Practice & Policy Lecture Series
Provided by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services
Sequoyah Memorial Office Building, 2400 N. Lincoln Blvd. • Oklahoma City, OK 73105
(405) 521-3646 • Fax (405) 521-6684 • Internet:

Practice and Policy Lecture Series Home

The Practice and Policy Lecture Series has been developed to provide thought-provoking presentations on Oklahoma's emerging policy issues, trends and best practices. The series is sponsored by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services Office of Planning, Research and Statistics and the University of Oklahoma Center for Public Management with the goal of providing the best educational opportunities available in a forum that offers participants an opportunity to question, share and learn from each other.

All lectures are free and open to the public.

Child Care
Child Welfare
Customer Service
Developmental Disabilities
Domestic Violence
Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
Health Care
Marriage and Family
Poverty Solutions

Tue., Sep. 24, 2013, Noon to 1 p.m.

Oklahoma's Triumph for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities: Influencing the Whole World

Oklahoma History Center, Chesapeake Room
800 Nazih Zuhdi Dr., Oklahoma City, OK 73105

Dr. James Conroy, President
Center for Outcome Analysis

In the 1990s, Oklahoma began to change its support systems for citizens with developmental disabilities. The change began with shame, and it took a Federal court to help. But the 1,000 young people who had been placed at the state institution called Hissom Memorial Center did finally get a chance at real lives in regular neighborhoods just like everyone else. Like the nearly 300 other institutions in the United States, Hissom began with good intentions – but by their very nature, segregated large settings do not produce good outcomes or good lives. As the people moved to new, small, family-like community homes, a project to track their well-being was put in place. The findings from that Quality Assurance Project were dramatic – more positive than in any other state. This presentation will explain what happened to the people. It will also explain why this Oklahoma triumph is a story being told the world over, as other nations become aware of the need for small, integrated, common sense opportunities for living and working and playing for citizens with developmental disabilities.

About the Speaker:
Dr. Conroy has been a consultant to 18 federal agencies and to more than 150 state and local agencies since 1970, and has been Principal Investigator for more than 100 funded grants and contracts. 

He is the author of more than 300 formal reports in the fields of disabilities, aging, child welfare and other human service fields, including 30 articles in professional journals, 12 book chapters and over 280 formal deliverable research reports to government agencies.  Dr. Conroy's work has been publicized on 60 Minutes; the Peter Jennings ABC Evening News; Nightline; Public Television; the Philadelphia Inquirer; the New York Times; the Chicago Tribune; multiple radio interviews; and other media. 

He considers his work on the outcomes of deinstitutionalization in America to be his definitive contribution toward better lives for people with disabilities.  However, his current work on the outcomes of self-determination initiatives for people with developmental disabilities has the potential to eclipse those earlier research efforts. In recent years, he has concentrated on applying what was learned in the U.S. to assist emerging democracies to include all citizens, with or without disabilities, in the mainstream of public life. 

Dr. Conroy earned a B.A. in Physiological Psychology from Yale, and both his M.A. in Sociology/Program Evaluation and a Ph.D. in Medical Sociology from Temple University. 

Video, Audio and Transcript (Opens in new window.)

Last Updated: June 18, 2015
Provided by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services
Street address: Sequoyah Memorial Office Building, 2400 N. Lincoln Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73105
Mailing address: P.O. Box 25352, Oklahoma City, OK 73125
(405) 521-3646
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