FYI, the Institute on Community Integration Staff Newsletter

August 2012

Knowledge for All: RTC’s Knowledge Translation Commitment

Too often research findings do not make their way into the communities that need the information to improve services, policies, and ultimately the quality of life for people with disabilities. Barriers can include how the information is presented, the relevance of the content to community needs, and the means by which it’s shared. The Research and Training Center on Community Living (RTC) at the Institute on Community Integration is working to address such barriers through using Knowledge Translation.

Knowledge Translation in the RTC is a process of transforming new knowledge into information that can be used to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities in their communities. It is not just about the dissemination of research findings, but also includes the relationship between people receiving the information and being able to use it toward identified goals. As Lori Sedlezky, the RTC’s Director of Knowledge Translation, explains, “I have a responsibility to make sure that the research findings of the RTC are shared in ways that are easily accessible by, and will get to, the people who can use the information to effect change in their own lives. This means making sure it gets to self-advocates, families, service providers, policymakers, professional advocates, and other stakeholders who are pushing systems and policy to ensure the full inclusion of people with disabilities in the community. Knowledge Translation addresses the gap between what is known and what is done.”

The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), the core funder of the RTC, has a strong commitment to Knowledge Translation, as does the RTC. Both are working to develop strategies to reach diverse and changing populations, present research results in many different and accessible formats, and use technology appropriately in dissemination efforts. One RTC activity underway is the further development and formal launch this month of the Self-Advocacy Online Web site for individuals with intellectual, developmental and other disabilities. The site has four main components:

  • A Knowledge Translation section in which research findings are translated into meaningful resources for self-advocates as they work for system or individual change in their lives.

  • A learning center with interactive presentations on topics of interest to self-advocates.

  • A story wall where self-advocates share their thoughts and stories about a particular topic.

  • A directory of self-advocacy groups across the nation.

“This is just the beginning of new Knowledge Translation work within the RTC,” says Lori. “As we continue to refine our future priorities we will better incorporate Knowledge Translation into all our efforts. We envision that self-advocates and other stakeholders will have a greater voice in determining what research is needed, will be more involved in guiding the translation of knowledge, and will be able to use the research conducted at the RTC more effectively to change practices and policies related to services and long-term support for people with disabilities and their families.”

FFI contact Lori at and 612-624-7668.