Strategic Initiatives

In its effort to create a world where people with disabilities will be afforded all of the same opportunities for a high quality of life and purposeful living as all other individuals, CEDHARS has identified four key areas to strengthen and expand its impact and become the source for disability health and rehabilitation science at UAB and beyond.


  • Establish a formal 5-year strategic plan with a designated consulting firm to obtain qualitative/quantitative data from UAB researchers, external advisory panel members, and community members with disabilities, caregivers, and disability service providers. In process - to be completed by October 2020.
  • Formalize the structure of the five center cores (biostats, rehabilitation engineering, clinical health/rehabilitation, diss./impl. sci. & telerehabilitation).
  • Create and maintain/update a set of dissemination and communication resources that will elevate the visibility of the center both within and outside the university.


  • Expand Network of UAB researchers involved in CEDHARS with membership from all schools and colleges 
  • Seed and foster promising research programs that address some of the biggest challenges facing disability by stimulating collaboration across multiple disciplines through an innovative translational research pilot program that includes funding priorities in the four cores (rehab engineering, clinical health/rehab sciences, dissemination/implementation science, telerehabilitation/telehealth). 
  • Increase NIH, NIDILRR and other federal funding through several sources: P/U grant mechanism, multi-investigator R01s, Center grants. 

Training & Development

  • Develop a T32 training grant for predoctoral/postdoctoral trainees in disability health and rehabilitation sciences. 
  • Develop and offer an interdisciplinary course in disability health and rehabilitation for predoctoral/postdoctoral trainees. The course will also target students across multiple schools and colleges interested in pursuing a graduate career or professional degree in health, medicine or rehabilitation. The course will also attract students from other professions interested in learning more about how their career may intersect with disability. 
  • Host an interdisciplinary rehabilitation-to-wellness (R2W) symposium that attracts national leaders, researchers, students, and community members partially supported through an NIH R13 conference mechanism. 

Community Engagement/Patient Care

  • Establish a UAB-Lakeshore rehab-2-wellness (R2W) program for people with disabilities transitioning out of UAB patient care and rehabilitation services. Offer program onsite and remotely and collect longitudinal data on participants’ health, function and quality of life. 
  • Develop a biannual global competition (Disability Design Challenge) aimed at encouraging students to design products and services to improve the lives of people with disabilities in partnership with Lakeshore Foundation. Finalists will receive paid travel to UAB, where they will present their designs to industry, academic and government leaders.