making about how strategies presented can be used presently or in the future.

Contact for more information.

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Global Accessibility Awareness Day 2020

Thursday, May 21, 2020 is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD). According to the GAAD web site, the goal of this day is to talk, think, and learn about digital access/inclusion and people with different disabilities. Digital accessibility is the ability of a website, mobile application, or electronic document to be easily navigated and understood by a wide range of users, including people who have visual, auditory, motor, or cognitive disabilities.

The University of Kentucky Human Development Institute (HDI) promotes accessibility using the principles of Universal design (UD) and assistive technology. Universal design is about making places and resources useable by a world that is very diverse.

Universal design is a priority at HDI. We strive to increase the capacity of our partners and those we serve to ensure that physical and learning environments are accessible to all regardless of education, language, or disability. Visit our website for more details.

The HDI Universal Design Unit offers evaluation, consultation, training, and technical assistance services to review print and online products, communication environments, and devices. Our current clients include higher education, social service agencies, health care, city planning, and private employers.

Contact HDI at to learn more.

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HDI Hosts Virtual Open House for the Undergraduate Certificate in Universal Design

The University of Kentucky Human Development Institute invites current and prospective students, staff, and faculty to a Virtual Open House to learn about the Undergraduate Certificate in Universal Design.  Universal Design creates products and environments that are as usable as possible by as many people as possible. Principles of Universal Design are utilized to make products, systems, buildings, classrooms, and other environments that are accessible to everyone. 

Register at to participate via Zoom on Thursday, May 21 at 3:00pm ET. A stipend up to $3000 is offered to students who are accepted into the certificate program on a competitive basis. Click here to learn more about the certificate program or you can contact Dr. Phillip Rumrill, Director of Research and Training, at 

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UK Human Development Institute News Update

Staff from the UK Human Development Institute (HDI) began operating remotely more than a month ago. Using available tools and technology, HDI continues to promote the inclusion, independence, and contributions of people with disabilities and their families throughout the lifespan through education, research and evaluation, information sharing, leadership, and advocacy across Kentucky and the nation.  Some of these activities include:

  • Participating in state and national task forces addressing access and rationing of health care
  • Collaborating with state partners including the Lee Specialty Clinic and Dr. Matthew Holder to develop a series of videos for people with intellectual developmental disabilities to increase awareness of personal protective equipment and ways to stay healthy
  • Working with the Developmental Disabilities Network to ensure newly developed resources use plain language and are accessible
  • Developing a COVID-19 webpage that includes some critical content around the response and resources of interest to stakeholders
  • Creating a webinar led by the HDI Executive Director for the University of Kentucky’s Markey Cancer Affiliate Network on health equity and people with disabilities
  • Conducting research around experiences of people with Spinal Cord Injury and COVID-19 through targeted focus groups.
  • Developing project specific and Institute-wide one-page promotional documents on the effective use of technology while working remotely
  • Contributing content for University students to remain socially connected during the shift to distance learning by the University of Kentucky

HDI is pleased to share that despite the challenges people face today, our work continues.  In fact, some research and training efforts are accelerating. The HDI technology team is providing ongoing support to ensure all staff have training in technology to support their ability to work effectively.  Visit the HDI website regularly for updated news and the calendar of events.  Follow HDI on social media to learn more.

Facebook:  @ukhdi

Instagram:  @uk_hdi

Twitter:  @hdi_uky