UM Students, People with Disabilities Partner for Healthy Community Living Project

April 12, 2018

Megan Miller, a UM undergraduate psychology major, presents her findings from the Healthy Community Living project at the 2017 UM Conference on Undergraduate Research.MISSOULA – The Healthy Community Living project at the University of Montana is developing multimedia health promotion programs to support people with disabilities in reaching personal health goals.

Ten UM students helped create an online multimedia curriculum for the project that will help people with disabilities gain life skills and learn how to set and reach healthy life goals. The students come from a wide range of disciplines, including media arts, psychology, community health sciences and law, and they have developed work plans, provided research support, shared innovative ideas, conducted interviews and collected photos to use in the curricula.

 “I’ve learned a lot since working here that applies to this project and other projects,” said Arynn Payne, an undergraduate psychology minor. “It’s really opened my eyes to disability and what that means for different people and the different challenges they face – and the really awesome ways those challenges are met.”

UM collaborates on the project with the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living to support dozens of developmental partners in rural and urban areas throughout the U.S. at each stage of the process. The project currently is working with partners in Arizona, Alabama, Minnesota and New Jersey.

Once complete, the programs will be widely disseminated to a variety of community-based programs, such as aging and disability research centers, as well as health promotion researchers nationwide.

The Healthy Community Living project is a part of the UM Rural Institute. The Rural Institute engages in research, provides education and interdisciplinary training, and models services that improve the lives of people with disabilities in rural communities, including their families and those who support and partner with them.

To read more about the project, visit or to become involved, visit


Contact: Tannis Hargrove, project director/research associate, UM Rural Institute, 406-243-5719,; Justice Ender, communications associate for Healthy Community Living project, UM Rural Institute, 406-243-4135,