For work that led to new disability archive, Alison Stroud is first recipient of ICPSR Staff Innovator of the Year Award!

Alison Stroud had an idea. The data processor mentioned it at a brainstorming session in early 2014. “ICPSR should have a disability archive,” she said.

“It was one of many good ideas raised during that discussion,” recalled Amy Mehraban Pienta,  Acquisitions Director at the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR). “Alison was finishing her master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Michigan and had been immersed in the disability research literature in her coursework and for her Master’s thesis. She noticed that disability studies data were not often archived. The lightbulb went off and she began to pitch her idea around ICPSR. Fortunately, then-ICPSR Director George Alter also heard her idea and encouraged me, as her supervisor, to help her develop the idea into an ICPSR Town Hall project. She did so and received pilot funding to launch a mini-topical archive on the topic in 2014-2015.”

Alison Stroud accepted the first-ever ICPSR Innovator of the Year award at an ICPSR Council Meeting in June.Stroud’s idea became the driving force for the creation of the Archive of Data on Disability to Enable Policy and Research (ADDEP), which made its official debut in partnership with the Center for Large Data Research and Data Sharing in Rehabilitation (CLDR) in June.

CLDR and ICPSR worked together to develop a data repository that supports disability and rehabilitation research. On the ADDEP website, users can explore existing disability data resources already available at ICPSR and newly acquired data from rehabilitation medicine and related areas through the new partnership with CLDR. With input from the CLDR, ADDEP will continue to find ways to improve and facilitate collaborative research opportunities for investigators, policymakers, and practitioners by providing access to existing disability and rehabilitation datasets for secondary analyses.

CLDR involves a consortium of investigators from the University of Texas Medical Branch, Cornell University, and the University of Michigan. ADDEP is supported by grant P2CHD065702 awarded to the CLDR by the NIH - National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, through the National Center for Medical Rehabilitation Research, the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering.

For her work helping take the ADDEP archive from vision to reality, Alison Stroud became ICPSR’s first ICPSR Innovator of the Year award recipient in June. Stroud, now an archive manager at ICPSR, was nominated by Pienta and supported by Kenneth J. Ottenbacher, PhD, Professor and Russell Shearn Moody Distinguished Chair, UTMB, Galveston, TX, and George Alter, Director, ICPSR, Professor of History.

When she found out she had been selected, Stroud was thrilled. “I am humbled to have been chosen for this award, knowing that there were many qualified others,” she said. “Since Spring 2014, I have worked with several talented people who contributed to making ADDEP a reality and still greatly appreciate their time and efforts. In particular, I want to thank Amy and George (Alter) for encouraging me from the start, providing tremendous support, and working to secure funding for the project. I very much appreciate ICPSR and the Innovation Team in establishing such awards to recognize and encourage excellence at ICPSR.”

Others have taken notice of Stroud’s efforts, too. Shortly after she found out about the ICPSR Innovator Award, Stroud was contacted by Anna Ercoli Schnitzer on behalf of the UM Council for Disability Concerns, which plans to give Stroud a Certificate of Recognition in October. “It is with great pleasure that the UM Council for Disability Concerns recognizes your extensive work on behalf of removing barriers to individuals with disabilities and furthering allied goals concerned with disability issues, both through ICPSR on our campus and through the Ann Arbor Commission on Disability Issues in the community, by awarding you a Certificate of Appreciation,” Schnitzer wrote in late June.

Looking back, “it was Alison’s energy, bold positioning of the idea, persistence, and hard work that brought this funded activity to fruition,” Pienta said. “If only all ideas could be so successful for us. I think it was the ‘magic’ that Alison brought behind the innovative idea that made it a success.”

Related: Matthew Richardson wins 2017 ICPSR Innovator Award


The Archive of Data on Disability to Enable Policy and Research (ADDEP)

The Center for Large Data Research and Data Sharing in Rehabilitation (CLDR)




Aug 25, 2016

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