NARRTC, formerly known as the National Association of Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers, selected Michael Morris to be the recipient of the 2023 NARRTC Distinguished Service Award. The Distinguished Service Award is made to individuals who have made significant contributions to the field of disability through research , teaching, service , or advocacy. It is the highest recognition conferred by NARRTC. Mr. Morris serves as Senior Advisor to the Burton Blatt Institute.
The award presented to Mr. Morris at the annual conference of NARRTC is in recognition of more than 30 years of efforts to “promote equality of opportunity and economic self-sufficiency for all people with disabilities through research, advocacy, technical assistance, and program development.” Through his work at the Burton Blatt Institute and the National Disability Institute, he has expanded knowledge and understanding of the financial status and economic challenges encountered by working age adults with disabilities and led the translation of research findings to policy changes such as the Achieving A Better Life Experience Act (ABLE). A recipient of numerous grants over many years from the National Institute of Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research, he has is the author of multiple publications about rethinking public policies to support income production, savings, and asset accumulation for people with disabilities. He is currently a member of the research team for the NIDILRR funded Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Disability Inclusive Employment Policy.
On acceptance of the award, Mr. Morris stated “ I am honored to be this year’s NARRTC Distinguished Service Award winner and be added to a list of amazing leaders who have been past award winners who have made such important contributions to change what we know about and possibilities for more inclusive, independent and productive lives for people with disabilities.”