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Graduate Leadership Project

Principal Investigator: Charles Drum, JD, Ph.D., Carla Culley, MPH

Time Frame: Years 1 - 5

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The RRTC: Health and Wellness Consortium is committed to developing leaders in the field of disability and health promotion. To this end the Center strives to build leadership potential and expertise among graduate and post-graduate level health care professionals and pre-professionals who will devote their careers to serving the needs of persons living with disabilities and special health needs and their families. There continues to be a strong focus on training researchers each year at the OHSU program in addition to students placed with Center partners


The goal of this project is to develop a leadership program to train leaders in the field of disability and health promotion. The specific objectives include:

Objective 1: Design the graduate leadership program
Objective 2: Recruit Graduate Research Assistants (GRA) and Post-MPH and Postdoctoral Fellows with disabilities
Objective 3: Provide the GRA/Fellowship experience
Objective 4: Revise and disseminate graduate leadership project procedures and materials


Program Development and Recruitment
The Center training staff developed position descriptions, training objectives, evaluation procedures, and criteria for fellow/GRA selection. Each year, the Center offered graduate and fellow training opportunities in research, leadership, and administration. The Center attempted to recruit potential leaders in the field who had a disability through targeted recruitment efforts. For example, all marketing materials stated, "In conjunction with our commitment to promote leadership among researchers with disabilities, persons who experience a disability and who are committed to developing expertise in health and wellness issues are especially encouraged to apply."

GRAs and Post-MPH Fellows were recruited from existing graduate student pools at local universities through flyer and list-serve announcements. A national recruitment effort was mounted for the recruitment of postdoctoral fellows. The national recruitment efforts included sending position announcements to the Center's network of universities, including health administration programs, rehabilitation programs, and research training programs across the US. Announcements were also listed on the Internet at the OHSU Human Resource site, the Chronicle of Higher Education website and other appropriate sites.


Once fellows and GRAs were selected the Center training staff determined their job assignments along with any support/accommodations they required, and met those needs. Trainees are involved in every aspect of RRTC operations, including administration, research and training activities. Core staff conducted didactic training, assisted trainees in designing and implementing an individual project, and provided mentorship and peer support as needed. We periodically evaluated trainee learning and satisfaction during the yearly appointments, and revised the program to be responsive to needs.

Graduate leadership project procedures and materials Project procedures and materials have been developed and will be revised based on trainee feedback and disseminated to a variety of interested audiences.


Graduate Research Assistants
Graduate Research Assistant tasks include providing Center support through report development and tracking, literature reviews, curriculum development, newsletter authoring, grant writing and article collaboration.

2003 - 2004: Charles Ritter, MPH

2003 - 2004: Craig Laws, MPH

2001 - 2003: Melissa Gomez, RN

2001 - 2002: Laura Hammond, MPH

2001: Vince Dimone

2001: Christopher Chinnock

2000: Eunice Lee

Post-MPH Fellows
Duties have included database research, project assistance, curriculum implementation and dissemination, and the development of a chapter for a public health course, as well as collaborating with center staff on Policy Forum and Science Conference coordination.

2002 - 2003: Laura Hammond, MPH

2002 - 2003: Anne Grey, MPH

Postdoctoral Fellows
Postdoctoral fellows divide their time between research projects, training projects, professional development and grant writing.

2003 - 2004: Nancy Farrell, MA, PhD candidate

2003 - 2004: Barb Dapcic, PhD

2003: Ann Ward, MA, MSW, MPH, PhD

2002: Mark Sherry, PhD

2002 - 2003: Mary Oschwald, PhD

2000 - 2001: Michelle Putnam, PhD

Leadership Training in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities Projects (LEND) Students
LEND students have worked on curriculum development and pilot-testing, coordination of research projects, presenting RRTC findings at conferences, and writing articles for peer-reviewed journals.

2003 - 2004: Wendy DeCourcey, PhD candidate

2003 - 2004: Reagan Smith, PhD candidate

2002 - 2003: Andrew Downs, PhD

2002 - 2003: Jason Wingert, PhD

2002 - 2003: Sabrina Rhee, PhD

2000 - 2001: Mary Maguire, MA

2000 - 2001: Robyn Salter, PhD


Mentoring is the key to a successful Graduate Training Project. This can be in an informal or formal manner. It is imperative to clarify the lines of communication and supervisory roles as part of the process.

Students have much to offer to an organization in the way of new ideas and cutting edge information. However, many do not receive specific training in the disability field and this type of training is critical for potential leaders.

Recruitment of students with disability and cultural diversity needs to always be a priority in recruitment efforts.

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