Research at the Center

The Law, Health Policy & Disability Center conducts basic and applied research. Research topics include health research, employment of people with disabilities, civil rights, and federal and state generic and disability policy.

We partner with private, state and federal agencies and receive funding to conduct research from NIDRR in the U.S. Department of Education, the Department of Labor, and, through subcontracts with state projects, the Social Security Administration, as well as state and local agencies such as Polk County Health Services in Des Moines.

Current Research

Intereactive Multimedia and Biorepository Informed Consent.
funded by NHGRI

Abstract. The long-term goal of this research is to develop multimedia technology and interactive instructional strategies to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of obtaining informed consent for human DNA and tissue biorepositories. Studies suggest that individuals do not sufficiently understand the information presented during biorepository consent processes, and that traditional consent processes pose resource challenges for large-scale biorepositories. Based on experiments testing multimedia presentations for patient education purposes, multimedia has the potential to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of obtaining biorepository informed consent by increasing participant understanding and recollection of information presented. Yet, this potential has not been systematically investigated in the unique context of biorepository consent. In particular, there is a need to understand the separate effects of interactivity (i.e., question asking, feedbac provided to subjects) and multimedia (i.e., multiple information delivery formats) on participant knowledge, understanding, and decision to participate. This study will compare a standard paper-based consent process (control) to multimedia and interactive consent processes, using an experimental design with random assignment, integrated into actual recruitment at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics' (UIHC) comprehensive DNA and tissue biorepository. To assess the separate effects of interactivity and multimedia, low and high interactivity conditions will be tested for both the paper and the multimedia conditions. In the high interactivity conditions, participants will be asked questions about the information presented and provided feedback on their responses. Interactivity and multimedia are expected to significantly improve subject knowledge and understanding when compared to the paper-based control. High interactive multimedia is expected to decrease staff time devoted to obtaining informed consent. Two hundred (200) patients will participate in the study from the Dermatology and Immunology/Rheumatology Clinics at the UIHC. Participants will be enrolled into the UIHC biorepository via one of the four study conditions. Results of the study will be used to develop a multisite comparative study designed to demonstrate the effectiveness and efficiency of interactivity and multimedia consent under different environments, forms of media, and informed consent protocols. This research has the potential to improve on current paper-based informed consent processes and to establish the feasibility of alternative, and more effective, multimedia consent processes for human DNA and tissue biorepositories and other research-driven efforts in genetics and genomics. Co-Principal Investigators: Christian Simon (College of Medicine), Helen Schartz, & David Klein.

Past Projects

RRTC on Workforce Investment and Employment Policy for Persons with Disabilities
funded by NIDRR

A partnership with several centers and universities, the RRTC implements a cross-cutting research agenda to increase our knowledge and understanding of the impact of workforce development and employment policy on the health, well being, and economic status of Americans with disabilities. At a critical time of on-going major policy reforms regarding education, employment training, welfare, and health care, the RRTC seeks to identify and analyze both policy barriers and facilitators to employment for working-age adults with disabilities. This RRTC frames new questions about the relationships between federal and state policy, employment and access to health care, civil rights, effective and meaningful coordination of services and supports in the emerging new workforce development system, and outcome-based reimbursement strategies for delivery of employment services and individual choice.

IT Works
funded by NIDRR

IT Works partners with the Information Technology Association of America to examine Information Technology-based employment of people with disabilities. The Center identified barriers to and facilitators of the hiring, retention, accommodation, and advancement of persons with disabilities; test strategies to improve hiring, retention, and advancement of persons with disabilities; provide training; and disseminate research findings. Surveys and interviews were conducted with human resource managers at IT and non-IT companies; persons with disabilities working at these companies; persons with disabilities who graduated from federally funded IT training and employment programs; directors of IT training programs; and IT trainers. See ITWorks project website.

Technology for Independence: Community-Based Resource Center
funded by NIDRR

The TI:CBRC is a partnership with ILRU at TIRR. The project facilitated the development of real-world, scientifically rigorous knowledge and research on assistive technology and environmental access for persons with disabilities in partnership with disability researchers, disability advocates, community-based organizations, and other disability community members. TI:CBRC provides training and technical assistance to three NIDRR-funded Technology for Independence projects and to community-based and university-based researchers applying participatory action research techniques to studying assistive technology and environmental access and their impact on the independence of people with disabilities. See CBRC project website.

Asset Accumulation and Tax Policy Project
funded by NIDRR

AATPP unites organizations serving persons with disabilities with credit unions and other financial institutions to produce groundbreaking research on barriers and opportunities of tax and public policies. The research and accompanying policy recommendations were aimed at improving the economic independence, social empowerment, and community integration of persons with disabilities. The Law, Health Policy, and Disability Center (LHPDC) at the University of Iowa College of Law, in collaboration with Southern New Hampshire University School of Community Economic Development, the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions, the World Institute on Disability, and the National Cooperative Bank Development Corporation are developing and disseminating a new and comprehensive body of knowledge to multiple target audiences nationwide. AATP examined the potential of tax policy and asset accumulation to improve the economic stability of people with disabilities. The impact of financial education, matched savings accounts, expanded financial services, and increased use of state and federal tax incentives for asset and community economic development is being explored.

Information Technology Technical Assistance and Training Center (ITTATC)
funded by NIDRR

In collaboration with Georgia Institute of Technology, this project focused on research, training and technical assistance with states on Section 508 and 255 compliance. ITTATC has a government and industry liaison officer in Washington, D.C., and identifies best practices at a state level in Section 508 IT accessibility and procurement policies and procedures. It also offerred information, training, and technical assistance to state stakeholders, industry, and the disability community about IT and telecommunications accessibility. To build understanding and knowledge utilization of Section 508 requirements, the Center collaborated with State AT projects, the RESNA TA Project, and State Chief Information Officers.

Disability Program Navigator and Work Incentive Grantees Technical Assistance
funded by U.S. Department of Labor/ETA

The Center implemented a project that assisted the DOL central office, the regional Disability Coordinators, the Social Security Administration, and nationwide Disability Program Navigator and Work Incentive Grantees to provide information, training, and technical assistance to improve the effective and meaningful participation of youth and working-age adults with disabilities in the One Stops and comprehensive workforce development system. The Center helped the Grantees understand relevant developments in systems change and capacity building efforts across federal agencies; exchange information on promising systems change activities, identify barriers and effective policy and practice solutions that advance access and effective participation in the Workforce Development System at a local community level.

Job Accommodation Network Survey and Evaluation
funded by U.S. Department of Labor-ODEP

JAN is a service of the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy in collaboration with the Center for Disability Information at West Virginia University and private industry throughout North America. It provides critical information on accommodations to employers and individuals with disabilities. The Center surveyed JAN customers on such topics as job accommodations, self-employment, and small business opportunities and assist JAN to assess the information collected. The information provided additional knowledge about workplace accommodations, employment trends and retention of workers with disabilities.

National Center on Workforce and Disability/Adult
funded by U.S. Department of Labor-ODEP

A collaboration with The Institute for Community Inclusion, the project provided key policy research and analysis on employment challenges for individuals with disabilities as part of this national technical assistance center. The Center provides training and technical assistance to stimulate opportunity for participation in the workforce development system by Americans with disabilities.

One Source
funded by U.S. Department of Labor-ODEP

In collaboration with Service Source and the Northern Virginia Workforce Investment Board, facilitated a strategic planning process to establish and improve collaboration among partners in the workforce development system in both a customized employment and a youth activities grant.

Iowa High School Web Accessibility Project
funded by the Great Plains ADA/IT Project, others

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Sections 504 and 508 of the Rehabilitation Act, prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities in all aspects of daily life, including education, work, and access to places of public accommodations. Increasingly, these antidiscrimination laws are used by persons with disabilities to ensure equal access to e-commerce, and to private and public Internet websites. To help assess the impact of the anti-discrimination mandate for educational communities, this study examined 157 website home pages of Iowa public high schools (52% of high schools in Iowa) in terms of their electronic accessibility for persons with disabilities. See the High School Web Study website.

Ten States' Web Services and Policies on Web Accessibility for People with Disabilities
funded by NIDRR

Six Web-based services from 10 state websites were assessed for accessibility for people with disabilities. Five states with strong web accessibility policies and five with relatively weak accessibility policies were selected for comparison. Among a variety of measures for accessibility, including "Bobby," strong policy state websites were compared against weak policy state websites. Strong policy states showed a difference in the number of links on pages, their use of JavaScript, and a trend in how they passed Bobby priority 1. However, no other evidence of any apparent effect from strength of policy was found for accessibility on these websites. Overall, states showed similar levels of accessibility to other public websites in other similar studies. Issues and ways to improve state website accessibility are explored.