John D. Westbrook
John Westbrook is Program Manager of SEDL's Disability Research to Practice (DRP) program. His current work focuses on strategies—including knowledge translation and the use of systematic reviews—for increasing the quality, accessibility, and usefulness of disability research and information. As head of the Disability Research to Practice program, Dr. Westbrook oversees the program’s grant and contract activities; designs, plans, and implements new initiatives; manages all program activities; and facilitates communications between DRP and governmental entities, other researchers and service providers, and consumers. In addition, he serves on the SEDL Management Council and as the primary SEDL representative in the areas of disability research and knowledge use.
You may contact John D. Westbrook at 512-391-6565
Dr. Westbrook has extensive experience in the areas of disability research, development, dissemination, technical assistance, and training at the state, regional, and national levels. His work focuses on strengthening the quality, relevance, and usefulness of disability and rehabilitation research to expand opportunities, choices, and services for persons with disabilities and their families.
- Disability Research: Since 2012, Dr. Westbrook has served as the grant manager of SEDL’s Center on Knowledge Translation for Disability and Rehabilitation Research (KTDRR). This national project works closely with disability researchers to increase their capacity to conduct high-quality research studies in the disability and rehabilitation areas.
Since 2009, Dr. Westbrook has served as principal investigator for SEDL’s Center on Knowledge Translation for Employment Research. The project is investigating factors that drive or restrain the adoption of evidence-based information by employers, policymakers, vocational rehabilitation professionals, and individuals with disabilities.
- Knowledge Use: Since 2008, Dr. Westbrook has served as principal investigator for the Vocational Rehabilitation Service Models for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disordersproject. This national project is working to identify evidence that can be used to improve the transition of individuals with autism into more independent living and working situations in their communities of choice.
Since 2008, Dr. Westbrook has also served as coordinator of the international Campbell Collaboration’s Disability Subgroup. The Campbell Collaboration is a voluntary organization that utilizes available research to answer “what works” questions about a variety of strategies and activities.
Dr. Westbrook’s previous work at SEDL includes directing projects focused on increasing access to and use of disability research, including the National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research (NCDDR, 1999–2011), the Research Utilization Support and Help (RUSH) Project (2003–2009), the Region VI Regional Information Exchange (1983–1995), the National Model for Supported Employment and Independent Living (1988–1991), and the Independent Living Services Network (1987–1989). He also worked as a dissemination specialist with the Regional Exchange project, funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
Prior to joining SEDL in 1982, Dr. Westbrook worked as a consultant and a staff development specialist for the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. He has also worked as a continuing medical education staff development specialist for the Texas Research Institute of the Mental Sciences; as a teacher and supervisor of the Life Skills Department at the Texas School for the Deaf; as an educational consultant in the Multiple Handicapped Hearing Impaired Planning Project of the Texas Education Agency, and as a special education teacher and administrator.
Dr. Westbrook has published numerous articles and papers and served on a number of disability-related organizations and projects. He has served as vice president of the National Association of Rehabilitation and Research Training Centers (NARRTC) several times and became president-elect in 2009. In 2005 he was invited to participate in the White House Conference on Aging and Disability in Washington, DC. In 2004, he received the Charlotte Toulouse Award from the Southwest Conference on Disability for improving communication between people with disabilities and disability researchers. And in 1998, he was selected by the National Rehabilitation Association to be a Switzer Scholar.
Dr. Westbrook participates in the international Campbell Collaboration. In 2008 he initiated service as co-chairman of the Disability Subgroup. Education
Dr. Westbrook holds three degrees from the University of Texas at Austin: a BS in speech with a focus on the education of the deaf and hearing impaired; an MA in special education with a focus on language and learning disorders; and a PhD in educational administration with a focus on special education administration. SEDL Publications
- The Challenge of Evidence in Disability and Rehabilitation Research and Practice: A Position Paper (2009)
- FOCUS - Technical Brief Number 20: Campbell Collaboration Establishes Disability Subgroup (2008)
- Survey of NIDRR grantees’ familiarity with knowledge translation and communities of practice (2005)
- Dissemination Self-Inventory (2002)
- Developing an Effective Dissemination Plan (2001)
- General Characteristics of Effective Dissemination and Utilization (1996)
- Westbrook, J. D., Nye, C., Fong, C. J., Wan, J. T., Cortopassi, T., & Martin, F. H. (2012). Adult employment assistance services for persons with autism spectrum disorders: Effects on employment outcomes. Campbell Collaboration Systematic Review.
- Westbrook, J. D., Nye, C., Wendt, O., Fong, C. J., Williams, A., & Cortopassi, T. (2012). Pre-graduation school-to-work transition programs for persons with autism spectrum disorders: Effects on employment outcomes. Campbell Collaboration Protocol.
- Westbrook, J., Blasiotti, E., & Kobayashi, I. (2001). Disability studies and electronic networking. In K. Seelman & G. Albrecht (Eds.), Handbook of Disability Studies. Sage Publications.
- Westbrook, J. (1999). Rehabilitation research: Areas of accountability issues. National Rehabilitation Association: Switzer Scholar Paper.
- Westbrook, J. (1992, December). The role of the vocational rehabilitation counselor in school-based transition services. REHAB TIMES. Texas Rehabilitation Association.