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CONTACT: DAVE PEDERSEN
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(319) 335-8032; fax (319) 384-4638
e-mail: david-pedersen@uiowa.edu

Release: Jan. 11, 2002

Iowa communities are invited to 'Think Competence'

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- New opportunities will soon be available to create change in Iowa communities through a new project by the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Center for Disabilities and Development and the Iowa Governor's Developmental Disabilities Council.

"Think Competence" is a statewide project offering grants and assistance to local teams that want to increase community participation by people who have disabilities. Teams are now being recruited to develop and carry out plans to create positive changes in their communities.

"Improving the quality of life for people with disabilities improves everyone's lives," said Diane Glass, a communications specialist who is an outside consultant on the project.

As many as 35 community teams will be trained in social marketing techniques. The teams can then apply for grants of up to $5,000 to plan and carry out their projects. Successful projects will give people with disabilities more opportunities to participate in the life of their communities.

The community teams will include "people who know how to make things happen," according to Bob Bacon, director of "Think Competence." The teams will be encouraged to come up with specific, short-term projects that highlight the competence and contributions of Iowans with disabilities.

Projects could include installing sliding doors in churches, finding productive jobs for qualified workers with disabilities or creating recreational programs that serve children with and without disabilities.

"We're open to anything that makes a community more inclusive," Bacon said.

"Think Competence" is a two-year project coordinated by the UI Center for Disabilities and Development and funded by the Iowa Governor's Developmental Disabilities Council. The Center for Disabilities and Development provides a wide range of health care and other services for people with disabilities and their families. The center is one of the hospitals of UI Hospitals and Clinics.

To learn more about "Think Competence" and how to join a community team, contact Linda Murray at (319) 356-1523 or by e-mail linda-murray@uiowa.edu.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at www.uihealthcare.com.