John D. Westbrook is a managing researcher at AIR. Dr. Westbrook has extensive experience in the areas of disability research, development, knowledge translation, dissemination, technical assistance, implementation, and training at the state, regional, and national levels. His work focuses on strengthening the quality, relevance, and usefulness of disability and rehabilitation research to expand opportunities, choices, and service quality for persons with disabilities and their families. Dr. Westbrook currently directs two national knowledge translation initiatives: the Center on Knowledge Translation for Disability and Rehabilitation Research and the Center on Knowledge Translation for Employment Research. In 2013, Dr. Westbrook was named to the Steering Group of the international Campbell Collaboration and currently serves as the co-chair of the Collaboration’s Knowledge Translation and Implementation Coordinating Group and the Coordinator of the Disability Subgroup of Campbell’s Education Coordinating Group.
Dr. Westbrook’s previously worked at SEDL (now an affiliate of AIR), which included directing projects focused on improving knowledge translation plans and implementation processes in order to access and apply disability research, including the Vocational Rehabilitation Service Models for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (2008–2013), the National Center for the Dissemination of Disability Research (1995–2011), the Research Utilization Support and Help (RUSH) Project (2003–2007), the Region VI Regional Information Exchange (1983–1995), the National Model for Supported Employment and Independent Living (1988–1991), and the Independent Living Services Network (1987–1989). He also worked as a dissemination specialist with the Regional Exchange project, funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
Prior to joining SEDL in 1982, Dr. Westbrook worked as a consultant and a staff development specialist for the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. He also worked as a continuing medical education staff development specialist for the Texas Research Institute of the Mental Sciences; as a teacher and supervisor of the Life Skills Department at the Texas School for the Deaf; as an educational consultant in the Multiple Handicapped Hearing Impaired Planning Project of the Texas Education Agency; and as a special education teacher and administrator. Dr. Westbrook has published numerous articles and papers and served on a number of disability-related organizations and projects. He has served as vice president of the National Association of Rehabilitation and Research Training Centers (NARRTC) several times and became president of the association in 2009. In 2005, he was invited to participate in the White House Conference on Aging and Disability in Washington, DC. In 2004, he received the Charlotte Toulouse Award from the Southwest Conference on Disability for improving communication between people with disabilities and disability researchers. And in 1998, he was selected by the National Rehabilitation Association to be a Switzer Scholar.