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Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation awarded $2.5 million grant

SAR center to promote the use of rehabilitation research

Maraianne Farkas, director of the training division and the international division at the Sargent College Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation

The Sargent College Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation (CPR) last month began work to promote the use of rehabilitation research with a $2.5 million, five-year grant from the Department of Education (DOE).

The Knowledge Dissemination and Utilization grant, funded by the DOE’s National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), will enable the center to develop a set of standards allowing end-users in the rehabilitation field — including consumers, family members, and service providers — to make informed choices about the plethora of available research.

CPR will determine standards for assessing the quality of research by using consensus panels and a forum made up of stakeholders in the field of disability, NIDRR staff, and professional organizations.

The project will ultimately develop a set of dissemination products, which will be available on a Web site titled The Right to Know by the fall of 2008, according to Marianne Farkas, the director of the training division and international division at CPR and the grant’s co–principal investigator.

“What we’re doing in this project is creating an intermediary between end-users in the field and the research community,” says Farkas, a SAR research associate professor of rehabilitation sciences. “The set of standards we’re creating will rate the research information along two dimensions. The first is how rigorous is it, and the second is how relevant is it to the constituencies.”

The standards will be developed for applicability initially for the psychiatric disability field and then tested for applicability in the physical disability fields of spinal cord injuries and multiple sclerosis.

The other co–principal investigator of the grant is E. Sally Rogers, a SAR research associate professor of rehabilitation counseling and CPR’s director of research.

Founded in 1979, CPR was one of the first centers in the world to research recovery from serious mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. In addition to conducting leading research, the center provides training in life and work skills to people with psychiatric disabilities, with the aim of helping them take charge of their lives.