The Lurie Institute for Disability Policy

Current Projects

The Lurie Institute is engaged in several federally funded research projects that address topical issues affecting people with disabilities and their caregivers. These projects cut across multiple disciplines and address diverse populations of people with disabilities, but they all share a common theme: research designed to advance the civil, legal, and social inclusion of people with disabilities. Our current research initiatives include the National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities, studies on Deaf and hard-of-hearing women’s pregnancy outcomes and experiences, rehabilitation and disability research, sex education and contraception disparities affecting women with disabilities, and the intersections between disability and race when people with disabilities access health care.

Current Projects

  • Parents Empowering Parents: National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities and Their Families: The National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities is a multidisciplinary research program intended to address knowledge gaps regarding the experiences, challenges, and needs of parents with disabilities and their families. Research activities include analyses of large-scale national datasets to develop recommendations for policies and programs affecting parents with disabilities; studies of the interactions between child welfare, legislation, and the rights of parents with disabilities to identify barriers and facilitators to changing state and federal laws to protect parents with disabilities; intervention models to support parents with disabilities, including parents with psychiatric disabilities, Deaf and hard-of-hearing parents, and parents with intellectual disabilities; and translations of our research on parents with disabilities into accessible formats for a variety of relevant audiences, including parents and their families, advocates, policymakers, and attorneys. Funded by: National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research.
  • Community Living Policy Center:
    The Community Living Policy Center (CLPC) is a cross-disability initiative to research policies and practices that promote community living and participation outcomes for people with disabilities of all ages and to share our findings on community living and participation with the general public. Funded by: National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research. 
  • INROADS (Intersecting Research on Opioid Misuse, Addiction and Disability Services):
    INROADS is a joint research program between Brandeis University’s Institute for Behavioral Health and Lurie Institute for Disability Policy. It examines the intersection between addiction, disability, and service provision in an effort to address the rise of opioid use disorders (OUD) among people with disabilities. Funded by: National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research. 
  • Health and Functioning of People with Disabilities: 
    This is a postdoctoral fellowship that focuses on racial, ethnic, and disability-based health disparities affecting children and adults with disabilities. Each Postdoctoral Fellow receives training that is uniquely suited to their interests and goals and driven by an Individual Development Plan. Funded by: Administration for Community Living. 
  • Improving Pregnancy Outcomes of Women with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities:
    This research initiative examines the perinatal health outcomes of women with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) in the United States and their infant children, using population-based data. Specifically, through in-person interviews with pregnant women and new mothers with IDD and with healthcare staff who work with this population this study investigates pregnancy and childbirth outcomes, complications, and inpatient costs among women with and without IDD; examines longitudinal outcomes, healthcare utilization, and costs for women with IDD and their infants; and identifies unmet needs and barriers to perinatal care for women with IDD. Funded by: National Institutes of Health.
  • Pregnancy Outcomes and Experiences among Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Women:
    Women who are Deaf or hard of hearing often encounter obstacles to receiving appropriate reproductive health services or information. This study addresses these disparities through research of national datasets, analyses of longitudinal health outcomes, administration of a national survey, and structured interviews with Deaf and hard-of-hearing mothers and the clinicians who work with them. This study will lead to a first-ever systematic understanding of pregnancy and infant health outcomes and pregnancy costs for Deaf and hard-of-hearing women. Funded by: National Institutes of Health.
  • Parenthood, Health, and Health Behaviors of Fathers with Disability:
    This study investigates fatherhood, health, and health behaviors among US fathers with disabilities. Using data from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG) for the years 2011–13, 2013–15, and 2015–17, this study examines the extent and types of childbearing responsibilities, typologies of father involvement, and health status and prevalence of unhealthy behaviors among fathers with disabilities.
  • Supportive Services for Parents with Disabilities:
    This study provides the first national-level examination of supportive services provided to parents with multiple disabilities during their involvement with the child-protection system. This knowledge will inform service development, implementation, and dissemination, improving support for parents and children within the child-protection system.
  • Impact of COVID-19 on Medicaid Beneficiaries Receiving Home and Community-Based Services:
    This research project studies COVID-related mortality among adults with disabilities through the examination of data provided by health plans and explores the experiences of individuals self-directing their services and supports during the COVID pandemic.