Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Project ALL STAR
WHAT IS PROJECT ALL STAR?

Special Olympics Inclusive Health Longitudinal Evaluation is an initiative designed to deepen our understanding of the impact of Special Olympics Sport and Health programs on the health and well-being of athletes over an extended period. Special Olympics has been dedicated to transforming the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) through sports training, competitions, and comprehensive health, education, and leadership programs.

What does “ALL STAR” stand for?

The Special Olympics Inclusive Health Longitudinal Evaluation is called Project ALL STAR. ALL STAR stands for “Active Life and Longevity: Special Olympics Transforming Athlete Results”

Why Project ALL STAR?

Project ALL STAR aims to understand how Special Olympics Sport and Health programs affect athletes. Project ALL STAR will keep track of athletes' physical, mental, and social well-being throughout their lives. The results from the project will help improve programs and make a difference in the lives of athletes and their families.

What are the objectives?

  1. Describe who Special Olympics athletes are, what affects their health, Special Olympics participation, and their health conditions.
  2. Examine how being in Special Olympics affects athletes' physical, mental, and social-emotional health.
  3. Evaluate methods of collecting data and the measures used to validate outcomes.

Fundamentals for Pilot Feasibility Phase

The first phase of Project ALL STAR is the feasibility phase from 2024 to 2026. This phase will be done by collaborating with four Special Olympics state programs: Arizona, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. The feasibility evaluation 2024 – 2026 aims to enroll a minimum of 30 adults from each of the four state programs with an anticipated 150 participants.

Special Olympics athletes will directly be involved in Project ALL STAR as Co-Researchers. The Co-Researcher model is an approach used by Special Olympics. It promotes inclusive research that involves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). This model is based on the principle of "Nothing About Us Without Us." This means that the population in the study should have a say in it. The co-researcher model helps people with IDD get involved in research. They actively participate in the research process.

Who is the Project ALL STAR team?

Jump To

  • Athletes and the Athlete Advisory Board WHAT IS PROJECT ALL STAR?

    Special Olympics Inclusive Health Longitudinal Evaluation is an initiative designed to deepen our understanding of the impact of Special Olympics Sport and Health programs on the health and well-being of athletes over an extended period. Special Olympics has been dedicated to transforming the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) through sports training, competitions, and comprehensive health, education, and leadership programs.

  • Scientific Advisory Board WHAT IS PROJECT ALL STAR?

    Special Olympics Inclusive Health Longitudinal Evaluation is an initiative designed to deepen our understanding of the impact of Special Olympics Sport and Health programs on the health and well-being of athletes over an extended period. Special Olympics has been dedicated to transforming the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) through sports training, competitions, and comprehensive health, education, and leadership programs.

  • Special Olympics Teams WHAT IS PROJECT ALL STAR?

    Special Olympics Inclusive Health Longitudinal Evaluation is an initiative designed to deepen our understanding of the impact of Special Olympics Sport and Health programs on the health and well-being of athletes over an extended period. Special Olympics has been dedicated to transforming the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) through sports training, competitions, and comprehensive health, education, and leadership programs.

  • State Programs WHAT IS PROJECT ALL STAR?

    Special Olympics Inclusive Health Longitudinal Evaluation is an initiative designed to deepen our understanding of the impact of Special Olympics Sport and Health programs on the health and well-being of athletes over an extended period. Special Olympics has been dedicated to transforming the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) through sports training, competitions, and comprehensive health, education, and leadership programs.

  • Research Coordinators WHAT IS PROJECT ALL STAR?

    Special Olympics Inclusive Health Longitudinal Evaluation is an initiative designed to deepen our understanding of the impact of Special Olympics Sport and Health programs on the health and well-being of athletes over an extended period. Special Olympics has been dedicated to transforming the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) through sports training, competitions, and comprehensive health, education, and leadership programs.

  • Volunteers WHAT IS PROJECT ALL STAR?

    Special Olympics Inclusive Health Longitudinal Evaluation is an initiative designed to deepen our understanding of the impact of Special Olympics Sport and Health programs on the health and well-being of athletes over an extended period. Special Olympics has been dedicated to transforming the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) through sports training, competitions, and comprehensive health, education, and leadership programs.

Athletes and the Athlete Advisory Board

Special Olympics is an athlete-led organization. We want to make sure that our project captures the important perspective of athletes and their families while conducting and evaluating the project. The Athlete Advisory Board was formed as a Co-Researcher initiative. The Special Olympics International Athlete Advisory Board is a group of Special Olympics athletes. Their main goal is to make sure that Project ALL STAR reflects the preferences and experiences of athletes and families. Athletes will complete inclusive research training that will provide them with insights into inclusive research. The training makes clear their significant roles in shaping the longitudinal evaluation. They will further complete research ethics training tailored specifically for adults with IDD, ensuring their preparedness for research involvement. The board has important jobs, like: 

  1. Learning about inclusive health research.
  2. Inclusive health research means that athletes are part of the research project as co-researchers. They will provide their feedback and perspectives on the research. 
  3. Share their thoughts on study materials like surveys, recruitment materials, and other resources.  
  4. Create study materials that everyone can understand.  
  5. Present evaluation findings and personal stories to promote Project ALL STAR.  

Elizabeth Campbell

Special Olympics Texas

Amanda Koch

Special Olympics Missouri

Allen Tobin

Special Olympics Missouri

Kimberly Schickley

Special Olympics, Pennsylvania

Tim Taggart

Special Olympics Texas

Kelly Unangst

Special Olympics, Pennsylvania

Scientific Advisory Board

The Scientific Advisory Board helped the Research and Evaluation Team design Project ALL STAR. They gave key insights on the development and protocol. The Scientific Advisory Board was established to help advance research and evaluation activities of Special Olympics Health programming. The Board will advise Special Olympics staff and leadership on strategies to develop a better understanding of 1) the health of people with IDD, and 2) the effectiveness of Special Olympics Health programming.  

Specific Duties of the Position

The Special Olympics Scientific Advisory Board will be asked to guide the development and implementation of Special Olympics Health research and evaluation efforts, including:  

  • Advising on the scientific merit and feasibility of proposed activities including Project ALL STAR
  • Prioritizing efforts that will best serve Special Olympics athletes, Special Olympics International, and the broader population of people with IDD
  • Characterizing the health and well-being of people with IDD
  • Evaluating the impact of participation in Special Olympics Health programing and sport competitions
  • Identifying validated instruments to document changes in the health status of Special Olympics athletes
  • Linking key stakeholders, prospective partners, and opportunities for collaboration
  • Fostering best practices for inclusive health research, evidence-based policy, and technical assistance
  • Developing an inclusive health research agenda in concert with a broader organization-wide research agenda

Scientific Advisory Board Members

Brian Abery

University of Minnesota

Alexandra Bonardi

Health Services Research Institute

John Foley

SUNY Cortland

Ben Haack

Special Olympics International Board of Directors

Susan Havercamp

Ohio State University

Scott Landes

Syracuse University

Meghann Lloyd

Ontario Tech University

Roy McConkey

University of Ulster

Eric Rubenstein

Boston University

Heidi Stanish

University of Massachusetts, Boston

Special Olympics Teams

The Special Olympics Research and Evaluation (R&E) team oversees Project ALL STAR. They take all the information they learn from the athletes, scientific advisory board, sport and competition, and Special Olympics programs to organize Project ALL STAR to meet the needs of everyone! 
Project ALL STAR wants to see how Special Olympics impacts the lives of athletes on and off the field. The Sport and Competition team at Special Olympics International meets with the R & E team to discuss how to measure sport in Project ALL STAR.  
Special Olympics North America (SONA) is the first region helping with Project ALL STAR. SONA health staff ensure Special Olympics programs have what they need to run Project ALL STAR.  

State Programs

The collaboration between the state programs and the Special Olympics Research and Evaluation Team is key to making sure Project ALL STAR is a success. Four Special Olympics State Programs are taking part in the first phase of Project ALL STAR. These states are:

Research Coordinators

There are four Research Coordinators stationed at the four participating state programs: Arizona, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Research Coordinators are at the heart of the evaluation. They support the implementation of the longitudinal evaluation protocol at the program level. Their various responsibilities span from conducting data collection to the recruitment and training of data collectors, all while maintaining communication with the research team. The collaboration between Special Olympics International, Special Olympics State Programs, research coordinators, and athlete co-researchers is pivotal for the successful implementation of the evaluation. 

Suzanne O’Neal

Arizona Research Coordinator

Morgan Ellingson

Minnesota Research Coordinator

Calvin Trisolini

Pennsylvania Research Coordinator

Jose Martinez

Wisconsin Research Coordinator

Volunteers

Special Olympics Volunteers are essential to the success of the Special Olympics mission. Without their dedication and support, the organization would not be able to achieve its goals. Project ALL STAR relies on volunteers for various events to help the project succeed, including research assistants and event volunteers. Their contributions are invaluable in ensuring the project's success and the Special Olympics's overall mission.

Want to learn more about how to get involved with Project ALL STAR

Contact us at researchandevaluation@specialolympics.org