With a 35th birthday party coming in June 2007, USU's Center for Persons with Disabilities will celebrate the enormous impact it has made in the lives of people with disabilities, their families and their communities in Utah.
CPD remains at the forefront of research, education, technology and direct-service support systems.
"We are proud that we've made a significant difference in people's lives for 35 years," said Sarah Rule, director of the center. "Our goal from the day the doors opened was to improve quality of life, and the partnerships we have developed throughout the state have had important impacts."
CPD projects address a broad spectrum of disability-related topics such as early intervention, health care, clinical evaluation, recreation activities, employment, assistive technology and web accessibility. The center also participates in training students and professionals, and in conducting basic and applied research. By combining various disciplines, cutting-edge technology and research in numerous areas, CPD provides unique education and coordinated service opportunities. These benefit Utah families and professionals in the field.
"We focus efforts on the needs in our state, especially those in rural and underserved areas," Rule said. "But our programs are not limited to Utah. In fact, our efforts have had positive impacts nationally and internationally."
The USU center receives more than 80 percent of its funding from external sources. For every dollar of university funding received by CPD in 2005, more than eight additional dollars were generated through grants and contracts from federal, state, local and private agencies.
Some of the major accomplishments from last year alone include:
- Major research efforts on improving service systems, the biological causes of disabilities, and the development of assistive technologies and software to make electronic information accessible.
- More than 18,000 hours of training and technical assistance delivered to more than 34,000 people, including those at state and local human services agencies and organizations of people with disabilities and their families.
- More than 4.5 million people visited CPD-supported web sites, and 513 library patrons accessed information.
- The CPD provided financial support totaling almost $352,000 to 163 graduate and undergraduate students. More than just a paycheck, support was linked to experiences that advanced students' understanding of disability issues, research and services, and the funding provided leadership opportunities for many.