Acknowledging and addressing barriers that people face will help you tailor your efforts to
reach and effectively serve all populations in your community. Use these strategies to start conversations and change in your community.
Identify and connect with key partners at various levels.
Action Example: The Disability and Health Program of the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) partnered with Polk County Emergency Management (PCEM) to evaluate disaster shelters for ADA accessibility compliance. IDPH’s partnership with and support from county-level government led to improved accessibility in designated emergency shelters across the state. IDPH continues to partner with disability-related organizations and government agencies to positively impact the lives of people with disabilities.
Network with non-traditional partners.
Action Example: The Learn the Signs. Act Early. Ambassador project is a collaborative effort on behalf of CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD), the Health Resources and Services Administration’s (HRSA) Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB), and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD). Act Early Ambassadors serve as state liaisons to the Learn the Signs. Act Early. Campaign. In Tennessee, the Act Early Ambassador has collaborated with the Tennessee Department of Health to develop a digitally recorded web training presentation for the Home Visiting Program. The presentation was designed to be included in training program options for Home Visiting workers.
Action Example: In Wisconsin, the Ambassador worked with Wisconsin’s Head Start Collaboration Office and the Wisconsin Surveillance on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities System, which resulted in a successful collaboration on the purchase of Wisconsin customized Learn the Signs. Act Early. materials, used for statewide dissemination. In this case, the Wisconsin University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities acted as the fiscal agent, which enabled several agencies to leverage their individual funds into a single print order and purchase materials at a lower cost.
Engage community partners in support of lifestyle changes and supports.
Action Example: In 2016 the Step It Up! The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Walking and Walkable Communities focused on the importance of physical activity for people of all ages and abilities. The purpose of the Call to Action is to increase walking across the United States by calling for improved access to safe and convenient places to walk and wheelchair roll and by creating a culture that supports these activities for people of all ages and abilities.
The Call to Action includes five strategic goals to promote walking and walkable communities in the United States: make walking a national priority; design communities that make it safe and easy to walk for people of all ages and abilities; promote programs and policies to support walking where people live, learn, work, and play; provide information to encourage walking and improve walkability; and fill surveillance, research, and evaluation gaps related to walking and walkability. Action by multiple sectors of society, as well as by families and individuals, will be needed to achieve these goals.
Action Example: The Michigan Disability and Health Program, in collaboration with the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD), hosted an inclusive fitness workshop, attended by over 50 fitness professionals from around the state. Presenters from NCHPAD discussed facility accessibility and inclusiveness, the increased importance of exercise for people with disabilities, and condition-specific concerns. People with disabilities volunteered to be part of the hands-on portion of the workshop, allowing the fitness professionals to work with real people and real lifestyle challenges.
Support the inclusion of people living with disabilities in clinical preventive health services.
Action Example: To help Local Health Departments (LHD’s) successfully include people with disabilities in their public health practice, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) developed Strategies for Successfully Including People with Disabilities in Health Department Programs, Plans, and Services. This resource provides a disability inclusion checklist and a detailed list of strategies that LHDs can implement to become more inclusive of people with disabilities in health promotion programming and emergency preparedness planning.
Build evaluation into programmatic efforts.
Action Example: Florida’s Office on Disability and Health (FODH) received funding from the CDC specifically to develop health care provider training. The project works with faculty members in the department of medicine at University of South Florida (USF) on incorporating disability training into clinical curriculum for students in the 3rd year of medical school and to measure the growth in knowledge, aptitude, comfort and attitude in providing treatment to individuals with disabilities. Project activities and evaluation criteria were developed specifically to support the goal of increasing the capacity of health care providers in Florida to provide quality health care to individuals with disabilities.
Source: Strategies for Successfully Including People with Disabilities in Health Department Programs, Plans, and Services. NACCHO