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 Funded by the United States Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).

OIB-TAC Advisory Council

OIB-TAC Advisory Council members  (back row, left to right) Peggy Chong, John Huffman, Sylvia Perez,

As many states struggle to make the best use of increasingly limited resources available for programs and services that support older individuals who are blind or visually impaired (OIB), the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) has funded a new center to provide training and technical assistance (T&TA) to designated state agencies (DSA) and others serving OIB populations. The NRTC was awarded this grant (No. H177Z150003) in October, 2015.

The grant, known simply as OIB-TAC: The Older Individuals who are Blind Technical Assistance Center, utilizes intensive T&TA, electronic training, OIB interagency collaborations, a newly forming Community of Practice (CoP), and a communication and dissemination network, to support improvements of state OIB programs by addressing four key topics:

• community outreach;
• best practices in provision and delivery of services;
• program performance, including data reporting and analysis; and
• financial and management practices, including administrative compliance.

The OIB-TAC includes collaborative partners from the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), VisionServe Alliance (VSA), and Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths & Adults (HKNC) to help implement the T&TA activities.

The first OIB-TAC Advisory Council meeting was held on May 26-27 in Starkville, MS. The eight-member Advisory Council contributes a national perspective and relevant guidance to the OIB-TAC project staff. Council members in the photo to the left include: back row, left to right – Peggy Chong (National Federation of the Blind – NFB), John Huffman (American Council of the Blind – ACB), Sylvia Perez (VSA), J. Elton Moore (published expert on OIB programs); front row, left to right – Ellen Foshag (Deafblind consumer), Nancy Miller (Association for Education and Rehabilitation of the Blind and Visually Impaired – AERBVI), and Jane Ward-Solomon (Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired – VDBVI); not pictured is Paul Saner (National Council of State Agencies for the Blind – NCSAB) who participated via phone. Also in attendance for the Advisory Council meeting were collaborating organization representatives Paige Berry (HKNC), Roxann Mayros (VSA), and Pris Rogers (AFB).

Contact Project Director BJ LeJeune (bjlejeune@colled.msstate.edu) or OIB-TAC staff Bill Tomlin, Kendra Farrow, Doug Bedsaul, Adele Crudden, or Sophie Kershaw for further information.