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Human Development Institute

University Center for
Excellence in Disabilities

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HDI Spotlight on Malachy Bishop

Published: July 17, 2019

HDI means very much to me. I am honored to have been a part of HDI. It is a place of opportunity, where very committed and hard-working people are supported in pursuing creative and effective approaches to fulfilling a challenging and very important mission.

—Malachy Bishop, Ph.D., CRC, Norman L. and Barbara M. Berven Professor of Rehabilitation Psychology in the Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education at UW Madison & Past HDI Director of Research and Development

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Mary Howard, woman with curly brown hair smiling at the camera

50th Anniversary Spotlight on Mary Howard

Published: July 12, 2019

I love that we have such strong early childhood services at HDI. HDI emphasizes the importance of supporting all young children to help them grow into healthy, happy adults that lead productive lives. To me the cradle to grave services at HDI exemplify the idea that people are more alike than different and that we all are working to be the best version of ourselves. —Mary Howard, Research and Development Associate; Director Child Care Aware

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HDI 50th Anniversary Spotlight on Jacqui Kearns

Published: July 8, 2019

HDI was an opportunity to build strengths, gifts, and abilities to accomplish some important goals – to share knowledge and expertise, and to learn from the best teachers.
—Jacqui Kearns, HDI Project Director – Principal Investigator TAALC, TIES, SPEAC-IT

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Research Brief Spring 2019

Published: June 29, 2019

Preliminary examination of return to work interests among unemployed individuals with multiple sclerosis

by Rongxiu Wu, Amanda Corbin, Penina Goldstein, Chithra Adams, Phillip Rumrill, Malachy Bishop & Kathy Sheppard-Jones

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the most common neurological disorders in the world, and it is increasing in incidence and prevalence in the United States.  Murray (2016) reported that MS is the most common non-traumatic neurological disease of young adults in the world.  It affects as many as 2.3 million people across the globe (NMSS, 2018a). The prevalence of MS in the US is estimated at 450,000 (Multiple Sclerosis Coalition, 2015).Research Brief Spring 2019Read More…



Morgan Turner and Megan Jasperson teaching a class.

HDI’s University Lecture Series

Published: June 25, 2019

The Human Development Institute (HDI) is pleased to present the 2019 University Lecture Series. The catalog of 35 presentations include one-hour lectures, panels and seminar style offerings. Topics include foundational lectures on disability, development, advocacy, employment, education, community living, health, assistive technology and universal design. Presenters are self-advocates with disabilities, family members of people with disabilities, and other interdisciplinary experts.

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Kentucky Workforce Landscape Holds Promise for People with Disabilities

Published: June 21, 2019

Employment is an expectation. Passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 furthered that expectation for people with disabilities across the country. In Kentucky, the last few years have brought added impetus through several notable employment initiatives. In 2017, the Kentucky Work Matters Task Force was convened to create responses to barriers for populations that include people with disabilities. Results of Kentucky Work Matters efforts included the Governor signing an executive order, making Kentucky an Employment First state in 2018.

Employment First means that if a person with a disability wants to work, employment shall be the first and preferred option. While the notion of Employment First is simple, carrying out the mandate in the Commonwealth will be challenging. A newly formed Kentuckyworks Collaborative, consisting of a cross section of leaders from business, education and state government are working to carry out a state strategic plan that will promote workforce development, enhance employer engagement, provide lifelong learning for Kentuckians, and align existing resources and organizations. Many elements of the Employment First executive order are also found in the objectives of the Collaborative.

Kathy Sheppard-Jones, Executive Director of the University of Kentucky’s Human Development Institute explains, “In our society, we largely define who we are by the work that we do, regardless of whether we have a disability or not. We have an opportunity right now to build collaboration around employment to create a stronger workforce that is inclusive of all people.”

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HDI 50th Anniversary Spotlight on Stephanie Meredith

Published: June 20, 2019

What I love most about HDI is the culture cultivated by Dr. Harold Kleinert and nourished by so many other great leaders here—to be kind and nurture partnerships while also taking a stand and sometimes taking risks to make sure we are addressing the most pressing needs for people with disabilities and their families. I will forever be grateful to Harold and HDI for taking a risk and being willing to support our prenatal project and give it a home because it was the right thing to do … even when we had almost no funding. That kind of vision and commitment to helping families is rare and wonderful in an organization as expansive as HDI.   —Stephanie Meredith, Information Services Director, KentuckyWorks Staff, and Program Director HDI National Center for Prenatal and Postnatal Resources

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Available Now! Comic Book Featuring People with Disabilities Achieving Health Goals

Published: June 18, 2019

As a way to help motivate and inspire people, I created the comic book DDMC Man, in which the hero has Ataxia, much like me to show that not all heroes have to have superpowers, but that a strong will and desire can defeat any stumbling block.” —Michael Carter, DDMC Man Creator

Disability Don’t Mean Can’t #2: Busting Down Barriers is a comic about real people overcoming real obstacles. This story shows that no matter the barrier, we can become empowered to achieve our health goals. This comic book is easy to read in a fun format, and features four real youth with disabilities. They learn that through being a strong self-advocate or asking/looking for resources and support they can successfully achieve their goals.Available Now! Comic Book Featuring People with Disabilities Achieving Health GoalsRead More…



Man smiling at camera, Mark Leach

HDI 50th Anniversary Spotlight on Mark Leach

Published: June 14, 2019

Being university-based, HDI has a credibility with policymakers and elected officials that is needed. So often, much of the work done on behalf of those with disabilities is by non-profits, which unfairly are not given the same amount of respect. HDI’s gravitas helps ensure the significance of programs that include those with disabilities is understood and maintained with those in positions of influence. —Mark Leach, Bioethics Specialist, HDI National Center for Prenatal and Postnatal Resources

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HDI 50th Anniversary Spotlight on Harold Kleinert

Published: June 5, 2019

I was absolutely blessed to have had the opportunity to work at HDI.  I cannot imagine a better organizational mission than that of HDI for what I had hoped for my own career  – to work with leaders in the field at both the state and national levels; to partner with families, self-advocates, teachers, and other professionals on the front lines of quality services;  and to have had the chance to have taught a wonderful set of students here at UK. —Harold Kleinert, HDI Director Emeritus

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