About the Project

AUCD Diversity & Inclusion Toolkit Logo

Project Purpose

Contact Us

Email: ImplementDiversity@aucd.org
Phone: 301-588-8252

This toolkit is intended to serve as a foundation for launching a national effort that will enhance diversity, inclusion, and cultural and linguistic competence; cultivate partnerships; respond to increasingly diverse communities across the country; and develop strategies for continuing efforts to better serve diverse populations.

The primary focus is on three audiences in the disability community:

  1. Federal funders, including the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) and the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB);
  2. National organizations, including the Association of University Centers on Disabilities; and
  3. University-based centers and programs, including University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Education, Research, and Service (UCEDD) and Leadership in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) programs.
The Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights Act of 2000 (administered by the Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities or AIDD), the Division of Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Workforce Development Strategic Plan for 2012-2020, and the 2015-2016 Strategic Map for the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) all address elements of diversity, equity, inclusion, and cultural competence. This Diversity and Inclusion Toolkit provides concrete objectives, strategies, and resources to help these audiences realize their goals in this area. It also provides a foundation for future efforts, including developing a toolkit for AUCD's network to collectively make progress in diversity, inclusion, and cultural and linguistic competence.

Objectives, strategies, resources and examples provided in the Toolkit are many and varied; purposefully selected to provide a wide range of options that numerous users can implement according to their individualized circumstances. The Toolkit is intended to provide a common foundation for future efforts within the UCEDD and LEND network. Due to the varying structures and types of audiences represented across the vested organizations of this Toolkit, a single framework or road map for improving diversity, inclusion, and cultural and linguistic competence was not developed. Rather, each user may determine how best to start implementing Toolkit strategies based on current resources, partnerships, initiatives, and other considerations. Each user should commit to the process, take a look at themselves and their community, create a plan for implementation, and take action.

Project Process

The Administration on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AIDD) tasked AUCD with developing this Toolkit, with work initiating in October 2014 and ending in September 2015. The Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) also contributed resources to support this effort. AUCD convened a diverse team from across the country to implement this project. AUCD is grateful to these federal partners for their support and guidance.

Development of the Toolkit began in October, 2014, with a number of conversations with federal funders and key network members to help shape the direction of the project. Additional staff were hired as Diversity and Inclusion Fellows for a total additional 1.2 FTE. A logic model and workplan were developed and approved by the primary federal funder. A conceptual framework was formed based on key research and findings addressing cultural competence in health and healthcare, as well as children's behavioral health. Information-gathering was initiated as the team first researched examples of corporate, civic, University, and other organizational Diversity Toolkits; as well as literature about diversity, inclusion, and cultural and linguistic competence.

Information-gathering continued in as recommendations for action to increase the diversity, inclusion, and cultural and linguistic competence of federal funders, AUCD, UCEDDs, and LENDs were solicited in a variety of ways including distributing surveys to the AUCD network and federal funders; conducting in-person, phone, and Skype interviews with stakeholders representing diverse cultures and communities both in and out of the AUCD network, including all AUCD Councils and selected Special Interest Groups; and facilitating discussions and focus groups at national and international conferences.

In June, 2015, the team concluded the formal information-gathering process of the project and began organizing the many recommendations received. A draft document outlining the resulting objectives and strategies was developed and shared with three groups: (1) a subcommittee of AUCD Multicultural Council members, (2) a group of internal and external advisory stakeholders representing diverse cultures and communities, and (3) a Diversity Workgroup of UCEDD faculty and staff convened by AIDD. All three groups were encouraged to provide feedback, suggestions and resources. This diverse group of advisors allowed for a variety of input and recommendations, all of which were incorporated into the Toolkit.The draft document was updated multiple times, finalized, and the information was used to populate the Toolkit website.

Throughout the entire process, progress updates were provided to the AUCD network via monthly emails from March through September, 2015. Conference calls were held with a subcommittee of AUCD's Multicultural Council on several occasions. Meetings were held with the primary funder, AIDD, on a monthly basis. These increased to bi-weekly as the information-gathering phase came to a close and objectives and strategies were organized.

A series of webinars serving as technical assistance tools for the UCEDD and LEND networks were planned, with the first held in February, 2015. Feedback received from the first webinar alerted us that highlighting long-standing exemplary network efforts could be intimidating for some members who are much earlier in the process and trying to begin carving their paths toward greater diversity, inclusion, and cultural and linguistic competence. As a result, webinars were replaced with Community Conversations where facilitated discussions purposefully created a mutual and collaborative problem-solving environment addressing challenges and barriers as well as sharing resources and ideas. These events were recorded, archived, and can be viewed in the 'Project Resources' drop-down tab under the 'About Project' link.

We hope this Toolkit serves as a tool that will be useful to many people and organizations, with the understanding there is much yet to do. AUCD intends to join conversations with network members and funders to identify and establish next steps in defining network-wide priorities and goals for implementation and evaluation. This Toolkit is intended to be the foundation for such discussions.

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