AUCD Network Research and Programs to Improve Health of People with Disabilities

Healthy Living GoalAcross the country, AUCD network members – University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disabilities training programs, and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers – are conducting research and creating programs to improve the health of people with disabilities through improved health care and inclusive public health efforts.

The Oregon Institute on Development & Disability at Oregon Health & Science University worked with the Oregon Office on Disability and Health to improve the health of Oregonians with disabilities. Two of their specific projects include increasing access to breast cancer screening for women with disabilities and improving accessibility of smoking cessation programs.

University of Montana Rural Institute researchers are helping to set a national agenda on health and disability, contributing to the 2012 State of the Science Conference on Outcomes and Quality of Life in Community Living and Employment in Halifax, Nova Scotia and collaborating to publish an article entitled The State of Science of Health and Wellness for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in the Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities journal.The authors found that historically, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have experienced health disparities related to poverty, race, gender, and aging; and lack of access to high quality medical and dental care and to public health and other wellness programs. Additionally, people with IDD need more efficient, cost-effective ways to access health and wellness activities to prevent or treat obesity and other chronic health conditions. Targeted training of health care providers to meet the specific needs of persons with IDD is also warranted.

At the AUCD Annual Meeting in November of 2013, researchers from New York, New Jersey, and Tennessee presented a symposium on the provision of appropriate and quality health care to individuals with IDD including, youth who are transitioning from pediatric to adult health care. They presented information how LENDs and UCEDDs are focusing on health care for adults and transitioning youth through their functions of research and evaluation, training and technical assistance, materials development and dissemination, and policy analysis to make a state and national impact.