The purpose of this grant proposal is to seek funding to assist in the implementation of a conference that will facilitate the implementation of a research agenda to address rehabilitation specific health disparity issues in African American communities. Specifically, this conference will seek to engage rehabilitation faculty at the nineteen (19) historically Black colleges and universities (HBCU) with rehabilitation programs. This conference will have specific focus on faculty from HBCUs, but faculty from other minority and majority serving institutions will be invited to attend as well. This conference is a follow upto the highly successful HBCU National Conference on Health Disparities in Rehabilitation: Creating a Research Agenda to Realize Equity in Rehabilitative Health that was held March 1-3, 2012. The proposed AHRQ-Conference Grant (R13) HBCU National Conference on Health Disparities in Rehabilitation: Taking Action on Research Priorities will be held at Alabama State University in Montgomery, Alabama. The Conference structure has been designed to support the AHRQ's objective of supporting conferences that address research design and methodology. Specifically, this conference will facilitate 70-100 attendees work with experts to create research questions and to design methodological approaches that are most appropriate to answer those questions related to the research priorities identified at the previous conference. Much of the literature pertaining to health disparities and rehabilitation lacks a focu on true rehabilitation services and service providers. Often the research focus is on rehabilitation as a phase or period of medical intervention, which is usually initiated, guided by, and ended by a physician's actions. This gap in knowledge is important to understanding why rehabilitation outcomes, especially for African Americans, often present with large disparities. This conference will build on findings from the initial conference held on health disparities in rehabilitation in 2012. Participants identified what they believed were the six (6) priorities for research related to health disparities in rehabilitation. They also identified what education and resources would be beneficial as they worked to address these research topics. The conference plan includes those highlighted areas: social determinants of health, methods in health disparities research (including levels and types of analysis), cultural competence, and working sessions. The proposed dates for this 2-day conference are tentatively April 19-20, 2013. Historically Black colleges and universities that house professional education programs in occupational therapy, physical therapy, prosthetics and orthotics, rehabilitation counseling, and speech-language pathology will receive a letter requesting that one faculty member from each applicable program are allowed to attend the conference. The conference, if funded, will provide 50 participants with travel awards averaging $780 in airfare/travel and hotel stay. No registration fee is required. Participants from the previous conference will be given first priority on financia assistance. Institutions will be asked to write a letter of support for the faculty member(s) being recommended, and will be asked to financially cover the remaining reasonable costs associated with attending the conference.
Annually, millions of individuals receive rehabilitation services provided by occupational therapists, physical therapists, prosthetists-orthotists, rehabilitation counselors, and speech- language pathologists who address health related needs. Disparities in healthcare are well documented. A research agenda was created in 2012 to address health disparities in rehabilitation. Development and implementation of research studies that investigate the relationship between services offered by rehabilitation professionals and health disparities, especially for African Americans, are needed.