Research and Evaluation
The Program on Disability Research and Community-based Care (PDRCC) research team includes health services researchers, educational psychologists, rehabilitation psychologists, epidemiologists, medical sciences librarians, and policy analysts. We worked closely with faculty at TAMU’s School of Education, faculty at TAMU’s Public Policy Research Institute, TAMU’s Department of Architecture, Texas Health and Human Services Commission, Department of State Health Services, and the Houston Policy Department Mental Health Division. We are currently developing projects with the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. The PDRCC provides hands-on training and mentoring for undergraduate, masters, and doctoral students. Through the PDRCC, undergraduate public health majors are exposed to applied public health research. These students present on their learning experiences at the end of the semester to the research team. Masters level students are provided opportunities to lead subsets of projects and manage undergraduate researchers while doctoral students lead projects and manage master’s students. PDRCC undergraduate mentees have gone on to pursue MPHs, while graduate-level students are well placed in public policy (in Washington D.C.), health care (for example, infection control in hospitals), and academia.
The PDRCC’s work has led to the development and evaluation of tools to improve systems of care for people with disabilities. In Texas, the research team developed and evaluated the STAR Kids Screening and Assessment Tool (the SK-SAI) (https://hhs.texas.gov/sites/default/files//documents/services/health/ Medicaid-chip/programs/star-kids/sai.pdf). The SK-SAI is currently used to assess over 300,000 children and youth with special health care needs enrolled in Medicaid Managed Care services. It replaced assessments determined, through federal lawsuits, to be so inaccurate as to result in the institutionalization of children and youth with special health care needs. Through this work on the SK-SAI, the PDRCC trained over 400 health professionals on the assessment of children and youth with special health care needs. Modules of the SK-SAI are used in other states and Canada. We created a Texas-based provider toolkit for the Texas Department of State Health Services to assist in transitioning youth with special health care needs from pediatric care to adult care. The PDRCC also created, through AHRQ funding and in collaboration with American Institutes for Research, a tool to improve antibiotic stewardship in nursing homes (www.ahrq.gov/nhguide/index.html). This tool is available nationally and is utilized by organizations including the Florida Public Health Department. The PDRCC research team also collaborated with the Houston Police Department to identify vulnerable populations in Houston’s community-based personal care services market. Overall, PDRCC projects have lead to systems changes to improve the care for people with disabilities, and was chosen to represent Texas A&M University in a major marketing campaign through US World News and Report https://usnewsbrandfuse.com/TexasAM/Turning-Science-Into-Society/index.html .
Training and Support
PDRCC trains health services researchers about substantive disability and community-based long-term supports and services, policy issues, and methods that can be used in applied and policy-relevant research.
Contact PDRCCDarcy McMaughan, Ph.D.
Director, Program on Disability Research and Community-based Care