Research and Training Center on Disability in Rural Communities

For nearly 30 years, RTC: Rural has conducted disability research as part of the Rural Institute at the University of Montana. RTC: Rural is funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) to improve the ability of people with disabilities to engage in rural community living.RTC Rural Logo

To achieve this, we:

  • Perform research to solve rural problems.
  • Offer training and technical assistance to service providers.
  • Work to reduce barriers to community participation.
  • Present rural issues to disability groups.

By conducting research across the focus areas of health, employment, and community participation and independent living, RTC: Rural uncovers the relationships among personal and environmental factors that show how people experience the rural environment to maintain quality of life. This work  has led to the development of health promotion programs, disability and employment policy, and support and education for providers who serve people with disabilities.

As leaders in rural disability research, our projects incorporate the collaboration of stakeholders and consumers from the disability community. We seek input and advice in shaping research projects both during their development and throughout the research process.  This partnership ensures the relevance of our research as we work to improve overall quality of life of people with disabilities.

Craig Ravesloot, Ph.D.

Dr. Craig Ravesloot with AwardDr. Ravesloot is a Clinical Psychologist and Associate Research Professor of Psychology at the University of Montana where he directs disability and health research for the Rural Institute on Disabilities. Dr. Ravesloot has over 20 years experience in research, program development and evaluation of services for people with disabilities funded through the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Public Health Service (PHS). He was awarded the Disability and Health research scientist of the year award by the Southwest Conference on Disabilities in 2006. He has published numerous articles covering a range of topics including health, employment and independent living for people with disabilities.

Catherine Ipsen, Ph.D.

Dr. Catherine IpsenDr. Ipsen has worked at RTC: Rural since 1992 and is the Director of Rural Employment Research. She holds a Ph.D. in Multidisciplinary Studies and an M.A. in Economics, both from the University of Montana.  Dr. Ipsen has 20 years of experience in disability research and evaluation, with funding through the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and U.S. Department of Education. Her research interests focus on service delivery strategies to support rural VR consumers in employment.

Tannis Hargrove, M.A.

Tannis Hargrove M.A.Tannis Hargrove has worked at the RTC: Rural since 2012 as a Research Associate. She has a B.S. in Sociology from Montana State University and an M.S. in Health Promotion from the University of Montana. Prior to her work at RTC, Tannis was an Employment Specialist at the Missoula Job Service and the Volunteer Coordinator and Grassroots Organizer at Planned Parenthood of Montana. She has also worked at the University of Montana, School of Business Administration.