By Meredith Williams, NACCHO Health and Disability Fellow
The NACCHO Health and Disability Team has launched an updated and expanded Health and Disability Toolkit. The Health and Disability Toolkit is part of NACCHO’s free, online Toolbox and now features more than 175 resources. People with disabilities make up at least 20% of the population, a percentage that is expected to rise as the population ages. When compared with the general population, people with disabilities have traditionally been underserved and experience significant health inequities, receive fewer preventive and primary care services, develop more preventable secondary health conditions, and report poorer health and quality of life. To address these health inequities, NACCHO recommends increasing disability inclusion, with the goal of ensuring that people with disabilities can participate in and benefit from public health activities, programs, and services to the same degree as people who do not have disabilities. The NACCHO Health and Disability Toolkit is designed to improve access to the resources local health departments need to include people with disabilities.
The revised toolkit now features resources that the Health and Disability Team provides to local health departments during technical assistance, resources developed by National Health and Disability Workgroup partners, NACCHO Model Practices, and model plans developed by local health departments that have received technical assistance from the Health and Disability Team in the past.
Newly added tools reflect emerging issues and the most common concerns local health departments have when working to increase disability inclusion:
- Communicating effectively with people who have disabilities;
- Reaching out to people with disabilities in the community;
- Improving physical accessibility of health department facilities;
- Finding existing data or collecting new data about people with disabilities in local health department jurisdictions;
- Training staff, including accessing online trainings for nurses, emergency planners, emergency responders, leaders of health promotion programs, healthcare providers, and professionals interested in obtaining a graduate certificate in disability and public health;
- Preventing violence and abuse;
- Understanding and using assistive technology (e.g., screen readers, teletypewriters [TTYs], communication access realtime transcription services [CART]);
- Employing people with disabilities and creating an inclusive organizational culture; and
- Promoting reproductive and maternal health.
NACCHO will be rolling out a new toolbox interface as part of its website redesign soon. For now, you can visit NACCHO’s Toolbox Archive to access these resources. Select “Health and Disability Toolkit” from the drop-down menu to browse, or enter search terms to find information on specific topics.