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Release: Oct. 7, 2002

UI Disability Law Center Receives $1.5 Million Grant to Help the Disabled Access Technology

The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) of the U.S. Department of Education has awarded a $1.5 million grant to the Law, Health Policy & Disability Center at the University of Iowa College of Law to study improved access to technology for disabled persons.

The project, "Technology for Independence: A Community-Based Resource Center," is designed to help community disability organizations across the United States develop research projects that increase access to and use of technology by persons with disabilities.

"Many barriers prevent access to technology for millions of persons with disabilities," said Peter Blanck, UI Kierscht Professor of Law, director of the disability law center and principal investigator of the project. "Working with community disability organizations as partners in research will help narrow the gap in access to technology."

Grant partner and co-investigator Lex Frieden, director of Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU) at the Baylor College of Medicine and chairman of the National Council on Disability, said that over the next five years the project will help community organizations conduct research through Web conferences, annual symposia, and the selection of a blue-ribbon panel of consulting researchers with disabilities.

Heather Ritchie, a researcher at the UI disability law center and co-investigator, notes that the project will assist researchers from around the country and combines the expertise of the Texas-based ILRU with the Iowa center in technology access, employment policy, and civil rights. The Technology for Independence grant is completely funded by a U.S. Department of Education grant.

The Law, Health Policy & Disability Center is a leader in law, technology, education and research, focused on improving the quality of life for persons living with disabilities. Based at the University of Iowa College of Law, with satellite offices in Washington, D.C. and elsewhere, the Center concentrates on public policy and its impact on persons with disabilities. For more information on this and other center projects, see http://www.its.uiowa.edu/law.