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Community Engagement for Disability and Aging Research (CEDAR) Midwest

Fall 2022

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

Project Updates

Community-Based Research Network

The Missouri Aging and Disability Research Network (MADRN) held its Fall 2022 meeting on Nov. 15. Susy Stark and Szu-Wei Chen of Washington University presented results of the focus group that was held in May, in which MADRN members discussed fall-prevention programming delivered through community agencies. Twenty individuals representing 10 MADRN member organizations participated in the focus group. Analysis of the transcripts revealed four themes:


  • Falls are common and impactful.
  • Fall prevention is important.
  • Community agencies are the ideal route to deliver fall prevention programming in the community.
  • However, there are barriers that must be considered.


Principles for intervention development included flexibility, consideration of technology, integration within the broader service delivery system, and use of methods that serve both urban and rural populations and are inclusive to all despite access to funding, internet and other resources.


MADRN members agreed that the summary and themes that were presented accurately reflected the focus group conversation. Next steps are to determine what components to include in the intervention and how to adapt them for community-dwelling adults aging with disabilities.

A kitchen with dark wood cabinets and a lighter wood floor. The kitchen features a lower-height oven, a two-compartment dishwasher, a sink and stove with space underneath for knee clearance, and reachable storage.

Universally designed kitchen at empower: abilities with cabinets opened, highlighting accessible storage.

MADRN Member Spotlight: empower: abilities


CEO Shannon Porter introduced MADRN members to the network's newest organization, empower: abilities, a Center for Independent Living in Springfield, Mo. In addition to providing resources such as information and referral, peer support, transition services, independent living skills and assistive technology, empower: abilities houses a fully accessible, universally designed apartment that is available as a resource for designers, builders, developers and anyone interested in making homes more accessible.

MADRN also held a webinar on Oct. 25. Emily Somerville, instructor in occupational therapy and neurology at Washington University in St. Louis, discussed home modification best practices for community-based organizations. This and all other MADRN webinars are available on our website.

Thumbnail image is a slide about in-home assessment from the presentation

Longitudinal Cohort Study

We are continuing to examine the data from our three-year longitudinal cohort study. Our latest examination of study data looked at relationships between falls and social participation in Year 1 of the study. We found that people aging with long-term physical disabilities are at an increased risk of falls. Participants who had fallen or were worried about falling also had significantly lower social participation.


A paper describing this analysis has been submitted for publication in Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and is undergoing peer review.

Testing the Efficacy of the REBIL Intervention

The randomized waitlist-control study of REBIL, an in-home intervention we developed to promote participation and reduce falls for people aging with long-term disabilities, is currently in process. The remaining participants in the waitlist-control group are finishing the intervention.


The study protocol has been published in The British Journal of Occupational Therapy (BJOT). The full paper can be found in BJOT, and a plain language summary of the paper and an infographic describing the intervention (below) are also available.

What We've Been Up To...

ACRM Conference

Two women, one standing and one seated in a wheelchair, smile in front of a screen displaying an academic poster.

Rachel Heeb Desai (left) and Kerri Morgan (right) attended the 2022 ACRM Annual Conference, which was held Nov. 8-11 in Chicago.


Rachel was awarded the Aging Research and Geriatric Rehabilitation Networking Group’s Best Early Career Poster in Geriatric Rehabilitation Award for her poster describing a qualitative study of physical activity in people aging with long-term physical disabilities. Rachel's poster was also one of six selected for presentation in the Poster Grand Rounds.

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For technical assistance with any part of this project, including information, resources and data, please call 

314-289-4224 or email us at cedarmidwest@paraquad.org.

Find out more at cedarmidwest.org.

The contents of this newsletter were developed under a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant number 90DPCCP00001-01-00). NIDILRR is a Center within the Administration for Community Living (ACL), Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The contents of this newsletter do not necessarily represent the policy of NIDILRR, ACL or HHS, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.

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