RRTC Training & Technical Assistance Projects

As part of its work as a Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, under grants from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR), the Temple University Collaborative undertakes a wide-ranging series of training and dissemination initiatives designed to provide policy makers and agency executives, practitioners and consumers, community members and others with the findings from emerging community inclusion research, through training and consultation services.

These programs are part of a broad commitment to ‘knowledge translation’ – that is, to translating the knowledge that emerges from current research in the field into practical policies, programs, and policies that support local programs as they transform their services and supports to ones that better promote full community participation for individuals with mental illnesses.

You can explore our current and past training and technical assistance activities by clicking on one or more of the three five-year grant cycles of activity listed below:

The 2017 Summer Institute on Community Inclusion

The July 2017 Summer Institute on Community Inclusion – at Philadelphia’s Temple campus, provided an opportunity for Temple University Collaborative researchers to share their emerging research findings and highlight practical implications for each, while providing ample opportunities for others to share their growing expertise as well.  Click here for more information on the conference


Behavioral Health Managed Care Organizations: Important Partnerships in Promoting Community Inclusion

A panel of behavioral managed care company executives, this project explored strategies and resources that BHMCO’s could utilize to promote and measure community inclusion initiatives at policy and program levels. Two monographs were developed and disseminated nationally, and were the focus of a national webinar, all in collaboration with Mental Health America.

Community Inclusion from the Perspective of Caregivers

Mental Health America and the Temple University Collaborative surveyed caregivers of individuals with mental health conditions to learn more about their perspectives on the degree of community inclusion experienced by their loved ones, and learned as well about the sense of exclusion from community life experienced by caregivers themselves, resulting in a ground-breaking report and national webinar.

The Roles of Peer Specialists in Promoting Community Inclusion 

The Temple University Collaborative has worked closely with partners at the National Mental Health Consumer Self-Help Clearinghouse to help define the roles peer specialists can play in promoting community inclusion. Projects have defined new roles for peer specialists in connecting people to religious congregations, in helping people with criminal justice backgrounds adjust to community life, and in assisting people to prepare for and respond to natural disasters.

Sexuality and Intimacy 

Based on a national survey of mental health professionals and a review of the literature, this project sought a better understanding of the needs of those with mental illness to establish healthy intimate and sexual lives, developing a training toolkit to assist direct service staff in using Motivational Interviewing techniques to open and pursue previously taboo topics


Welcoming Work Environments: In Mental Health Agencies

The Temple University Collaborative staff reviewed the literature on the experiences of individuals with mental illnesses working within mental health agencies, and developed an extensive series of recommendations for mental health providers to encourage them to create and sustain welcoming work settings within their own agencies

Welcoming Work Environments: In Academic Settings

The Temple University Collaborative focused on the experiences of faculty and staff in colleges and universities around the country – with a literature review and new survey initiative – to develop recommendations for academic leaders that can assist them in creating welcoming work environments not just for their students with mental illnesses, but for faculty and staff as well.

Promoting Community Inclusion: Opportunities for County Mental Health Programs

This project is still underway, and reviews the recommendations of county mental health administrators with regard to the policy and program options available to them when they begin to promote community inclusion options at the local level.

Leisure and Recreation Activities as Pathways to Community Inclusion

The Temple University Collaborative faculty have sponsored and staff a range of programs that focus on the importance of leisure and recreation activities as one avenue toward greater participation in community life, including activity fairs both in the university and within community settings, interactive ‘raising awareness’ tables at the Smithsonian’s Festival ADA, and a survey of individuals with mental health conditions to determine their interest in and supports for the use of local bikesharing programs, leading to a four-session pilot project to educate consumes of mental health services and bikeshare programs and biking skills.

Policies &Programs to Support Parents with Psychiatric Disabilities

Parents with mental illnesses face particularly daunting challenges, often undertaken with little or no support.  Based on an online course developed at the Temple University Collaborative in past years, this project sought to expand use of the online course, and provide technical assistance to local replication initiatives.

Jump-Starting Community Inclusion: A Toolkit for Providers

This project is developing a ‘suite’ of resources that can readily be used to provide community inclusion advocates with the planning and development tools they need to jump start community inclusion initiatives at policy, program, or practice levels, with dozens of suggestions and resources to draw upon.


The Temple University Collaborative’s second five-year research and training center grant from NIDILRR provided an opportunity to broadly share the research-based knowledge developed over the previous five year (2003 – 2008) RRTC activity.

Work-Based Learning to Enhance Practitioner Skills

Rutgers faculty worked with three New Jersey community based provider agencies to develop a work-based learning format to help program managers and supervisors meet the day-to-day professional development needs of direct service practitioners as they sought to integrate community inclusion approaches into their day-to-day work.

Helping Centers for Independent Living (CILs) Meet the Needs of Consumers of Mental Health Services

Temple University Collaborative staff worked with Philadelphia’s Liberty Resources (LR), a nationally prominent Center for Independent Living, on several related projects:  in-person training for LR staff on meeting the needs of their service recipients with mental illnesses, development fact sheets and a guidebook for centers for independent living across the country, and a journal article addressing often consistent but sometimes clashing MH/independent living perspectives.

Promoting Community Inclusion in Peer-Run Programs

The Temple University Collaborative ’s partners at the National Mental Health Consumers Self-Help Clearinghouse surveyed peer-run community mental health programs to identify exemplary programs addressing the community participation needs of  service recipients, identifying more than three-dozen outstanding programs that became the basis for training in peer-run sites nationally.

Systematic Literature Reviews

The Temple University Collaborative undertook two systematic literature reviews in emerging areas of importance to the community inclusion field:  meeting the transportation needs of consumers, and supporting consumers in addressing their leisure and recreational needs for community connection, producing training materials in each area.

Training in Community Inclusion: On-line Educational Resources

The Temple University Collaborative designed three on-line resources for education in community inclusion, designed primarily for practitioners, and provided monthly support for course recipients in three psychiatric rehabilitation settings nationally.

Practical Guides for Community Inclusion

Temple faculty and consultants developed practical guides – designed for the use of consumers themselves or by agency staff working with groups of consumers – to support individuals returning to school or work, with facilitators’ guides.


A National Research Conference on Community Participation

A  national research conference in the Fall of 2012 provided opportunities for Temple University Collaborative staff to share the findings and practical implications of their research, and to hear from other researchers in the field, with participants collaborating in the development of a ‘future research agenda’ set of recommendations


Public Policy Papers

Undertaken in collaboration with the Human Services Research Institute, this project focused on varying issues impacting community inclusion program issues.


Public Policies to Advance Supported Employment Programming in Pennsylvania

The Temple University Collaborative staff consulted closely with the Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health Services to:  a) develop public policies to advance the use of supported employment programming; b) develop annual supported employment development plans for each county mental health authority to complete; c) offer training to county mental health personnel on supported employment; and d) author a Policy Guidance to help county mental authorities use peer specialists to address consumer work needs.


Promoting Community Inclusion for LGBTQI Individuals with Mental Health Conditions

Temple University Collaborative staff collaborated on two projects:  a) with the National Association on Mental Illness to develop a guidebook for local programs across the country with regard to the need to provide equitable services to LGBTQI consumers; and b) with the Pennsylvania Office of Mental Health to develop a policy advisory for county mental health programs.


The Temple University Collaborative’s first five-year research and training center grant from NIDILRR provided an opportunity to deepen the field’s understanding of the principles and effective practices of community inclusion.


Improving Definitions of Community Inclusion

An early project involved focus groups with consumers and providers to better understand individual perceptions of the meaning of community inclusion
, resulting in related technical assistance with the Philadelphia Office of Mental Health to integrate this understanding to the City’s planned transformation of its partial hospitalization programs.

The Impact of Custody Policies

This project involved the development of a series of tool-kits, fact sheets, and guidebooks for parents with mental illnesses – and their case-managers and legal advocates – to safeguard their rights to custody of their children.  The project also included a review of related custody rights in five states and the provision of change-oriented policy consultation.


Promoting Circles of Support

This project entailed the development of a Circles of Support manual and related DVD, Brochure, and Fact Sheet resources to define effective Circle of Support approaches and the delivery of training to potential adopters in New Jersey.


Promoting Natural Supports

This project entailed the development and utilization of a ‘Social Enhancement Workbook (and trainer’s guide) to help provider agencies assist service recipients in their desired participation in a wide range of community activities, used both in the Philadelphia Veterans’ Administration MH program and New Jersey’s statewide supporting housing programs.


Promoting Psychiatric Advanced Directives

The Temple University Collaborative developed a Guidebook on Advanced Self-Advocacy to help consumers take control of the delivery of care during psychiatric crises, with a national dissemination of the Guidebook and related training programs in site across the country.

Urban Program Utilization of Community Integration

The Temple University Collaborative developed a ‘Self Determination Tool’ to assist consumers in advocating for themselves in both clinical and rehabilitation settings:  the Express Yourself
tool, available on-line, has been downloaded nearly 3,000 times and has been used by dozens of community programs helping consumers set and plan for their community inclusion goals.