You can make a difference in your daily work. Here are a few strategies to help you take action in a meaningful way now.
Identify policy changes to include people with disabilities in public health efforts.
Action Example: Programs designed to be inclusive at the outset expand reach, ensure accessibility and are more cost effective than retrofitting or modifying inaccessible programs. Adults with disabilities in New York are 35% more likely to characterize their health as fair or poor compared with adult New Yorkers without disabilities. New York State (NYS) also has the highest disability-associated health expenditures of any state in the country—more than $40 billion. The Disability and Health Program (DHP) within the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) initiated a policy change to ensure public health programs are integrating the needs of people with disabilities into initiatives. The Inclusion Policy, which proposes including people with disabilities in the initial stages of procurement development, became a requirement in 2009 for programs and services released by the NYSDOH Center for Community Health (CCH). The DHP worked with the CCH to integrate disability components into a variety of public health programs, including tobacco cessation, food security, adolescent pregnancy prevention, and obesity prevention. With this effort, approximately $123.5 million is saved annually.
Identify the most appropriate definition of disability to tailor public health efforts to the audience.
Action Example: The University of Delaware’s Center for Disabilities Studies initiated a partnership with the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children (AIDHC), Christiana Care Health System, Inc., and the Delaware Division of Public Health with the goal of improving health care transition for Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN). According to the National Survey on Children with Special Health Care Needs (CSHCN),1 13% of all children in the U.S. under the age of 18 have a special health care need.1 Coordinated services are critical for these children as they prepare to transition to the adult health care system. However, data show that only 41% of Delaware’s estimated 34,500 children with special health care needs receive transition preparation. Since establishing the Division of Transition of Care in February 2010, AIDHC has prepared more than 150 children and young adults for transition through consultation, medical history summaries and referrals to an adult health care provider.