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James Rimmer, PhD, CEDHARS Director “Nothing About Us, Without Us”

Riding the momentum of the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a good colleague of mine, Jim Charlton, wrote a classic book with this title, which has become a mantra for the disability community. It laid the foundation for his work in promoting inclusion of people with disabilities into all segments of our society.

At CEDHARS, our interpretation of integration aligns with Charlton’s poignant words and explicitly extends to what I call “inclusion science.” For too long, people with disabilities have been intentionally excluded from research, which diminishes generalizability, leaving behind the 61 million Americans living with a disability. Rather, including people with disabilities in the entirety of the research process will give rise to comprehensive and integrative solutions and eliminate the need to retrofit research for the disability community. We believe in applying Charlton’s ethic to science – Nothing Without Us.

The hallmark of inclusion science is collaboration to address a scientific challenge that leverages the strengths and expertise of professionals trained in different fields. Our vision for CEDHARS is that we begin to recruit researchers and students with disability to UAB because of our unique footprint in inclusion science; that people with disabilities will be involved at the beginning, middle and end of the advancement of scientific knowledge and discovery. This will ensure that the new generation of precision science will be applicable and translatable to every member of the disability community.

We put an emphasis on the “E” in CEDHARS for engagement in the disability community. The transformation of research will be impossible without the collaboration of excellent researchers from all disciplines empathetically working toward a world of inclusion and access. If it has anything to do with disability, it has everything to do with CEDHARS.

In closing, I want to thank you for taking time to visit our website, the online home for everything that is CEDHARS. We welcome your feedback and eagerly look forward to hearing from you on ways of advancing inclusion science. I am blessed beyond belief to have such an amazing team behind me who equally shares in my passion and fervor. We look forward to sharing this passion with you.

James Rimmer, PhD
CEDHARS Director

Read more from the director in Director's Notes.