IOD Staff Honored by UNH College of Health & Human Services

May 1, 2017

Dr. Debra Brucker and Sara Rainer

DURHAM, N.H. – Institute on Disability (IOD) Staff Members Dr. Debra Brucker and Sara Rainer received awards from the University of New Hampshire’s College of Health and Human Services at their Spring Awards Luncheon on Thursday, April 30, 2017.

Dr. Brucker, a Research Assistant Professor at the IOD, and Dr. Vidya Sundar, an Assistant Professor in the Occupational Therapy Department, are the recipients of the Excellence in Collaboration Award this year for UNH’s College of Health & Human Services. They collaborated on several projects focused on community participation and employment for persons with disabilities.

“Working across CHHS units, and especially across a Department and an Institute adds breadth and depth and represents the best of what is happening in disability policy research today,” shares Linda Bimbo, IOD Acting Director.

As a research assistant professor at the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability, Dr. Debra Brucker uses national level survey data to measure the economic, health and social well-being of persons with disabilities. She has over 20 years of applied policy research experience and has held social and health policy research positions at academic institutions, research organizations, and state agencies. Her work has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals including Social Science Quarterly, Journal of Behavioral Health Services and Research, and Journal of Disability Policy Studies.

Sara Rainer, a Project Director for the NH Disability & Public Health Project, was part of an inter-disciplinary team that received the Roger A. Ritvo Award. Recipients included Laura Hapke and Dr. Patti Craig, graduate student and professor in Recreation Management and Policy/Therapeutic Recreation, and Sara Rainer and Dr. Semra Aytur, graduate student and professor in Health Management and Policy/Public Health. Their work explores barriers and enablers of active living among persons with disabilities.

Sara Rainer joined the Institute on Disability in the fall of 2012 during her senior year of undergraduate study. She was hired as a full time employee upon graduating, putting her passion for inclusion and accessibility to work. She has a background in human services and is particularly interested in health promotion, knowledge translation, and health equity for underserved populations.