The Lurie Institute for Disability Policy

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University

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Letter from the Director

Message from Monika Mitra, Director of the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy

Welcome to the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy. The Lurie Institute, part of Brandeis University’s Heller School for Social Policy and Management, is dedicated to innovative research and training initiatives that promote effective policies to improve the health and well-being of people with disabilities and their families across the lifespan. Following in the tradition of Gunnar Dybwad, Rosemary Dybwad, and Irving Zola, pioneers in the disability rights movement at Brandeis University, the Lurie Institute conducts groundbreaking research that informs policies critical to the health and well-being of millions of people with disabilities in the United States and globally.  Using a collaborative and participatory approach with self-advocates, researchers, clinicians, community-based organizations, policymakers, undergraduate and graduate students, and postdoctoral fellows, the Lurie Institute’s research addresses many critical issues facing people with disabilities and their families including poverty, unemployment, inequitable access to and quality of care, and a myriad of other social, health, and economic disparities.

The Lurie Institute for Disability Policy was established at the Heller School in 2007 through a generous gift from the Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation. In addition, we are currently supported by several major federally funded grants. They include a National Institute of Child Health and Development (NICHD)-funded research study to understand the unmet needs and barriers to care for women with physical disabilities. A second NICHD-funded study examines pregnancy experiences and outcomes among women with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) recently awarded the Lurie Institute a grant to establish a national research center for parents with disabilities.  The mission of this center is to create and share new knowledge in active partnerships with parents with diverse disabilities, backgrounds, and voices to inform policy, practice, advocacy, and public awareness.  Through the NIDILRR-funded Advanced Rehabilitation Research Training Program on the Health and Functioning of People with Disabilities, we train and mentor postdoctoral fellows in the field of disability research.  Additionally, through the Centers for Disease Control-funded Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH), Health and Disability Program we evaluate MDPH’s programmatic efforts in improving the health of people with disabilities in Massachusetts. The Lurie Institute aims to inform effective and evidence-based policies to improve the health, quality of life, and well-being of people with disabilities across the lifespan.

The Lurie Institute welcomes your ideas and questions; please don’t hesitate to contact me.


 Headshot: Monika Mitra

Monika Mitra, PhD                                                   



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