NIDILRR Disability Research Fellow - PostDoc
University of Florida
Gainesville, Florida – United States
A. Personal Statement
As a post-doctoral disability research fellow of University of Florida’s National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), at the North Florida/South Georgia (NF/SG) Center for Innovation on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (CINDRR) at Gainesville, FL, I continue to conduct research that focuses on the community reintegration (i.e., return to school and return to work) and diversity in outcomes of vulnerable populations, specifically individuals with disabilities. My current research focuses on return to school and work for individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI). Other research focus includes the examination of the psychometric properties of measurement instruments in persons with TBI. My other research interests include utilization of community-based vocational and independent living supports for individuals with disabilities and their families. Currently, I hold certification as a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC). Prior to my current post-doc position, I worked with Capitol City Rehabilitation Group (vocational consultant to Veteran Benefits Administration). I administered vocational testing, provided individualized career exploration, planning, and career guidance to both returning active duty service members and Veterans with disabilities who are in transition, and pursuing return to civilian work. I have conducted independent living assessments, evaluations, and job site evaluation assessments for Veterans with disabilities. I have also provided written reports to VBA vocational rehabilitation counselors that included recommendations of appropriate assistive devices to support Veteran’s ability to continue to live independently in their homes and/or maintain existing civilian jobs. Currently, I am serving as a Principal Investigator on one study that is using the civilian TBI model System Dataset to examine return to school outcomes after TBI. In the proposed RR&D Access-Vets project, I will work as a contributed Co-Investigator. I will provide expertise in the area of employment measures, participate in team meetings, interpretation of data results, and assist with manuscript preparation.
B. Positions and Honors
2011 Vocational Rehabilitation Intern, Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services, Austin, TX
2012 – 2013 Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Capitol City Rehabilitation Group, Austin, TX
2014 – 2015 Certified Vocational Rehabilitation Consultant, Capitol City Rehabilitation Group, Austin, TX
2016 – 2018 Lecturer, University of Texas at Austin. Steve Hicks School of Social Work, Austin, TX
2016 – 2018 Project Manager/Program Coordinator, Graduate Portfolio in Disability Studies, Texas
Center for Disability Studies, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
2018 - Research Associate, Center of Innovation on Disability & Rehabilitation Research, NF/SG Veteran Health System, Gainesville, FL
2018 - Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, University of Florida, Department of Occupational Therapy, Gainesville, FL
2010 - 2013 RSA Graduate Scholar, United States Department of Education
2014 M. B. Moran Endowed Presidential Scholarship in Education Award, University of Texas at Austin
2015 Connor R&P Endowed Scholarship Award, University of Texas at Austin
2015 Graduate School Summer Fellowship Award, University of Texas at Austin
2018 Faculty Recognition Award, Division of Diversity and Community Engagement, University of
Texas at Austin
Other Experience and Professional Memberships
2012 – 2014 Board Member, Texas Rehabilitation Association (TRA)
2012 - Member, National Rehabilitation Association
2016 - Member, National Council on Rehabilitation Education (NCRE)
2016 - Member, Grant Professionals Association
2019 - Board Member at Large, Florida Rehabilitation Association (FRA)
C. Contributions to Science
My publications include examination of the predictors of competitive employment outcomes for individuals with TBI who received vocational rehabilitation (VR) services through the state-federal VR program. There is paucity of research that examines the unique and potentially moderating effects of race/ethnicity and psychiatric disabilities on employment outcomes of persons with TBI. Research on racial/ethnic variation in employment is critical for improving VR policy and practice. This study showed that on-the-job support, job placement, and on-the-job training are the most beneficial VR services to individuals with TBI. Both race/ethnicity and substance use disorder moderated the effects of other VR service variables (e.g. supported and college training) on employment outcomes. This work has contributed to the understanding of the demographic and disability-related barriers to successful employment. I served as a Primary Investigator on the study related to the accepted manuscript below:
Ahonle, Z. J., Barnes, M., Romero, S., Sorrells, A. & Brooks, G. I. (accepted). Vocational Rehabilitation in Traumatic Brain Injury: What predictors are associated with successful employment outcomes? Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin.
D. Additional Information: Research Support and/or Scholastic Performance
National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Romero (PI)
10/01/2014 - 09/30/2020
Title: Postdoctoral Disability Research Training Program
The purpose of the University of Florida Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training Program in Community Living and Participation (developed in partnership with the Veterans Health Administration policy research center) is to train postdoctoral fellows to conduct high-quality multidisciplinary disability policy research in the area of community living and participation for Veterans with disabilities.
Role: Post-Doc Research Fellow
NF/SGVHS Research Service Pilot Funding Initiative Romero (PI) 10/01/2018 – 09/30/2019
Title: Development and Preliminary Testing an Annie Protocol to Deliver NIH-PROMIS Measures
The purpose of this research is to incorporate PROMIS measures into VA clinical practice using text-based technology called “Annie” – which promotes self-care for Veterans. Annie is a computerized system that sends users personalized text messages based on automated protocols on either a smartphone or basic cell phone. For this pilot we want to test the feasibility of using this technology to deliver outcome measures (e.g. PROMIS pain interference scale measure) to Veterans.
Role: Co- Investigator
VA Office of Rural Health (ORH 7383) Jia (PI) 10/01/2016 – 09/30/2019
Title: Health and Independent Living (HAIL) for Rural Veterans with Disabilities
The goal of this project is to improve health, independent living skills and community engagement of rural Veterans with disabilities by leveraging existing non-VA resources in their communities.
NF/SG VHS CINDRR-GNV Funding Initiative Semeah (PI) 03/15/2015 – 09/30/2019
Title: Home Improvements and Structural Alterations (HISA) Benefits Program: A Retrospective Study
The goal of this project is to describe the national level HISA utilization patterns and provide a description of awardees.
Vocational Rehabilitation as a Public Health Intervention for Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury.(713920)
Thursday, November 7
12:40 PM – 1:25 PM