Skip to Content

Notice

National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)-Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program-Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTCs) Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.133B.

Document Details

Information about this document as published in the Federal Register.

Published Document

This document has been published in the Federal Register. Use the PDF linked in the document sidebar for the official electronic format.

Start Preamble

AGENCY:

Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), Department of Education.

ACTION:

Notice of final priorities.

SUMMARY:

The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services announces two priorities under the RRTC program administered by NIDRR. The Assistant Secretary may use one or both of these priorities for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2009 and later years. We take this action to focus research attention on areas of national need. We intend these priorities to improve rehabilitation services and outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

DATES:

Effective Date: These priorities are effective August 20, 2009.

Start Further Info

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Donna Nangle, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 6029, Potomac Center Plaza (PCP), Washington, DC 20202-2700. Telephone: (202) 245-7462 or by e-mail: donna.nangle@ed.gov.

If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

End Further Info End Preamble Start Supplemental Information

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

This notice of final priorities is in concert with NIDRR's Final Long-Range Plan for FY 2005-2009 (Plan). The Plan, which was published in the Federal Register on February 15, 2006 (71 FR 8165), can be accessed on the Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/​about/​offices/​list/​osers/​nidrr/​policy.html.

Through the implementation of the Plan, NIDRR seeks to: (1) Improve the quality and utility of disability and rehabilitation research; (2) foster an exchange of expertise, information, and training to facilitate the advancement of knowledge and understanding of the unique needs of traditionally underserved populations; (3) determine Start Printed Page 35859what are the best strategies and programs to improve rehabilitation outcomes for underserved populations; (4) identify research gaps; (5) identify mechanisms of integrating research and practice; and (6) disseminate findings.

Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program is to plan and conduct research, demonstration projects, training, and related activities, including international activities, to develop methods, procedures, and rehabilitation technology, that maximize the full inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living, family support, and economic and social self-sufficiency of individuals with disabilities, especially individuals with the most severe disabilities, and to improve the effectiveness of services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

RRTC Program

The purpose of the RRTC program is to improve the effectiveness of services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, through advanced research, training, technical assistance, and dissemination activities in general problem areas, as specified by NIDRR. Such activities are designed to benefit rehabilitation service providers, individuals with disabilities, and the family members or other authorized representatives of individuals with disabilities. In addition, NIDRR intends to require all RRTC applicants to meet the requirements of the General Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTC) Requirements priority that it published in a notice of final priorities in the Federal Register on February 1, 2008 (73 FR 6132). Additional information on the RRTC program can be found at: http://www.ed.gov/​rschstat/​research/​pubs/​res-program.html#RRTC.

Statutory and Regulatory Requirements of RRTCs

RRTCs must—

  • Carry out coordinated advanced programs of rehabilitation research;
  • Provide training, including graduate, pre-service, and in-service training, to help rehabilitation personnel more effectively provide rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities;
  • Provide technical assistance to individuals with disabilities, their representatives, providers, and other interested parties;
  • Disseminate informational materials to individuals with disabilities, their representatives, providers, and other interested parties; and
  • Serve as centers of national excellence in rehabilitation research for individuals with disabilities, their representatives, providers, and other interested parties.

Applicants for RRTC grants must also demonstrate in their applications how they will address, in whole or in part, the needs of individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds.

Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(b)(2).

Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350.

We published a notice of proposed priorities (NPP) for NIDRR's Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program in the Federal Register on August 31, 2007 (72 FR 50516). The NPP included a background statement that described our rationale for each priority proposed in that notice, including the two priorities announced in this notice.

There are no differences between the two final priorities announced in this notice and the version of these priorities proposed in the NPP.

Public Comment: In response to our invitation in the NPP, 90 parties submitted comments on the proposed priorities. Because none of these comments involved the two priorities announced in this notice, we do not address any comments here. (In a notice of final priorities, published in the Federal Register on February 1, 2008 (73 FR 6132), the Department responded to all comments on priorities from the NPP that were included in that February 1, 2008 notice.)

Final Priorities:

Priority 1—Enhancing the Health and Wellness of Individuals With Neuromuscular Diseases.

The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services establishes a priority for a Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Enhancing the Health and Wellness of Persons with Neuromuscular Diseases (NMDs). This RRTC must conduct rigorous research, training, technical assistance, and dissemination activities to improve rehabilitation outcome measures and rehabilitation interventions that can be applied in clinical or community-based settings.

In doing so, the RRTC must focus on no more than two of the following dimensions: Prevention or reduction of secondary conditions (e.g., pain, fatigue, muscle weakness, associated sleep disorders, metabolic complications); improved mobility; emotional well-being; and access to community-based health promotion services and programs (e.g., fitness, recreation, and nutrition). Under this priority, the RRTC must be designed to contribute to the following outcomes:

(a) Improved outcome measures for use with individuals with NMDs. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by identifying or developing and testing methods and measures to assess health and rehabilitation outcomes, participation in community-based programs, or both.

(b) Improved medical rehabilitation or community-based rehabilitation interventions. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by identifying or developing and testing new rehabilitation interventions, replicating promising practices or programs, or both.

Priority 2—Enhancing the Health and Wellness of Individuals With Arthritis.

The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services establishes a priority for a Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Enhancing the Health and Wellness of Individuals with Arthritis. This RRTC must conduct rigorous research, training, technical assistance, and dissemination activities to improve rehabilitation outcome measures and rehabilitation interventions that can be applied in clinical or community-based settings.

In doing so, the RRTC must focus on no more than two of the following dimensions: Prevention or reduction of secondary conditions (e.g., pain, fatigue, depression); improved mobility; emotional well-being; and access to community-based health promotion services and programs (e.g., fitness, recreation, and nutrition). Under this priority, the RRTC must be designed to contribute to the following outcomes:

(a) Improved outcome measures for use with persons with arthritis. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by identifying or developing and testing methods and measures to assess health and rehabilitation outcomes, participation in community-based programs, or both.

(b) Improved medical rehabilitation or community-based rehabilitation interventions. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by identifying or developing and testing new rehabilitation interventions, replicating promising practices or programs, or both.

Types of Priorities:

When inviting applications for a competition using one or more priorities, we designate the type of each priority as absolute, competitive preference, or invitational through a Start Printed Page 35860notice in the Federal Register. The effect of each type of priority follows:

Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).

Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference priority, we give competitive preference to an application by (1) awarding additional points, depending on the extent to which the application meets the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an application that meets the priority over an application of comparable merit that does not meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(ii)).

Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are particularly interested in applications that meet the priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the priority a preference over other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).

This notice does not preclude us from proposing additional priorities, requirements, definitions, or selection criteria, subject to meeting applicable rulemaking requirements.

Note:

This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in which we choose to use these priorities, we invite applications through a notice in the Federal Register.

Executive Order 12866: This notice has been reviewed in accordance with Executive Order 12866. Under the terms of the order, we have assessed the potential costs and benefits of this final regulatory action.

The potential costs associated with this final regulatory action are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have determined as necessary for administering this program effectively and efficiently.

In assessing the potential costs and benefits—both quantitative and qualitative—of this final regulatory action, we have determined that the benefits of the final priorities justify the costs.

We have determined, also, that this final regulatory action does not unduly interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the exercise of their governmental functions.

Summary of potential costs and benefits:

The benefits of the RRTC program have been well-established over the years in that other RRTC projects have been completed successfully. The priorities announced in this notice will generate new knowledge through research and development activities.

Another benefit of these final priorities is that establishing new RRTCs will improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. These new RRTCs will generate, disseminate, and promote the use of new information that will improve the options for individuals with disabilities to achieve improved education, employment, and independent living outcomes.

Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) by contacting the Grants and Contracts Services Team, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 5075, PCP, Washington, DC 20202-2550. Telephone: (202) 245-7363. If you use a TDD, call the FRS, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

Electronic Access to This Document: You can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/​news/​fedregister.

To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512-1530.

Note:

The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available on GPO Access at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/​nara/​index.html.

Delegation of Authority: The Secretary of Education has delegated authority to Andrew J. Pepin, Executive Administrator for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, to perform the functions of the Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

Start Signature

Dated: July 15, 2009.

Andrew J. Pepin,

Executive Administrator for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.

End Signature End Supplemental Information

[FR Doc. E9-17233 Filed 7-20-09; 8:45 am]

BILLING CODE 4000-01-P