Partners in Research

Partners in Research is an innovative program designed to empower adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) to become active stakeholders in health research. Drawing from the philosophy of “nothing about us without us!” this program will provide trainings on the intersections of disability and health, build awareness among participants of health disparities, and enable participants to become actively engaged in applied health projects. Partners in Research aims to improve health outcomes by facilitating research that addresses the needs and preferences of members of this community.

Americans with disabilities face many barriers in accessing adequate health care and experience significant health disparities, yet most research on health and medicine does not include input from this population. In fact, people with disabilities are not even recognized as a health disparity population. Through the Partners in Research project, The Texas Center for Disability Studies will address this critical problem by building capacity among people with IDD to play meaningful roles in research.

The first Partners in Research course, "Health 101," will launch in Austin in 2018. There will be four separate sessions throughout the year. Classes will be co-taught by people with and without IDD, and will be free of charge for participants. Engaging people with IDD in health research will ultimately result in research goals, designs, outcomes, and dissemination of information to better meet this community’s needs.

Course Curriculum: Disability and Health 101

The curriculum for Partners In Research: Health 101 focuses on the following key issues relating to disability and health: 1) health disparities in the U.S.; 2) supporting healthy lives; 3) access to health; and 4) health advocacy. The program is designed to raise awareness about health issues facing the disability community while also empowering participants to improve the health landscape for Americans with disabilities from the ground up.

If you have questions or would like to enroll in this exciting course, please contact Dr. Elizabeth Lewis at or (512)475-7203.

We hope to see you there!