Most people don’t realize that the Rocky Mountain ADA Center conducts research. In fact, one of the main things we do is to conduct research on important topics related to the ADA.
The RMADAC partners with Jill Bezyak, PhD, a professor in Rehabilitation Counseling Services at the University of Northern Colorado, to conduct research on our behalf. She has a network of researchers who assist with data collection, analyzation, and publishing research articles.
In the past, we have tackled topics around effective communication and assistive technologies. During this grant cycle (October 2016 – September 2021) we are working on several new projects. Let me outline them for you.
1. The Role of Implicit Bias of Persons with Disabilities
The purpose of this project is to design a comprehensive strategy to increase awareness of implicit bias toward individuals with disabilities. We are creating and testing interventions by using knowledge of implicit bias. We hope to advance the acceptance of individuals with disabilities. We have been facilitating training and are gathering loads of data. We will measure any shifts in implicit bias as a result of this training.
2. Law Enforcement Study
The purpose of this project is to investigate barriers to effective communication between law enforcement personnel and people with disabilities. First, we completed focus groups with law enforcement and individuals with disabilities. Now, we are creating a quantitative survey for law enforcement personnel. Once the survey is complete and we have analyzed the data, we will develop training and materials to assist law enforcement.
3. Drive-By Lawsuits
We reviewed all the drive-by lawsuits that have been filed in each state in the Rocky Mountain Region. We found the top five most common drive-by lawsuits in each state. Using the information gathered, we will create training and materials for businesses. This will allow businesses to learn how to best implement the ADA at their location and become more inclusive of those with disabilities.
4. Vacation Rental Properties
Are vacation rental properties (i.e. VRBO and Airbnb) considered a public accommodation? If so, do they provide criteria for accessibility and how is accessibility enforced? Our research outlines how vacation rental property hosts and booking platforms should comply with the ADA.
5. Human Resources Community of Practice (CoP)
We have created a website for HR professionals to use when considering reasonable accommodations in employment. The site is live and we are seeking greater participation within the CoP for HR professionals. The outcome will measure if this digital space helps HR professionals become more inclusive within the workplace.
As we complete our research, we will be sure to keep the region informed on what we learn. We know that by investigating these topics and sharing our findings, we get one step closer to full implementation of the ADA.