Founded in 1977, TIRR Memorial Hermann's Independent Living Research Utilization (ILRU) program has a long history of providing research, education and consultation in the areas of independent living, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), home- and community-based services and health issues for people with disabilities. The Director of ILRU is Lex Frieden, a nationally-known advocate for persons with disabilities. The Co Director of ILRU is Richard Petty, a national expert in community-based services, independent living and participant direction.
ILRU conducts research on community living and health care for persons with disabilities through the Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living; ILRU’s Lex Frieden serves as a co-investigator for this national project conducting essential research into the impact of health care reform on working age adults with disabilities.
ILRU operates the CIL-NET National Technical Assistance and Training Center, the single national technical assistance and training program serving centers for independent living, providing training conferences and Web based instruction for staff and managers, as well as direct on-location consulting to over 500 community-based programs. The IL-NET also conducts research into effective practices for community supports which affect health outcomes for persons with disabilities and research into effective management practices for consumer-run organizations. ILRU also operates the SILC Training and Technical Assistance Center which provides consulting and training for statewide councils which facilitate independent living programs in U. S. states and territories. These two technical assistance and training centers are funded through the Independent Living Administration in the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.
ILRU also operates the Southwest ADA Center, the Southwest's leading resource on the Americans with Disabilities Act and related disability rights laws. The center is one of 10 regional Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers (DBTACs) funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR).