Barbara W. LeRoy Research Initiative


Photo of Barbara LeRoy. Barb is wearing a blue sweater and a necklace with a blue heart pendant. She has shoulder length gray hair, reddish brown glasses, and is smiling.Dr. Barbara LeRoy served as Director of the Michigan Developmental Disabilities Institute at Wayne State University from 1993-2015. She earned her BA from St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and her MA and PhD in Education from the University of Michigan.

Dr. LeRoy has had a profound and prolific research career. She designed and launched Michigan’s Home and Community Based Services Rule Compliance Assessment. As an OECD TJ Alexander Fellow, she examined the educational access and performance of 15-year-old students with special educational needs across the world. Dr. LeRoy also collected and analyzed 160 oral histories from women with intellectual disabilities in 18 countries looking at their experiences as they aged. This work led to the publication of her book, Women with Disabilities Aging Well: A Global Perspective.

Dr. LeRoy has received many awards and recognitions including the Distinguished Alumna Award (St. Mary’s College of Maryland), WSU President’s Exceptional Service Award, Michigan Rehabilitation Association’s Tina Award, the AUCD International Service Award, and the TASH Positive Images in the Media Award for her creation of the Possibilities video series.



The 2024 Application is now closed.

Link to application:

Deadline to apply: April 1, 2024
Download a PDF version of the application to review.

Focus of Research, Eligibility, and Timeline of Award

To honor Dr. LeRoy’s outstanding contributions to MI-DDI and the disability field, we have launched the Barbara W. LeRoy Research Initiative. This Initiative will be offered every 3 years and will fund pilot research projects. Funding (up to $15,000) will support research that addresses the following:

  • Focus: Community inclusion across the lifespan (e.g., daycare, school, sports, employment, living, religion, etc.).
  • Population: Individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities (I/DD).
  • Inclusion: The research MUST include the participation of people with I/DD (or their families, if minors are the focus) in the design, implementation, and evaluation of the research.


Who is eligible to apply?

The Lead Researcher (applicant) must be Michigan-based and may include university junior faculty/researchers, advanced graduate students, and community organizations. University and community partnerships are strongly encouraged. National and international partners are allowed. Only one application per Lead Researcher.


  • Application opens online January 1, 2024.
  • Completed applications due by April 1, 2024.
  • Notification of award will be sent June 1, 2024.
  • Project start date of July 1, 2024.
  • Project period can be 6 -12 months (Ending June 30, 2025).

Allowable use of funds

Salaries, materials, payment of co-researchers with disabilities, research participants with disabilities, travel. Please note: this initiative will be funded based on WSU administrative policies. Indirect costs are NOT allowable.


Please email MI-DDI Director, Sharon Milberger ( if you have questions