During this 5-year project, currently in Year 2, SEDL/AIR staff will develop a protocol staff at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (MDA) will use to screen individuals with cancer for their need for referral to disability-related programs and services. SEDL/AIR will evaluate the impact of this tool on the volume of referrals MDA makes to Texas state vocational rehabilitation services and the client, the Southwest ADA Center (SWADA), housed within the Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU) program of TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital, and the impact on employment-related outcomes of those referred.
The SWADA proposes to leverage previous NIDILRR-funded research in its proposal of a mixed-methods pilot study to develop, implement and evaluate a tool clinicians can use to screen patients for VR. The study will measure process-oriented outcomes regarding development and implementation of the tool, targeted awareness-outcomes at the individual patient level, and the distal employment outcomes. Methods include a scoping review, input from targeted tool users, bi-monthly check-ins of implementation fidelity during the intervention, and surveys of patients at baseline enrollment with a 12-month follow-up. If possible, SEDL/AIR staff will triangulate the survey data regarding employment outcomes with VR administrative data regarding volume of MDACC referrals, service provision and outcomes. SEDL/AIR will also establish an Advisory Board to guide this initiative and coordinate its quarterly teleconferences, and collaborate with SWADA and MDA colleagues to disseminate findings via a conference presentation at the ADA National Network's State of the Science conference, and a journal publication.