The Center for Research on Women with Disabilities (CROWD) was established in 1993 in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Baylor College of Medicine, under the direction of Margaret A. Nosek, Ph.D. Its formation was inspired by the outpouring of support from women with disabilities around the nation in response to the announcement of the team's first federally-funded study of women's issues. The National Study of Women with Physical Disabilities was funded by the National Institutes of Health in 1992 to examine sexuality and associated concerns in this population. After completion of qualitative interview of 31 women and a survey of nearly 1,000 women (about half with disabilities and half without disabilities), data analysis revealed major new findings in five areas:
- Dissatisfaction with sexual activities
- Difficulties in establishing intimate relationships
- Low self-esteem
- Very high rates of emotional, physical, sexual, and disability-related abuse
- Pervasive problems with obtaining appropriate reproductive health care
The executive summary and final report of this project are available. Based on the findings of this ground-breaking study, CROWD was able to obtain funding to pursue further research on topics that emerged as critical.