National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)-Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program-Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTCs), 39000-39005 [E8-15503]

Download as PDF 39000 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 131 / Tuesday, July 8, 2008 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Navy Notice of Availability of Finding Department of the Navy, DoD. Notice. AGENCY: ACTION: SUMMARY: Pursuant to Section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1969 and the Council on Environmental Quality regulations (40 CFR parts 1500–1508), implementing procedural provisions of NEPA, and Executive Order (EO) 12114, Environmental Effects Abroad of Major Federal Actions, the Department of the Navy (DON) gives notice that a combined Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI)/Finding of No Significant Harm (FONSH) has been issued and is available for Carrier Strike Group Joint Task Force Exercise (CSG JTFEX) July 2008. DATES: The effective date of the finding is July 2, 2008. ADDRESSES: Electronic copies of the combined FONSI/FONSH are available for public viewing or downloading at http://www.navydocuments.com. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Commander, Second Fleet Public Affairs, Commander Phillips telephone: 757–443–9822 or visit http:// www.navydocuments.com. CSG JTFEX (July 2008) is a major Navy Atlantic Fleet training exercise proposed to occur in July 2008 in the offshore Charleston and Jacksonville Operating Areas (OPAREAs) and adjacent military installations. The purpose of this exercise is to certify naval forces as combat-ready. Activities conducted during the exercise include air-to-ground (ATG) bombing at land ranges, Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR), Maritime Interdiction Operations (MIO), Naval Gunfire using non-explosive ordnance, Fast Attack Craft/Fast Inshore Attack Craft (FAC/ FIAC), and Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW), including use of mid-frequency active (MFA) sonar. The FONSI is based on analysis contained in a Comprehensive Environmental Assessment (EA) addressing environmental impacts associated with land-based training for Major Atlantic Fleet Training Exercises on the East and Gulf Coasts of the U.S. (February 2006). The FONSH is based on analysis contained in a Comprehensive Overseas Environmental Assessment (OEA) (February 2006) and a Supplement to the Comprehensive OEA (SOEA) for environmental impacts ebenthall on PRODPC60 with NOTICES SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:11 Jul 07, 2008 Jkt 214001 associated with Navy’s conduct of major exercise training in offshore operating areas along the East and Gulf Coasts of the U.S. (April 2008). Environmental concerns addressed in the EA included land use, community facilities, coastal zone management, socioeconomics, cultural resources, airspace, air quality, noise, geology, soils, water resources, biological resources, munitions and hazardous materials management, and safety. The EA and OEA addressed potential impacts to the ocean physical environment, fish and Essential Fish Habitat; sea turtles and marine mammals; seabirds and migratory birds; endangered and threatened species; socioeconomics; and cultural resources. The SOEA included an updated analysis of MFA sonar use. This action includes mitigation measures to reduce impacts to a level that is less than significant. In accordance with the Major Atlantic Fleet Training Exercise EA and OEA and the SOEA and the evaluation of the nature, scope and intensity of the proposed action, the Navy finds that the conduct of the CSG JTFEX in July 2008 will not significantly impact or harm the environment and, therefore, an Environmental Impact Statement or Overseas Environmental Impact Statement is not required. Dated: July 1, 2008. T. M. Cruz, Lieutenant Commander, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, U.S. Navy, Federal Register Liaison Officer. [FR Doc. E8–15400 Filed 7–7–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3810–FF–P DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)— Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program— Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTCs) Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education. ACTION: Notice of final priorities for RRTCs. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services announces four priorities for RRTCs under the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program administered by NIDRR. The Assistant Secretary may use one or more of these priorities for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2008 and later years. We take this action to PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 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 7, 2008. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donna Nangle, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 6029, Potomac Center Plaza (PCP), Washington, DC 20202. 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. Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. We published a notice of proposed priorities (NPP) for NIDRR’s RRTC program in the Federal Register on April 28, 2008 (73 FR 22932). The NPP included background statements that described our rationale for the priorities proposed in that notice. There are differences between the NPP and this notice of final priorities (NFP) as discussed in the following section. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Analysis of Comments and Changes In response to our invitation in the NPP, five parties submitted comments on the proposed priorities. An analysis of the comments and of any changes in the priorities since publication of the NPP follows. Generally, we do not address technical and other minor changes, or suggested changes the law does not authorize us to make under the applicable statutory authority. In addition, we do not address comments that raised concerns not directly related to the proposed priorities. General Comments Comment: With regard to priorities 1 through 3, one commenter noted that ‘‘scientifically based research’’ is required only for research activities that require testing interventions. This commenter recommended that all research conducted under these priorities be ‘‘scientifically based.’’ Discussion: NIDRR only requires ‘‘scientifically based research’’ for research activities that involve testing interventions. The definition of ‘‘scientifically based research’’ used in E:\FR\FM\08JYN1.SGM 08JYN1 ebenthall on PRODPC60 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 131 / Tuesday, July 8, 2008 / Notices all of the priorities in this notice emphasizes the use of ‘‘experimental or quasi-experimental designs in which individuals, entities, programs, or activities are assigned to different conditions and with appropriate controls to evaluate the effects of the condition of interest, with a preference for random-assignment experiments’’ (See section 9101(37) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 for the definition of the term ‘‘scientifically based research.’’). NIDRR believes that experimental research designs are appropriate for research that involves testing interventions, but not necessarily for the other research activities to be carried out under these priorities. For example, experimental designs are not generally appropriate or necessary in the initial stages of developing new measures and methods, identifying or developing interventions, or determining the experiences and outcomes of individuals with disabilities who seek to return to work. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter noted that each of the proposed priorities included an incorrect reference for the Department’s definition of the term scientifically based research. Discussion: We agree and will make this change. Changes: In all four priorities, we have changed the reference for the Department’s definition of scientifically based research to section 9101(37) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. Comment: Two commenters recommended that NIDRR remove all references to employment from priorities 1 through 3. One of these commenters noted that NIDRR’s Long Range Plan for fiscal years 2005–2009 (Plan) acknowledges the continued need for research on medical rehabilitation interventions to improve function, as well as health research to improve outcomes such as health and wellness. This commenter suggested that including an employment-related outcome in the priorities that focus primarily on health and function topics will dilute the impact of research carried out under NIDRR’s employment and health and function domains. This commenter also expressed concern that the focus on employment outcomes would preclude research on community participation outcomes and recommended that NIDRR include in each priority a statement from its Plan that acknowledges the importance of health and function among people with disabilities to achieve NIDRR’s mission VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:11 Jul 07, 2008 Jkt 214001 and the goals of employment and community participation. Discussion: NIDRR does not agree with these comments and the associated recommendations. In the Plan, we state: ‘‘While the proposed plan is organized along domains of research [e.g., employment, health and function, participation and community living] for the sake of manageability, it also makes clear that disability is a holistic phenomenon that involves many overlapping and cross-domain issues.’’ (See 71 FR 8166, 8166.) We also note, ‘‘In addition, with respect to those programs for which NIDRR establishes annual priorities—Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTCs), Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers (RERCs), and Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRPs)—NIDRR may require applicants to focus on one or more target populations or issues that cut across domains.’’ We indicate clearly in the Plan that RRTCs are expected to be multidisciplinary—in other words, to combine the strengths and perspectives of researchers from multiple disciplines and areas of expertise. (See 71 FR 8166, 8177.) Therefore, we believe that a focus on employment in priorities 1 through 3 is consistent with the multidisciplinary approach in the Plan. Although a mandatory focus on employment outcomes in these priorities may limit research activities related to outcomes in other domains, NIDRR believes that research involving both the health and function and employment domains will generate knowledge that can be used to improve both medical rehabilitation and vocational rehabilitation (VR) services for individuals with disabilities. NIDRR recognizes that there are many factors likely to affect the relationship between health and functional abilities, on the one hand, and employment outcomes, on the other. Research under these priorities can help provide insight into this relationship so that medical and VR services can be optimized and targeted appropriately. Changes: None. Comment: Referring to priorities 1 through 3, one commenter recommended removing the requirement that the centers recruit research participants from VR populations. The commenter noted that such a requirement would unnecessarily limit study populations, create recruitment barriers, and result in unnecessarily expensive and lengthy studies to demonstrate empirical relationships between health and functional status and employment outcomes. PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 39001 Discussion: Proposed priorities 1 through 3 did not require recruitment of research participants from populations of individuals who are served by State VR programs. The priorities state that the center must conduct research on individuals who are served by the State VR Services program, or who receive rehabilitation services from other sources. Changes: None. Priority 2—Enhancing the Functional and Employment Outcomes of Individuals With Multiple Sclerosis Comment: In reference to language in paragraph (b) of this priority, one commenter noted that research and clinical information indicate that the vast majority of individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS) already live in community settings. The commenter stated that it is important to support research that improves the ability of individuals with MS to participate in the community and suggested that NIDRR revise the priority to reflect that focus. Discussion: We intended to emphasize the need for research to improve employment and community participation outcomes in this priority. We will change the priority to clarify our intent. Changes: In paragraph (b) of this priority, we have clarified that the grantee must examine, among other things, interventions to enhance community participation. Comment: One commenter stated that there is a need for research on strategies and assistive devices that enhance the functional and community participation outcomes among individuals with MS. Discussion: While NIDRR agrees with the commenter that there is a need for research about strategies and assistive devices to enhance the functional and community participation outcomes for individuals with MS, NIDRR does not believe that it is necessary to revise the priority to address this specific need. Applicants under this priority already have flexibility to choose the types of interventions they propose to identify, or to develop and evaluate. Assistive devices are one specific type of intervention that could be examined under this priority. Changes: None. Priority 3—Aging With Physical Disability: Reducing Secondary Conditions and Enhancing Health and Participation, Including Employment Comment: One commenter asked whether applicants under this priority must choose from the list of impairment groups in the second paragraph of the E:\FR\FM\08JYN1.SGM 08JYN1 39002 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 131 / Tuesday, July 8, 2008 / Notices ebenthall on PRODPC60 with NOTICES priority when selecting the groups that will be the focus of their research. Discussion: The short list of impairment groups in the priority provides examples; applicants are not restricted to this list. Applicants are free to select the group or groups that will be the focus of their research. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter asked whether the focus of this priority is exclusively on individuals with disabilities who are 65 years of age or older, or if the focus is also on adults with disabilities in middle age. Discussion: NIDRR does not intend for this center to focus only on individuals with disabilities who are 65 years of age or older. As we describe in the background statement for this priority, NIDRR is interested in the experience of individuals who acquired their disability at birth, childhood, or early adulthood and who are now aging. We will add language to the priority to make this clear. Changes: We have changed the language to clarify that the center funded under this priority must focus its research on individuals with a physical disability, including those who acquired their disability at birth, in childhood, or in early adulthood and who are now aging into middle or late adulthood. Comment: One commenter noted that the prevention of falls among individuals with physical disabilities should be a key research priority. Discussion: NIDRR agrees that the prevention of falls is a topic that is relevant to individuals who are aging with physical disabilities. Applicants are free to propose research on this topic under this priority. Changes: None. Priority 4—Participation and Community Living for Individuals With Psychiatric Disabilities Comment: One commenter requested that NIDRR provide references to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA’s) Best Practices Planning and Implementation Grants program, to facilitate collaboration of the center funded under this priority with this program. Discussion: NIDRR agrees that SAMHSA’s Best Practices Planning and Implementation Grants program may be a potential source of information for, or potential collaborator of, the center funded under this priority. NIDRR typically references in its priorities only those programs or entities with which the grantee is required to collaborate. In this case, NIDRR does not believe it is VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:11 Jul 07, 2008 Jkt 214001 appropriate to require all applicants to propose to collaborate with this SAMHSA program. For this reason, NIDRR declines to reference the SAMHSA program in the text of this priority. Changes: None. Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in which we choose to use these final priorities, we invite applications through a notice in the Federal Register. When inviting applications we designate each priority as absolute, competitive preference, or invitational. 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 either (1) awarding additional points, depending on how well or the extent to which the application meets the competitive preference priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an application that meets the competitive preference 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 invitational priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the invitational priority a competitive or absolute preference over other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)). This notice of final priorities (NFP) is in concert with President George W. Bush’s New Freedom Initiative (NFI) and NIDRR’s Final Long-Range Plan for FY 2005–2009 (Plan). Background information on the NFI can be accessed on the Internet at the following site: http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/ newfreedom. 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 NFI and 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 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. Priorities In this notice, we are announcing four priorities for RRTCs. PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 • Priority 1—Enhancing the Functional and Employment Outcomes of Individuals Who Experience a Stroke. • Priority 2—Enhancing the Functional and Employment Outcomes of Individuals With Multiple Sclerosis. • Priority 3—Aging With Physical Disability: Reducing Secondary Conditions and Enhancing Health and Participation, Including Employment. • Priority 4—Participation and Community Living for Individuals With Psychiatric Disabilities. Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTCs) 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, which was 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/resprogram.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; • Demonstrate in their applications how they will address, in whole or in part, the needs of individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds; • 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. E:\FR\FM\08JYN1.SGM 08JYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 131 / Tuesday, July 8, 2008 / Notices ebenthall on PRODPC60 with NOTICES Priorities Priority 1—Enhancing the Functional and Employment Outcomes of Individuals Who Experience a Stroke The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services announces a priority for a Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Enhancing the Functional and Employment Outcomes of Individuals Who Experience a Stroke. This RRTC must conduct rigorous research, training, technical assistance, and dissemination activities to enhance the functional and employment outcomes of individuals who experience a stroke. In doing so, the RRTC must focus on no more than two of the following dimensions: Improved mobility, secondary conditions (e.g., pain, fatigue), and emotional well-being. Under this priority, the RRTC must be designed to contribute to the following outcomes: (a) Improved outcome measures for use with individuals who experience a stroke. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by identifying or developing and testing methods and measures to assess outcomes in the dimensions that the RRTC chooses to focus on (e.g., mobility, secondary conditions, emotional well-being). (b) Improved medical rehabilitation or community-based rehabilitation interventions for individuals who experience a stroke. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by identifying or developing and testing new rehabilitation interventions that are designed to improve mobility, reduce the onset of secondary conditions, or improve emotional well-being among individuals who experience a stroke. Where possible, the RRTC must use scientifically based research (as this term is defined in section 9101(37) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001) methods to test these interventions. (c) Improved employment outcomes among individuals who experience a stroke. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by conducting research on the experiences and outcomes of individuals who experience a stroke and who seek to return to work. The RRTC’s research must include research on individuals who are served by the State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services program or who receive stroke/neurorehabilitation services from other sources, and must identify neurorehabilitation services that are associated with positive outcomes in the treatment of specific stroke-related impairments and functional limitations VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:11 Jul 07, 2008 Jkt 214001 thereby allowing individuals to return to work. Priority 2—Enhancing the Functional and Employment Outcomes of Individuals With Multiple Sclerosis The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services announces a priority for a Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Enhancing the Functional and Employment Outcomes of Individuals With Multiple Sclerosis. This RRTC must conduct rigorous research, training, technical assistance, and dissemination activities to enhance the functional and employment outcomes of individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS). In doing so, the RRTC must focus on how one or both of the following dimensions affect the employment outcomes of individuals with MS: The prevention or reduction of secondary conditions (e.g., pain, fatigue, depression, cognitive impairment) and improved mobility. Under this priority, the RRTC must be designed to contribute to the following outcomes: (a) Improved outcome measures for use with individuals with MS. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by identifying or developing and testing methods and measures to assess outcomes in the dimensions on which the RRTC chooses to focus. (b) Improved medical rehabilitation or community-based rehabilitation interventions. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by improving the ability of individuals with MS to remain in the workforce and to participate in the community through identifying or developing and testing new rehabilitation interventions. Where possible, the Center must use scientifically based research (as this term is defined in section 9101(37) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001) methods to test these interventions. (c) Improved employment outcomes among individuals with MS. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by conducting research on the experiences and outcomes of individuals with MS who are served by the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VR) program or who receive MS-rehabilitation services from other sources, and by identifying rehabilitation services that are associated with the reduction of specific MS-related symptoms and functional limitations. Research must include investigation of job modifications and accommodations associated with successful employment. PO 00000 Frm 00036 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 39003 Priority 3—Aging With Physical Disability: Reducing Secondary Conditions and Enhancing Health and Participation, Including Employment The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services announces a priority for a Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Aging With Physical Disability: Reducing Secondary Conditions and Enhancing Health and Participation, Including Employment. 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 and used by other researchers. The intended outcome of the RRTC is to enhance community participation, including employment, of individuals aging with long-term physical disabilities by advancing knowledge about the identification, assessment, treatment, and improved management of the secondary conditions likely experienced by individuals aging with a physical disability. Individuals aging with a physical disability include those who acquired their disability at birth, in childhood, or in early adulthood and who are now aging into middle or late adulthood. In addressing this priority, the RRTC must propose a limited number of highquality, cross-disability research projects to address the secondary conditions that are most relevant to the lives of individuals with physical disabilities. To ensure the feasibility of the RRTC’s proposed activities and increase the likelihood of achieving the planned outcomes, the RRTC must focus on two to four discrete impairment groups (e.g., spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, stroke, post-polio) and must limit intervention strategies to no more than two of the following modalities: exercise, health promotion, psychological adaptation, life planning or self-management skills, and environmental or technological supports. Under this priority, the RRTC must be designed to contribute to the following outcomes: (a) Enhanced understanding of the natural course of aging with a physical disability. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by documenting the life trajectories and average age of onset of the major types of secondary conditions experienced by individuals living with long-term physical disabilities in the selected impairment groups, and examining the interrelationships among different types of secondary conditions E:\FR\FM\08JYN1.SGM 08JYN1 39004 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 131 / Tuesday, July 8, 2008 / Notices ebenthall on PRODPC60 with NOTICES and the consequences of variations in timing of onset for health and community participation. (b) Improved tools and measures for use with individuals aging with longterm physical disabilities. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by identifying, developing or modifying, and testing measurement tools that improve the identification and assessment of the major types of secondary conditions affecting individuals in the selected impairment groups, as well as the outcomes of interventions designed to prevent or reduce these conditions. (c) Improved rehabilitation or community-based interventions that enhance the health and participation in work and the community of individuals aging with physical disabilities. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by identifying, developing or modifying, and testing interventions that show promise in preventing the onset of or improving the management and reducing the impact of secondary conditions on individuals in the selected impairment groups. Where possible, the RRTC must use scientifically based research (as this term is defined in section 9101(37) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001) methods to test these interventions. (d) Improved employment outcomes among working-age individuals aging with long-term physical disabilities. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by conducting research on the experiences, including employment outcomes, of individuals aging with long-term physical disabilities in the selected impairment groups who are served by the State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services program or who receive rehabilitation services from other sources, and by identifying specific secondary conditions that require improved and unique VR services and approaches. Priority 4—Participation and Community Living for Individuals With Psychiatric Disabilities The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services announces a priority for a Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Participation and Community Living for Individuals With Psychiatric Disabilities. The RRTC must conduct rigorous research, training, technical assistance, and dissemination activities that contribute to improved community participation and community living outcomes for individuals with psychiatric disabilities. Under this VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:11 Jul 07, 2008 Jkt 214001 priority, the RRTC must be designed to contribute to the following outcomes: (a) Improved individual and system capacity to maximize the participation of individuals with psychiatric disabilities in community life. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by: (1) Generating new knowledge through research on effective strategies to meet the needs of individuals with psychiatric disabilities who are served by centers for independent living and identifying independent living services and service-delivery approaches that meet the unique needs of this population. (2) Increasing the knowledge base and advancing the application of theories, measures, methods, or interventions that facilitate participation and community living of individuals with psychiatric disabilities. In this regard, the RRTC must focus its efforts on at least three of the following areas: Employment, housing, education, health and mental health care, recreation, social relationships, or other public and private sector activities related to community living. If the RRTC engages in testing interventions, the RRTC must use scientifically based research (as this term is defined in section 9101(37) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001) methods. (3) Reducing disparities in service delivery and program development by focusing its work on one or more of the following understudied areas: (i) Emergency preparedness for individuals with psychiatric disabilities; (ii) individuals with psychiatric disabilities from diverse racial, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds; or (iii) individuals with psychiatric disabilities who have co-occurring sensory or physical disabilities. (b) Increased incorporation of mental health research findings into practice or policy. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by coordinating with appropriate NIDRR-funded knowledge translation grantees to advance or add to their work in the following areas: (1) Developing and implementing procedures to evaluate the readiness of mental health research findings for translation into practice. (2) Collaborating with stakeholder groups to develop, evaluate, or implement strategies to increase utilization of mental health research findings. (3) Conducting training, technical assistance, and dissemination activities to increase utilization of mental health research findings. PO 00000 Frm 00037 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Information on knowledge translation projects funded by NIDRR can be found at http://www.naric.com/research/pd/ priority.cfm. Executive Order 12866 This NFP 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 regulatory action. The potential costs associated with this NFP 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 NFP, we have determined that the benefits of the final priorities justify the costs. Summary of Potential Costs and Benefits The benefits of the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Programs have been well established over the years in that similar projects have been completed successfully. These final priorities will generate new knowledge and technologies through research, development, dissemination, utilization, and technical assistance projects. Another benefit of these final priorities is that the establishment of new RRTCs will support the President’s NFI and improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. The new RRTCs will generate, disseminate, and promote the use of new information that will improve employment and community living options for individuals with disabilities. Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350. Electronic Access to This Document You may view this document, as well as all other Department of Education documents 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. E:\FR\FM\08JYN1.SGM 08JYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 131 / Tuesday, July 8, 2008 / Notices (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers 84.133B Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers Program) Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(b)(2). Dated: July 2, 2008. Tracy R. Justesen, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. [FR Doc. E8–15503 Filed 7–7–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000–01–P DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION President’s Board of Advisors (Board), The White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities (WHI/TCU) Meeting The White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities, Department of Education. ACTION: Notice of An Open Meeting. ebenthall on PRODPC60 with NOTICES AGENCY: SUMMARY: This purpose of this notice is to announce an open meeting of the President’s Board of Advisors (Board), The White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities (WHI/TCU) on Tuesday, July 15, 2008, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., at the Navajo Technical College, Lower Point Road, Crownpoint, New Mexico 87313; and, on Wednesday, July 16, 2008, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, 9169 Coors Road, NW., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87184. This notice sets forth the schedule and proposed agenda of the upcoming meeting of the President’s Board of Advisors on Tribal Colleges and Universities. This notice also describes the functions of the Board. Notice of this meeting is required by Section 10(a)(2) of the Federal Advisory Committee Act and is intended to notify the public of its opportunity to attend. DATES AND TIMES: Tuesday, July 15, 2008, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Wednesday, July 16, 2008, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. ADDRESSES: Tuesday, July 15, 2008, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Navajo Technical College, Lower Point Road, Crownpoint, New Mexico 87313; and, on Wednesday, July 16, 2008, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, 9169 Coors Road, NW., Albuquerque, New Mexico 87184. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Anselm Davis, Executive Director, White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities, 1990 K Street, NW., Room 7014, Washington, DC 20006; Telephone: 202–219–7040; Fax: 202–219–7086. Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FRS) at 1–800–877–8339. VerDate Aug<31>2005 15:11 Jul 07, 2008 Jkt 214001 The President’s Board of Advisors on Tribal Colleges and Universities was established under Executive Order 13270, dated July 3, 2002, and Executive Order 13446, dated September 28, 2007. The Board was established: (a) To report to the President annually on the results of the participation of Tribal Colleges and Universities in Federal programs, including recommendations on how to increase the private sector role, including the role of private foundations, in strengthening these institutions, with particular emphasis also given to enhancing institutional planning and development, strengthening fiscal stability and financial management, and improving institutional infrastructure, including the use of technology, to ensure the long-term viability and enhancement of these institutions; (b) to advise the President and the Secretary of Education (Secretary) on the needs of TCUs in the areas of infrastructure, academic programs, and faculty and institutional development; (c) to advise the Secretary in the preparation of a three-year Federal plan for assistance to TCUs in increasing their capacity to participate in Federal programs; (d) to provide the President with an annual progress report on enhancing the capacity of TCUs to serve their students; and (e) to develop, in consultation with the Department of Education and other Federal agencies, a private sector strategy to assist TCUs. The purpose of the meeting is to update and document the Board’s Action Agenda through a review of collaborative efforts, to review the final draft of the Fiscal Year 2006 Report to the President, and to discuss relevant issues to be addressed as the Board pursues opportunities to strengthen capacity of programs at the Tribal Colleges and Universities. Additional Information: Individuals who will need accommodations for a disability in order to attend the meeting (e.g., interpreting services, assistive listening devices, or material in alternative format) should notify Tonya Ewers 1990 K Street, NW., Washington, DC 20006, Telephone: 202–219–7040, no later than July 10, 2008. We will attempt to meet requests for accommodations after this date, but we cannot guarantee their availability. The meeting sites are accessible to individuals with disabilities. An opportunity for public comment is available on Tuesday, July 15, 2008, between 2:15 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. Comments will be limited to five (5) minutes for those who sign up to speak. Those members of the public interested SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: PO 00000 Frm 00038 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 39005 in submitting written comments may do so by submitting them to Tonya Ewers, 1990 K Street, NW., Washington, DC 20006, by Thursday, July 10, 2008. Records are kept of all Board proceedings and are available for public inspection at the Office of the White House Initiative on Tribal Colleges and Universities, U.S. Department of Education, 1990 K Street, NW., Washington, DC 20006, during the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday. Electronic Access to this Document: You may 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/ federegister. 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 at GPO Access at: http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/ index.html. Sara Martinez Tucker, Under Secretary. [FR Doc. E8–15394 Filed 7–7–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000–01–P DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services Overview Information; National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)—Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program—Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTCs); Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 2008 Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Numbers: 84.133B– 7, 84.133B–8, 84.133B–9, and 84.133B– 10. Note: This notice invites applications for four separate competitions. For key dates, contact person information, and funding information regarding each of the four competitions, see the chart in the Award Information section of this notice. DATES: Applications Available: See chart. Date of Pre-Application Meeting: See chart. E:\FR\FM\08JYN1.SGM 08JYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 131 (Tuesday, July 8, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 39000-39005]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-15503]


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research 
(NIDRR)--Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers 
Program--Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTCs)

AGENCY: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, 
Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of final priorities for RRTCs.

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SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services announces four priorities for RRTCs under the 
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program 
administered by NIDRR. The Assistant Secretary may use one or more of 
these priorities for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2008 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 7, 2008.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donna Nangle, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 6029, Potomac Center Plaza 
(PCP), Washington, DC 20202. 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.
    Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an 
alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We published a notice of proposed priorities 
(NPP) for NIDRR's RRTC program in the Federal Register on April 28, 
2008 (73 FR 22932). The NPP included background statements that 
described our rationale for the priorities proposed in that notice.
    There are differences between the NPP and this notice of final 
priorities (NFP) as discussed in the following section.

Analysis of Comments and Changes

    In response to our invitation in the NPP, five parties submitted 
comments on the proposed priorities. An analysis of the comments and of 
any changes in the priorities since publication of the NPP follows.
    Generally, we do not address technical and other minor changes, or 
suggested changes the law does not authorize us to make under the 
applicable statutory authority. In addition, we do not address comments 
that raised concerns not directly related to the proposed priorities.

General Comments

    Comment: With regard to priorities 1 through 3, one commenter noted 
that ``scientifically based research'' is required only for research 
activities that require testing interventions. This commenter 
recommended that all research conducted under these priorities be 
``scientifically based.''
    Discussion: NIDRR only requires ``scientifically based research'' 
for research activities that involve testing interventions. The 
definition of ``scientifically based research'' used in

[[Page 39001]]

all of the priorities in this notice emphasizes the use of 
``experimental or quasi-experimental designs in which individuals, 
entities, programs, or activities are assigned to different conditions 
and with appropriate controls to evaluate the effects of the condition 
of interest, with a preference for random-assignment experiments'' (See 
section 9101(37) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, 
as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 for the definition 
of the term ``scientifically based research.''). NIDRR believes that 
experimental research designs are appropriate for research that 
involves testing interventions, but not necessarily for the other 
research activities to be carried out under these priorities. For 
example, experimental designs are not generally appropriate or 
necessary in the initial stages of developing new measures and methods, 
identifying or developing interventions, or determining the experiences 
and outcomes of individuals with disabilities who seek to return to 
work.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter noted that each of the proposed priorities 
included an incorrect reference for the Department's definition of the 
term scientifically based research.
    Discussion: We agree and will make this change.
    Changes: In all four priorities, we have changed the reference for 
the Department's definition of scientifically based research to section 
9101(37) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as 
amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001.
    Comment: Two commenters recommended that NIDRR remove all 
references to employment from priorities 1 through 3. One of these 
commenters noted that NIDRR's Long Range Plan for fiscal years 2005-
2009 (Plan) acknowledges the continued need for research on medical 
rehabilitation interventions to improve function, as well as health 
research to improve outcomes such as health and wellness. This 
commenter suggested that including an employment-related outcome in the 
priorities that focus primarily on health and function topics will 
dilute the impact of research carried out under NIDRR's employment and 
health and function domains. This commenter also expressed concern that 
the focus on employment outcomes would preclude research on community 
participation outcomes and recommended that NIDRR include in each 
priority a statement from its Plan that acknowledges the importance of 
health and function among people with disabilities to achieve NIDRR's 
mission and the goals of employment and community participation.
    Discussion: NIDRR does not agree with these comments and the 
associated recommendations. In the Plan, we state: ``While the proposed 
plan is organized along domains of research [e.g., employment, health 
and function, participation and community living] for the sake of 
manageability, it also makes clear that disability is a holistic 
phenomenon that involves many overlapping and cross-domain issues.'' 
(See 71 FR 8166, 8166.) We also note, ``In addition, with respect to 
those programs for which NIDRR establishes annual priorities--
Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTCs), Rehabilitation 
Engineering Research Centers (RERCs), and Disability and Rehabilitation 
Research Projects (DRRPs)--NIDRR may require applicants to focus on one 
or more target populations or issues that cut across domains.'' We 
indicate clearly in the Plan that RRTCs are expected to be 
multidisciplinary--in other words, to combine the strengths and 
perspectives of researchers from multiple disciplines and areas of 
expertise. (See 71 FR 8166, 8177.) Therefore, we believe that a focus 
on employment in priorities 1 through 3 is consistent with the 
multidisciplinary approach in the Plan.
    Although a mandatory focus on employment outcomes in these 
priorities may limit research activities related to outcomes in other 
domains, NIDRR believes that research involving both the health and 
function and employment domains will generate knowledge that can be 
used to improve both medical rehabilitation and vocational 
rehabilitation (VR) services for individuals with disabilities. NIDRR 
recognizes that there are many factors likely to affect the 
relationship between health and functional abilities, on the one hand, 
and employment outcomes, on the other. Research under these priorities 
can help provide insight into this relationship so that medical and VR 
services can be optimized and targeted appropriately.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Referring to priorities 1 through 3, one commenter 
recommended removing the requirement that the centers recruit research 
participants from VR populations. The commenter noted that such a 
requirement would unnecessarily limit study populations, create 
recruitment barriers, and result in unnecessarily expensive and lengthy 
studies to demonstrate empirical relationships between health and 
functional status and employment outcomes.
    Discussion: Proposed priorities 1 through 3 did not require 
recruitment of research participants from populations of individuals 
who are served by State VR programs. The priorities state that the 
center must conduct research on individuals who are served by the State 
VR Services program, or who receive rehabilitation services from other 
sources.
    Changes: None.

Priority 2--Enhancing the Functional and Employment Outcomes of 
Individuals With Multiple Sclerosis

    Comment: In reference to language in paragraph (b) of this 
priority, one commenter noted that research and clinical information 
indicate that the vast majority of individuals with multiple sclerosis 
(MS) already live in community settings. The commenter stated that it 
is important to support research that improves the ability of 
individuals with MS to participate in the community and suggested that 
NIDRR revise the priority to reflect that focus.
    Discussion: We intended to emphasize the need for research to 
improve employment and community participation outcomes in this 
priority. We will change the priority to clarify our intent.
    Changes: In paragraph (b) of this priority, we have clarified that 
the grantee must examine, among other things, interventions to enhance 
community participation.
    Comment: One commenter stated that there is a need for research on 
strategies and assistive devices that enhance the functional and 
community participation outcomes among individuals with MS.
    Discussion: While NIDRR agrees with the commenter that there is a 
need for research about strategies and assistive devices to enhance the 
functional and community participation outcomes for individuals with 
MS, NIDRR does not believe that it is necessary to revise the priority 
to address this specific need. Applicants under this priority already 
have flexibility to choose the types of interventions they propose to 
identify, or to develop and evaluate. Assistive devices are one 
specific type of intervention that could be examined under this 
priority.
    Changes: None.

Priority 3--Aging With Physical Disability: Reducing Secondary 
Conditions and Enhancing Health and Participation, Including Employment

    Comment: One commenter asked whether applicants under this priority 
must choose from the list of impairment groups in the second paragraph 
of the

[[Page 39002]]

priority when selecting the groups that will be the focus of their 
research.
    Discussion: The short list of impairment groups in the priority 
provides examples; applicants are not restricted to this list. 
Applicants are free to select the group or groups that will be the 
focus of their research.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter asked whether the focus of this priority is 
exclusively on individuals with disabilities who are 65 years of age or 
older, or if the focus is also on adults with disabilities in middle 
age.
    Discussion: NIDRR does not intend for this center to focus only on 
individuals with disabilities who are 65 years of age or older. As we 
describe in the background statement for this priority, NIDRR is 
interested in the experience of individuals who acquired their 
disability at birth, childhood, or early adulthood and who are now 
aging. We will add language to the priority to make this clear.
    Changes: We have changed the language to clarify that the center 
funded under this priority must focus its research on individuals with 
a physical disability, including those who acquired their disability at 
birth, in childhood, or in early adulthood and who are now aging into 
middle or late adulthood.
    Comment: One commenter noted that the prevention of falls among 
individuals with physical disabilities should be a key research 
priority.
    Discussion: NIDRR agrees that the prevention of falls is a topic 
that is relevant to individuals who are aging with physical 
disabilities. Applicants are free to propose research on this topic 
under this priority.
    Changes: None.

Priority 4--Participation and Community Living for Individuals With 
Psychiatric Disabilities

    Comment: One commenter requested that NIDRR provide references to 
the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's 
(SAMHSA's) Best Practices Planning and Implementation Grants program, 
to facilitate collaboration of the center funded under this priority 
with this program.
    Discussion: NIDRR agrees that SAMHSA's Best Practices Planning and 
Implementation Grants program may be a potential source of information 
for, or potential collaborator of, the center funded under this 
priority. NIDRR typically references in its priorities only those 
programs or entities with which the grantee is required to collaborate. 
In this case, NIDRR does not believe it is appropriate to require all 
applicants to propose to collaborate with this SAMHSA program. For this 
reason, NIDRR declines to reference the SAMHSA program in the text of 
this priority.
    Changes: None.

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use these final priorities, we invite 
applications through a notice in the Federal Register. When inviting 
applications we designate each priority as absolute, competitive 
preference, or invitational. 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 either 
(1) awarding additional points, depending on how well or the extent 
to which the application meets the competitive preference priority 
(34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an application that meets 
the competitive preference 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 invitational 
priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the 
invitational priority a competitive or absolute preference over 
other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).

    This notice of final priorities (NFP) is in concert with President 
George W. Bush's New Freedom Initiative (NFI) and NIDRR's Final Long-
Range Plan for FY 2005-2009 (Plan). Background information on the NFI 
can be accessed on the Internet at the following site: http://
www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/newfreedom.
    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 NFI and 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 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.

Priorities

    In this notice, we are announcing four priorities for RRTCs.
     Priority 1--Enhancing the Functional and Employment 
Outcomes of Individuals Who Experience a Stroke.
     Priority 2--Enhancing the Functional and Employment 
Outcomes of Individuals With Multiple Sclerosis.
     Priority 3--Aging With Physical Disability: Reducing 
Secondary Conditions and Enhancing Health and Participation, Including 
Employment.
     Priority 4--Participation and Community Living for 
Individuals With Psychiatric Disabilities.

Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTCs)

    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, which was 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;
     Demonstrate in their applications how they will address, 
in whole or in part, the needs of individuals with disabilities from 
minority backgrounds;
     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.

[[Page 39003]]

Priorities

Priority 1--Enhancing the Functional and Employment Outcomes of 
Individuals Who Experience a Stroke
    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services announces a priority for a Rehabilitation Research and 
Training Center (RRTC) on Enhancing the Functional and Employment 
Outcomes of Individuals Who Experience a Stroke. This RRTC must conduct 
rigorous research, training, technical assistance, and dissemination 
activities to enhance the functional and employment outcomes of 
individuals who experience a stroke.
    In doing so, the RRTC must focus on no more than two of the 
following dimensions: Improved mobility, secondary conditions (e.g., 
pain, fatigue), and emotional well-being. Under this priority, the RRTC 
must be designed to contribute to the following outcomes:
    (a) Improved outcome measures for use with individuals who 
experience a stroke. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by 
identifying or developing and testing methods and measures to assess 
outcomes in the dimensions that the RRTC chooses to focus on (e.g., 
mobility, secondary conditions, emotional well-being).
    (b) Improved medical rehabilitation or community-based 
rehabilitation interventions for individuals who experience a stroke. 
The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by identifying or developing 
and testing new rehabilitation interventions that are designed to 
improve mobility, reduce the onset of secondary conditions, or improve 
emotional well-being among individuals who experience a stroke. Where 
possible, the RRTC must use scientifically based research (as this term 
is defined in section 9101(37) of the Elementary and Secondary 
Education Act of 1965, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 
2001) methods to test these interventions.
    (c) Improved employment outcomes among individuals who experience a 
stroke. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by conducting research 
on the experiences and outcomes of individuals who experience a stroke 
and who seek to return to work. The RRTC's research must include 
research on individuals who are served by the State Vocational 
Rehabilitation (VR) Services program or who receive stroke/neuro-
rehabilitation services from other sources, and must identify neuro-
rehabilitation services that are associated with positive outcomes in 
the treatment of specific stroke-related impairments and functional 
limitations thereby allowing individuals to return to work.
Priority 2--Enhancing the Functional and Employment Outcomes of 
Individuals With Multiple Sclerosis
    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services announces a priority for a Rehabilitation Research and 
Training Center (RRTC) on Enhancing the Functional and Employment 
Outcomes of Individuals With Multiple Sclerosis. This RRTC must conduct 
rigorous research, training, technical assistance, and dissemination 
activities to enhance the functional and employment outcomes of 
individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS).
    In doing so, the RRTC must focus on how one or both of the 
following dimensions affect the employment outcomes of individuals with 
MS: The prevention or reduction of secondary conditions (e.g., pain, 
fatigue, depression, cognitive impairment) and improved mobility. Under 
this priority, the RRTC must be designed to contribute to the following 
outcomes:
    (a) Improved outcome measures for use with individuals with MS. The 
RRTC must contribute to this outcome by identifying or developing and 
testing methods and measures to assess outcomes in the dimensions on 
which the RRTC chooses to focus.
    (b) Improved medical rehabilitation or community-based 
rehabilitation interventions. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome 
by improving the ability of individuals with MS to remain in the 
workforce and to participate in the community through identifying or 
developing and testing new rehabilitation interventions. Where 
possible, the Center must use scientifically based research (as this 
term is defined in section 9101(37) of the Elementary and Secondary 
Education Act of 1965, as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 
2001) methods to test these interventions.
    (c) Improved employment outcomes among individuals with MS. The 
RRTC must contribute to this outcome by conducting research on the 
experiences and outcomes of individuals with MS who are served by the 
State Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VR) program or who receive 
MS-rehabilitation services from other sources, and by identifying 
rehabilitation services that are associated with the reduction of 
specific MS-related symptoms and functional limitations. Research must 
include investigation of job modifications and accommodations 
associated with successful employment.
Priority 3--Aging With Physical Disability: Reducing Secondary 
Conditions and Enhancing Health and Participation, Including Employment
    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services announces a priority for a Rehabilitation Research and 
Training Center (RRTC) on Aging With Physical Disability: Reducing 
Secondary Conditions and Enhancing Health and Participation, Including 
Employment. 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 and used by 
other researchers. The intended outcome of the RRTC is to enhance 
community participation, including employment, of individuals aging 
with long-term physical disabilities by advancing knowledge about the 
identification, assessment, treatment, and improved management of the 
secondary conditions likely experienced by individuals aging with a 
physical disability. Individuals aging with a physical disability 
include those who acquired their disability at birth, in childhood, or 
in early adulthood and who are now aging into middle or late adulthood.
    In addressing this priority, the RRTC must propose a limited number 
of high-quality, cross-disability research projects to address the 
secondary conditions that are most relevant to the lives of individuals 
with physical disabilities. To ensure the feasibility of the RRTC's 
proposed activities and increase the likelihood of achieving the 
planned outcomes, the RRTC must focus on two to four discrete 
impairment groups (e.g., spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, multiple 
sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, stroke, post-polio) and must limit 
intervention strategies to no more than two of the following 
modalities: exercise, health promotion, psychological adaptation, life 
planning or self-management skills, and environmental or technological 
supports. Under this priority, the RRTC must be designed to contribute 
to the following outcomes:
    (a) Enhanced understanding of the natural course of aging with a 
physical disability. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by 
documenting the life trajectories and average age of onset of the major 
types of secondary conditions experienced by individuals living with 
long-term physical disabilities in the selected impairment groups, and 
examining the interrelationships among different types of secondary 
conditions

[[Page 39004]]

and the consequences of variations in timing of onset for health and 
community participation.
    (b) Improved tools and measures for use with individuals aging with 
long-term physical disabilities. The RRTC must contribute to this 
outcome by identifying, developing or modifying, and testing 
measurement tools that improve the identification and assessment of the 
major types of secondary conditions affecting individuals in the 
selected impairment groups, as well as the outcomes of interventions 
designed to prevent or reduce these conditions.
    (c) Improved rehabilitation or community-based interventions that 
enhance the health and participation in work and the community of 
individuals aging with physical disabilities. The RRTC must contribute 
to this outcome by identifying, developing or modifying, and testing 
interventions that show promise in preventing the onset of or improving 
the management and reducing the impact of secondary conditions on 
individuals in the selected impairment groups. Where possible, the RRTC 
must use scientifically based research (as this term is defined in 
section 9101(37) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, 
as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001) methods to test 
these interventions.
    (d) Improved employment outcomes among working-age individuals 
aging with long-term physical disabilities. The RRTC must contribute to 
this outcome by conducting research on the experiences, including 
employment outcomes, of individuals aging with long-term physical 
disabilities in the selected impairment groups who are served by the 
State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services program or who receive 
rehabilitation services from other sources, and by identifying specific 
secondary conditions that require improved and unique VR services and 
approaches.
Priority 4--Participation and Community Living for Individuals With 
Psychiatric Disabilities
    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services announces a priority for a Rehabilitation Research and 
Training Center (RRTC) on Participation and Community Living for 
Individuals With Psychiatric Disabilities. The RRTC must conduct 
rigorous research, training, technical assistance, and dissemination 
activities that contribute to improved community participation and 
community living outcomes for individuals with psychiatric 
disabilities. Under this priority, the RRTC must be designed to 
contribute to the following outcomes:
    (a) Improved individual and system capacity to maximize the 
participation of individuals with psychiatric disabilities in community 
life. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by:
    (1) Generating new knowledge through research on effective 
strategies to meet the needs of individuals with psychiatric 
disabilities who are served by centers for independent living and 
identifying independent living services and service-delivery approaches 
that meet the unique needs of this population.
    (2) Increasing the knowledge base and advancing the application of 
theories, measures, methods, or interventions that facilitate 
participation and community living of individuals with psychiatric 
disabilities. In this regard, the RRTC must focus its efforts on at 
least three of the following areas: Employment, housing, education, 
health and mental health care, recreation, social relationships, or 
other public and private sector activities related to community living. 
If the RRTC engages in testing interventions, the RRTC must use 
scientifically based research (as this term is defined in section 
9101(37) of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965, as 
amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001) methods.
    (3) Reducing disparities in service delivery and program 
development by focusing its work on one or more of the following 
understudied areas: (i) Emergency preparedness for individuals with 
psychiatric disabilities; (ii) individuals with psychiatric 
disabilities from diverse racial, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds; 
or (iii) individuals with psychiatric disabilities who have co-
occurring sensory or physical disabilities.
    (b) Increased incorporation of mental health research findings into 
practice or policy. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by 
coordinating with appropriate NIDRR-funded knowledge translation 
grantees to advance or add to their work in the following areas:
    (1) Developing and implementing procedures to evaluate the 
readiness of mental health research findings for translation into 
practice.
    (2) Collaborating with stakeholder groups to develop, evaluate, or 
implement strategies to increase utilization of mental health research 
findings.
    (3) Conducting training, technical assistance, and dissemination 
activities to increase utilization of mental health research findings.
    Information on knowledge translation projects funded by NIDRR can 
be found at http://www.naric.com/research/pd/priority.cfm.

Executive Order 12866

    This NFP 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 regulatory action.
    The potential costs associated with this NFP 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 NFP, we have determined that the benefits of 
the final priorities justify the costs.

Summary of Potential Costs and Benefits

    The benefits of the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects 
and Centers Programs have been well established over the years in that 
similar projects have been completed successfully. These final 
priorities will generate new knowledge and technologies through 
research, development, dissemination, utilization, and technical 
assistance projects.
    Another benefit of these final priorities is that the establishment 
of new RRTCs will support the President's NFI and improve the lives of 
individuals with disabilities. The new RRTCs will generate, 
disseminate, and promote the use of new information that will improve 
employment and community living options for individuals with 
disabilities.
    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350.

Electronic Access to This Document

    You may view this document, as well as all other Department of 
Education documents 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.



[[Page 39005]]


(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers 84.133B 
Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers Program)

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

    Dated: July 2, 2008.
Tracy R. Justesen,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. E8-15503 Filed 7-7-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P