National research organization honors Life Span Institute scientists for commitment to research focused on people with disabilities

Life Span Institute researchers Jean Hall, Noelle Kurth, and Darcy Sullivan were recently honored by the National Association of Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (NARRTC) at the organization’s annual meeting.

"Jean Hall stands at a podium in front of a screen with her name and image on it"

Jean Hall, director of Institute on Health and Disability Studies, received the distinguished service award from the organization, which is dedicated to improving the quality of life, independence, and inclusion of individuals with disabilities and their families through research.

Jae Kennedy, a professor at Washington State University, lauded Hall's work on the National Survey on Health and Disability (NSHD).  

"Jean’s research findings set the terms for an important policy debate – how to accurately and inclusively measure disability in large health surveys," Kennedy said in the nomination for the award. Kennedy noted that Hall helped influence rejection of a proposal that would have changed the way that people with disabilities are counted by the U.S. Census Bureau.

Kurth was honored with the association's commendation award.  

"Jean Hall, Noelle Kurth, and Darcy Sullivan"
Jean Hall, Noelle Kurth, and Darcy Sullivan

Elizabeth Wood, associate professor at Washington State University, wrote in the nomination that Kurth has been instrumental in the NSHD and as a research partner with Hall.  

"Thanks to her tireless efforts, we are able to answer questions about people with disabilities that have never been answerable before, including crucial questions about people with disabilities who are also members of other health disparity groups." 

Sullivan, who graduated with a doctorate degree from KU last month, received an honorable mention for her poster, "Unmet Healthcare Needs Among People with Pre-Existing Disability and Long COVID: An Exploratory Analysis." 

Hall said that she valued the awards because the honor came from other researchers in the field. 

“NARRTC is a group of researchers who are dedicated to improving the lives of people with disabilities, so the awards were especially meaningful because they came from our colleagues in the disability research community,” Hall said. 

The NARRTC conference was May 21-22, 2024 in Alexandria, Va.