UNH’s Institute on Disability (IOD) may have a successful 30-year history, but it is not resting on its laurels.
This past summer saw the IOD front-and-center in Washington, D.C., as the institute's Dan Habib traveled to the nation’s capital for a screening of his film, “Mr. Connolly Has ALS,” as part of an event hosted by legislators including New Hampshire Sen. Maggie Hassan and Rep. Ann McLane Kuster. The film follows the story of Concord High School principal Gene Connolly and his commitment to inclusive education.
On Oct. 10, it was back to D.C. for the IOD when Andrew Houtenville and Kimberly Phillips joined experts from the Kessler Foundation to release the results of the 2017 Kessler Foundation National Employment & Disability Survey: Supervisor Perspectives, which the IOD conducted. The report includes data on hiring, professional development, advancement and accommodations for applicants and employees with and without disabilities. The pair has since been featured on New Hampshire Public Radio in a discussion on this important work.
And then there are the recent federal grants awarded to the IOD to help further its mission of promoting full access, equal opportunities and participation for all. The IOD was recognized this summer with a $2.7 million grant to continue its leadership efforts and more recently with a share in an additional $4 million in federal funds to help improve and increase job opportunities, quality-of-home and community-based services for Granite State residents.
Announcing the most recent grant, Hassan and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen praised the IOD for its work. “I’m glad to see these federal funds come home to New Hampshire to support the IOD and UNH,” Shaheen said. “These resource centers do tremendous work helping Granite Staters living with disabilities engage and succeed in our community and economy.”
“These grants provide us with the opportunity to collaborate with partners in the New Hampshire developmental disability community, state agencies and the College of Health and Human Services for significant change and impact on the lives of individuals with disabilities,” the IOD’s Linda Bimbo said in the grant announcement.
That impact comes from the IOD's work training future health and human service professionals on disability-related skills that represent best practices. Such grants also support the IOD's community-based training for professionals, families and self-advocates and research that informs disability-related policies and practices.
Rep. Carol Shea-Porter previously announced the $2.7 million grant from the Administration for Community Living’s Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, describing the IOD as “nationally renowned for its leadership” and adding she was “thrilled that this grant will help them continue to support and empower people with disabilities here in New Hampshire and across the nation.” The grant will help fund such IOD programs as academic and community-oriented initiatives focused on promoting independence, productivity and quality of life for individuals with disabilities.