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Lurie Institute receives $4.375 million grant, establishes Community Living Policy Center

The Lurie Institute for Disability Policy received a $4.375 million grant from the National Institute of Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) on Oct. 1—the largest grant ever received since the Lurie Institute was founded in 2007.

Dr. Monika Mitra, the director of The Lurie Institute for Disability Policy, will be leading the new Community Living Policy Center (CLPC) within the institute which was established by the grant, according to an article released by The Heller School.

Mitra is a Principal Investigator (P.I.) with Lurie Institute senior scientist, Joe Caldwell, and University of California San Francisco professor, Dr. Steve Kaye. Even though both of them are working on the project, CLPC will reside at Brandeis.

Prior to coming to Brandeis, Mitra was an associate professor in the Department of Family Medicine at University of Massachusetts Medical School and a senior program director for the Disability, Health and Employment Policy Unit and the Center for Health Policy and Research, said Mitra in an email to The Brandeis Hoot.

Mitra has been researching about the healthcare experiences and health outcomes of people with disabilities for over 20 years. “I am currently most interested in sexual and reproductive health of women with disabilities, violence victimization against those with disabilities, and disability-related disparities in health and access to care,” explain Mitra.

CLPC received the 4.375 million grant from the NIDILRR after a rigorous application process. “Our goal of the center is to improve policies and practices that promote community living outcomes for people with disabilities in the United States,” explained Mitra. “Institutional biases within programs, a severe lack of access to home and community based services, and other systemic biases often prevent people with disabilities from successfully living in the community.”

Mitra further explained that nearly half of individuals that need long-term services and supports (LTSS) are under the age of 65, and this number is projected to significantly increase with the aging of the Baby Boomer generation. “The CLPC will examine barriers and facilitators to services and provide rapid analysis of community living policies and programs as they evolve,” said Mitra in an email to The Hoot.

“State Medicaid programs provide the bulk of paid LTSS in the United States, and we are particularly interested in what happens when states shift their LTSS programs into a managed care framework,” said Kaye in the article released by the Heller school. “We’ll also study innovative models of care coordination, and we’ll monitor the way states regulate service settings to avoid unnecessary segregation and isolation.”

The importance of center and disability policy relays in the fact that LTSS is extremely expensive and individuals who utilize these services will significantly benefit from better policies and practices. “People with disabilities and older adults want to age with dignity and respect,” said Mitra. “However, the current long-term services and supports system in the United States forces individuals to impoverish themselves before they can receive long-term care services from Medicaid.”

The Lurie Institute for Disability Policy is a part of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management. “The Lurie Institute is dedicated to innovative research and training initiatives that promote effective policies to improve the health and well-being of people with disabilities and their families across the lifespan,” said Mitra in an email to The Hoot. “Using a collaborative and participatory approach…the Lurie Institute’s research addresses many critical issues facing people with disabilities and their families including poverty, unemployment, inequitable access to and quality of care.”

The institute was founded in 2007 by the Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation and are funded by various federal grants.

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