Better Methods for Moving Disability Research Into Practice

Women with mobility impairments face unique challenges in managing their weight. To address this issue, Dr. Peg Nosek and her team are developing GoWoman, an online weight-loss tool that serves the particular needs of women with mobility impairments. Nosek wants to establish a community of practice to involve researchers, weight-loss practitioners, women with disabilities, and others in shaping, piloting, and promoting the tool. She found the expert guidance she needs through SEDL’s new Center on Knowledge Translation for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (KTDRR).

Man assisting a disabled womanEnsuring that research leads to practices, products, and policies that benefit people with disabilities requires intentional effort. Our new KTDRR Center provides services and resources to make relevant and high-quality disability and rehabilitation research easier to find, understand, and use. The center serves multiple clients, including researchers and developers as well as people with disabilities and their families, advocates, service providers, educators, employers, and policymakers.

To make existing research more accessible, KTDRR staff provide tools and training for synthesizing and sharing research findings across multiple studies. “We want to ensure that disability professionals look at all of the evidence, not just the results of one study, before making research or health care decisions,” says John Westbrook, director of the center. Westbrook hopes that better use of existing evidence will result in more effective practices and better options for people with disabilities.

The center also identifies and promotes knowledge translation (KT) processes that target the awareness, understanding, and use of evidence-based knowledge and products. For instance, the center provides webcasts on KT strategies, such as strategies for developing effective practice guidelines for service providers and translating evidence into policies. The center also works with a Consumer Review Panel to ensure that information is accessible and addresses consumers’ needs. 

SEDL brings extensive experience in the area of disability research to its work at the center. In addition, staff collaborate with selected national and international partners, including world leaders in improving the visibility and use of research evidence: the Campbell Collaboration, the Cochrane Collaboration, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Evidence for Policy and Practice Information and Co-ordinating Centre.

For more information, please contact John Westbrook, director of the KTDRR Center, at john.westbrook@sedl.org or at 800-476-6861, ext. 6565.