BOX 11-1

General Priorities for Rehabilitation Science and Engineering

As the field of rehabilitation science and engineering continues to evolve and gain recognition as an academic and scientific field of study, there are three general priorities that will and should be of fundamental importance to its growth and to the ultimate improvement of health, productivity, and quality of life for people with disabling conditions

  • 1.  

    Strengthen the science. Develop and validate accurate tools for measuring and predicting functional limitations, disability, and outcomes.

  • 2.  

    Focus on the enabling-disabling process. Investigate critical factors in the physical, social, and psychological environments that can affect transitions in the enabling-disabling process over the lifecourse.

  • 3.  

    Transfer the technology. Develop and implement effective linkages between research and practice that will involve consumers, assure quality, and enhance service delivery.

tion, and the Interagency Committee on Disability Research's lack of real authority An important example of the former is the need for improved peer review processes that are unobtainable in the present administrative location

For the purpose of improving the overall federal effort and addressing the priorities described in the second overarching recommendation, the committee restates Recommendation 10.1 as the third overarching recommendation since its implementation has such broad potential impact and significance

Overarching Recommendation 3. The committee recommends that the NIDRR program of activities and its annual appropriation of approximately $70 million should be moved from the U.S. Department of Education to DHHS and serve as the foundation for the creation of a new Agency on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (ADRR). ADRR would assume the tasks that were formerly assigned to the Interagency Committee on Disability Research and be given enhanced authority through review of disability and rehabilitation research plans and control of funding for interagency collaboration. To further support and enhance the overall federal effort, all major programs in disability and rehabilitation research should be elevated within their respective agencies or departments. (Recommendation 10.1)

In keeping with the committee's task of making recommendations within differing levels of fiscal expenditure, Chapter 10 presents guidance on how funds could be distributed in a configuration of programs

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