Scholar on disability issues receives Warren research award

Scholar on disability issues receives Warren research award

Kevin Boatright

A leading scholar and public advocate on issues involving disability, employment and health is the 2014 recipient of the Steven F. Warren Research Achievement Award at the University of Kansas. The award is the highest honor given annually to a full-time academic staff researcher working in a department or research center on KU’s Lawrence campus. The recognition includes a plaque and $10,000 in research funds.

Jean P. Hall is an associate research professor and director of KU’s Institute for Health and Disability Policy Studies. She will be recognized at 3:30 p.m. ceremony Dec. 17 in The Forum at Marvin Hall. Friends and colleagues are invited to attend, and a reception will follow.

“Jean is an enormously productive researcher and role model for students,” said Mary Lee Hummert, interim vice chancellor for research. “She has ties to KU’s Medical Center as well as the Center for Research on Learning (CRL) in the Life Span Institute and is making extraordinary contributions to her profession. She’s a most deserving recipient.”

The award was established in 2006 and is administered by the Office of Research. It was renamed earlier this year in honor of Warren, who led KU’s research office from 2007 to 2014.

Hall came to KU in 1996 as the project coordinator of a grant-funded program on accommodating adults with disabilities in adult education programs. She has subsequently managed or co-directed a series of 20 other grant-funded projects in CRL, and she has published and testified extensively. Hall became an assistant research professor in 2003 and an associate research professor in 2009. Since 2011 she has served as director of the Institute for Health and Disability Policy Studies, a joint program of CRL and the Department of Health Policy and Management at the KU Medical Center.

Hall’s academic background includes a bachelor's degree from the University of South Carolina and a master's degree from KU, both in geology. She received a doctorate in disability studies from KU in 2003.

Hall was nominated for the award by Donald Deshler, former director of CRL. 

“Through innovative research strategies,” he said, “she has created knowledge that has advanced health and workplace policy and practice in several states.” In addition, Hall “is the acknowledged national expert on the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan, a program in the federal Affordable Care Act.

"She has led an initiative in Kansas to integrate health data across multiple agencies," Deshler said. "This has been a crucial step in specifying factors related to improved health and employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.”

Also supporting the nomination was Michael Fox, professor of health policy and management at the KU Medical Center.

“Jean represents in many ways the best qualities in people that all faculty and staff at KU can aspire to,” Fox said, such as “compassion, a commitment to serving, outstanding work habits, willingness to mentor students, a drive towards excellence among colleagues and within herself, loyalty to the university and an overriding concern for [her] family.”

Past recipients of the award are David VanderVelde, Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Laboratory; Rick Miller, Kansas Geological Survey; Debra Kamps, Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training; Donald Huggins, Kansas Biological Survey; Daryl Mellard, Center for Research on Learning; Frank Schoenen, Specialized Chemistry Center; Craig Freeman, Biodiversity Institute and Kansas Biological Survey; and Todd Williams, Mass Spectrometry and Analytical Proteomics Laboratory.