Training on Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (TIDE)

Training on Inclusion, Diversity and Equity (TIDE) helps direct support workers. Through TIDE, workers explore bias and how a person’s sense of self impacts them. Sense of self includes thoughts about their disability, race, age and more. Building on that knowledge, workers learn to talk and empathize with people who are different from them.

Grantee: Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)

Project Dates: 8/1/2021 – 12/31/2022

Areas of Emphasis: Community Supports

Award: $111,364

Match: $37,123

The grantee VCU made a toolkit and training on inclusion, diversity and equity (TIDE). The training and toolkit include assessments and conversation starters. (The conversation starters are called reflective dialogue.) These items help direct support workers to explore other viewpoints. With this training, workers can give better care to people with developmental disabilities (DD). Service providers can also learn to find bias in their rules and practices.

This project follows state and federal Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) rules. The project mostly served Richmond City, Chesterfield, Henrico, Chesapeake, Norfolk and Virginia Beach. The project lasted 17 months. During this time, VCU reviewed training that already existed. A steering committee gave them advice on their project.

VCU made six training modules. They trained 98 people on:

  1. Practices that respect and include people’s cultures
  2. Implicit bias
  3. Changing their viewpoint to give better support
  4. Unfair treatment and people’s identities
  5. Becoming true partners for positive change (co-conspirators)
  6. Sustaining equitable supports

VCU must track the project until December 2024. To view a copy of their final report, please contact the Board’s Grants Manager at

The TIDE project is very important to me because it allows people with many ‘unique’ disabilities to collaborate, and advocate for change within the disability community. People with disabilities want to feel included in things like others, and the TIDE project made that happen.

- Taylor Thomas-Harris, TIDE Steering Committee Participant