35th Anniversary Edition
Making Issue #1
Charlie Lakin and Angela Amado
The creation of Impact was stimulated initially in a meeting in 1987, at which our project officer, Ray Sanchez, suggested that our newly established Institute needed a newsletter to promote our work. After reviewing newsletters of similar programs, we decided rather than investing resources in self-promotion, we and others might be better served by a progressive newsletter/magazine focused on key topics in the lives of people with disabilities. We reasoned that in addition to being more useful than descriptions of our programs, people would know us better through how we addressed such topics. We made a commitment to do so with issue identification, planning, and authoring that would include Institute staff, national thought-leaders, service providers, and individuals with disabilities and family members through a publication that shared science, new ideas, and real-life experiences, and referenced related programs and readings. Those commitments have been maintained across the 35 years of Impact’s existence, even as its sophistication has evolved greatly.
We chose case management as the topic of our inaugural issue in much the same way topics have been selected since. It was an issue of contemporary importance in the rapidly evolving world of community services and supports. In 1988, Minnesota, like most other states, had seen a rapid rise in the number of people receiving community services. These changes were driven by its Medicaid Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) program and, like other states, Minnesota was engaged in the steady downsizing of institutional settings. In Minnesota, that included a plan to reduce state institution populations from about 1,400 to fewer than 100 in six years, with home county case management being central to the plan. Nationwide, it was also important that federal funding for case management services was becoming readily available through Medicaid HCBS and Targeted Case Management, as well as the Social Services Block Grant.
Like other states in 1988, Minnesota recognized that its capacity to provide the quality of case management demanded by the evolving system of community services and support was clearly inadequate. As an example, a 1987 study by the Metropolitan Council noted that Minnesota’s regulations for case management provided little in the way of minimum standards or even a clear vision of its purpose. It recommended substantial reductions in individual to case manager ratios.
In this context of deinstitutionalization and rapid community services development, we thought it an advantageous time to identify and share ideas about how case management could contribute effectively to increasing independence and inclusion, while attending to people’s health and safety. Cheri Gilman, then a research assistant, and Ralph McQuarter, who was leading Minnesota’s planning for case management reform, played important roles in developing that first Impact issue under the Minnesota University Affiliated Program on Developmental Disabilities. The University of Minnesota’s printing services office developed a design that looked like a good prototype to us. Over the years, the subsequent managing editors of Impact, Vicki Gaylord and Janet Stewart, along with other ICI staffers, have contributed greatly to the increased attractiveness, sophistication, and functionality of Impact’s design. And through the participation in authorship and editing of several hundred of ICI staff members, state and national thought-leaders, persons with disabilities and family members from around the United States and even internationally, Impact has become more than what we ever dreamed it could be. ν