DHARS Five Aims

The UAB Center for Disability Health and Rehabilitation Science has developed five Aims in our effort to create a world where people with disability will be afforded all of the same opportunities for a high quality of life and purposeful living as all other individuals.

Aim 1 – Create Administrative Structure to Implement Center

Our co-directors, James Rimmer, Ph.D., and David Brown, Ph.D., along with the rest of the Executive Committee, David Morris, Ph.D., Patrick McNees, Ph.D., and Brian Dudgeon, Ph.D., with UAB; plus Robert Hergenrother, Ph.D., with Southern Research and Jeff Underwood, president, Lakeshore Foundation), will provide leadership and oversight for all aspects of the Center’s programs.

An External Advisory Committee of nationally recognized experts in disability and rehabilitation science will meet every two to three years to provide recommendations about the Center’s programs to the Co-Directors and Steering Committee. In addition, Deans, Department Chairs and other Center Directors from across UAB will provide ongoing guidance on how the Center can most effectively carry out its mission.

Aim 2 – Recruit New Faculty, Implement Research Programs

We will gather together outstanding researchers related to optimizing health, function and occupation of people with disability, particularly in the areas of adaptive physical activity, behavioral psychology, sociology, special education, disability studies, rehabilitation engineering, and occupation science.

A primary research collaboration exists with the UAB/Lakeshore Research Collaborative which currently has one extramurally funded center program - the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Interactive Exercise Technologies and Exercise Physiology for People with Disabilities - that supports disability and rehabilitation science research and includes a multidisciplinary team of UAB faculty researchers.

In addition, the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability is a major infrastructure grant, implemented with the UAB/Lakeshore Collaborative that supports disability health research and training.

Aim 3 – Enhance Education and Research Training

PhD and post-doctoral-level researchers are trained through programs such as the PhD Program in Rehabilitation Science, Clinical Nutrition Sciences, Healthcare Management, Public Health, Human Studies, Graduate Biomedical Sciences and Psychology.

One major annual symposium will be planned to bring together thought leaders in the areas of rehabilitation science and disability health.

One major goal of this center will be to write a successful pre/postdoctoral research training grant (T32).

Aim 4 – Contribute Expertise and Resources to Enhanced and Effective Community Engagement

Community groups engaged in serving individuals with disability include UCP-Birmingham, Children’s Hospital, Sparks/Civitan, Birmingham VA Hospital, Beneficial Designs, IDSA, Southern Research Institute, Parkinson’s disease Foundation, Lakeshore Rehabilitation Hospital, and Stroke Survivor’s Group.

The I Can Do it, You Can Do It program, coordinated at UAB by Dr. David Morris, aims to promote and enhance physical activity and healthy nutritional behaviors for children and adults with disabilities through a mentor-mentee relationship. The program is coordinated through the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition (PCFSN).

Aim 5 – Identify Top Candidate Devices for Technology Development and Implement Successful Technology Transfer to End-Users

In collaboration with AimTech, a collaboration between Southern Research and Biomedical Engineering, center members will continue to work toward development and commercialization of new technologies that help to implement the mission and goals of the center toward improving the lives of people with disability. Currently, Dr. Brown is working with Dr. Bob Hergenrother at AimTech to advance the development of a new exercise training system.