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

  • Civic Engagement for People with Disabilities: 
    In partnership with the Sillerman Center for the Advancement of Philanthropy at Brandeis University, this study will identify barriers to civic engagement for people with disabilities, highlight example cases of civil engagement organizations developing disabled leaders and of disability organizations integrating civic engagement and leadership, and develop recommendations for philanthropy and civic engagement organizations to enhance disabled people's civic participation. Our goal is to collaborate with philanthropic organizations to empower people with disabilities—particularly people of color with disabilities—to strengthen our democracy. Funded by: Ford Foundation.
  • 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 that 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. 
  • 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. 
  • Understanding the Health Care Needs and Experiences of Boston Children with Special Health Care Needs:
     This study uses data from the Boston Survey of Children’s Health, a representative study of the health and well-being of children in Boston, to examine, from the parents' perspectives, their children's health care access, service utilization, quality, and disparities among Boston children with and without special health care needs. Funded by: Deborah Munroe Noonan Memorial Research Fund.
  • Assessing Shared Living As A Residential Option for Youth Transitioning to Adult Services:
    The purpose of this study is to gain an in-depth understanding of the implementation and operation of Shared Living (SL) opportunities among youth transitioning to adult services; and assess the ways in which SL must evolve in the future. Interviews are being conducted with personnel from the Department of Developmental Services (DDS) and from Shared Living provider agencies across the state. The results will provide descriptive data on shared living households and generate recommendations for improving and expanding SL opportunities. Funded by: Deborah Munroe Noonan Memorial Research Fund. 
  • 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 will receive training that is uniquely suited to their interests and goals, and is 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, this study aims to investigate pregnancy and childbirth outcomes, complications and inpatient costs among women with and without IDD; examine longitudinal outcomes, healthcare utilization and costs for women with IDD and their infants; and identify unmet needs and barriers to perinatal care for women with IDD through in-person interviews with pregnant women and new mothers with IDD, and healthcare staff who work with this population. Funded by: National Institutes of Health.
  • 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.
  • 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 intends to address these disparities through studies of national datasets, analyses of longitudinal health outcomes, 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.