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Research Overview

The WVU CED stimulates and promotes interdisciplinary research where scientists, practitioners, and people with disabilities work together to tackle disability-related issues relevant to West Virginia. One of the key objectives of the WVU CED is to improve the lives of West Virginians of all ages with disabilities by supporting diverse, inclusive communities. Our research aligns with that mission and addresses the domains of employment, access to quality health care, health and wellness, and transitions.

Current Research Initiatives

Accountable Health Community (AHC) Project

This project is a CMS-funded randomized controlled trial to examine the benefits of providing patient navigation services to address social service needs. The purpose of the initiative is to provide a bridge of coordinated care that would link individuals’ medical homes with social service providers so that their social service needs are resolved and they are able to respond to medical treatment and advice.

The WVU CED, DD Council, and WV State Advocates are providing the teams and expertise to navigate individuals to social service providers; WVU CED is coordinating these services. Specifically, partners will utilize completed assessments of social service needs among individuals seeking medical treatment within the Partners in Health medical clinics. Once the needs are identified, we will utilize our existing inventory of social service providers throughout the state to connect social service providers to the individuals in need.

Appalachian Rural Health Integration Model

The CED is partnering with the West Virginia Office of Maternal, Child and Family Health, Project W.A.T.C.H. and the West Virginia Home Visitation Program to address neonatal abstinence syndrome service challenges. This collaborative has developed the Appalachian Rural Health Integration Model, which will work to continue strengthening the existing infrastructure for children with special needs and their families.

The project, funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Maternal and Child Health Bureau, will expand the home visitation infrastructure in six northern West Virginia counties that have some of the greatest incidence rates of NAS among infants.

CED Launches IMPACT WV Learning Portal

Feeding and Swallowing Therapy Practices of Speech Language Pathologists in WV

The purpose of this study is to gather clinical perspectives of feeding and swallowing therapy throughout West Virginia. Currently, there is a need for high-quality studies focusing on pediatric dysphagia in order for speech-language pathologists to make strong recommendations for feeding and swallowing therapy (Sjogreen et al., 2018; Gosa et al., 2017; Hirst et al, 2017; Lefton-Greif, 2008). Part of this need for more high-quality studies stems from the few standard protocols in place for children with dyspahgia (Kleinert, 2017). With a lack of external scientific evidence, clinical perspective holds more weight in providing evidence-based practice (ASHA, n.d.). While surveys on the clinical perspectives of speech-language pathologists have been conducted in other countries (Raatz et al., 2019), there is little to no evidence of these perspectives on pediatric dysphagia interventions in the United States, especially in underserved areas requiring telepractice to meet client need. Modified from Raatz et al. (2019), this survey will collect the lacking information on the demographics and clinical perspectives of speech-language pathologists regarding pediatric dysphagia treatment and the use of telepractice in West Virginia.

To take the survey, visit