NACCHO’s Health and Disability Program recently updated its policy statement. NACCHO fellow Erin Linden, MPH student at The University of Minnesota, and NACCHO’s Health and Disability workgroup members were instrumental in developing the revised policy statement.
The overarching goal of NACCHO’s health and disability program is to promote the successful inclusion and engagement of people with disabilities in all local public health activities and the new policy statement clearly articulates this goal. People with disabilities can and should lead healthy and active lives.
People with disabilities continue to experience disparities in health, well-being, and social participation. These disparities are exacerbated when the person with a disability is also a member of another marginalized community. People with disabilities disproportionately live in poverty, face prejudice and discrimination, are under educated, and are under- and unemployed. Individuals with disabilities are also more likely to smoke, have higher rates of obesity, are more likely to be victims of violence and abuse, and are more likely to report stress and depression. In addition, people with disabilities are less likely to be included in emergency planning and response efforts.
In order to address these health disparities experienced by people with disabilities, NACCHO recommends that local health departments (1) understand and overcome the barriers faced by people with disabilities; and (2) apply the same frameworks and practices used with other health disparity populations to address the health disparities experienced by people with disabilities.
NACCHO has developed several resources to help local health departments become more inclusive of people with disabilities, which can be found in NACCHO’s Bookstore at the following links:
- Directory of Community-Based Organizations Serving People with Disabilities
- Strategies for Successfully Including People with Disabilities in Health Department Programs, Plans, and Services
- What Local Health Departments Should Know about the Population of People with Disabilities
- Including People with Disabilities in Physical Activity, Nutrition, and Smoking Programs Offered by Local Health Departments
- Including People with Disabilities in Reproductive Health Programs and Services