July 2024 Impact Brief CEO Message

July CEO Message

This July, we celebrate the resilience and achievements of individuals with disabilities. Disability Pride Month originated from celebrations when the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in July of 1990, and serves as a reminder of the progress made towards disability rights, inclusion, and equity while also recognizing the ongoing challenges people with disabilities face in achieving equal treatment and opportunities in society.

Approximately one in four adults in the United States have some type of disability. Adults with disabilities are more likely to experience obesity, use tobacco products, and/or develop heart disease or diabetes. Much of this is caused by barriers to healthcare services access and social determinants of health. These barriers can exacerbate chronic conditions and complicate disease management.

One way we can work towards a future where all individuals, regardless of their abilities or health conditions, can live healthy, fulfilling lives is by implementing inclusive policy, systems, and environmental changes—in a thoughtful and intentional way.

NACDD Public Health Consultant Karma Edwards said it best in a recent article in The Nation’s Health (an American Public Health Association publication)–“There’s a big difference between something that’s ADA-compliant and something that’s fully inclusive.”

Edwards leads NACDD’s Walkability Action Institute, which highlights accessibility and disability inclusion in its curriculum, and also led NACDD’s national pilot program Reaching People with Disabilities through Healthy Communities. The CDC-supported project funded five states and 10 communities to instill lasting and sustainable health changes, resulting in more than 600 inclusive policy, systems, and environmental changes, such as adding public wheelchair charging stations, inclusive maps and signage at parks, and auditory beacons at crosswalks.

Watch a video about the work: https://vimeo.com/935414974

One of our newer projects, the National Disability Inclusion Network for Tobacco Control and Cancer Prevention, is a CDC-funded cooperative agreement that aims to advance the prevention of commercial tobacco use and cancer in populations experiencing tobacco- and cancer-related health disparities with a focus on people with disabilities, including U.S. Veterans.

In partnership with the Lakeshore Foundation, NACDD will establish regional Communities of Practice, provide training and technical assistance, and implement mass reach health communication strategies. Read the Disability Inclusion Network’s newsletter to learn more.

NACDD realizes that making communities more walkable and accessible, and tackling health disparities is not just a public health problem; it involves public health counterparts including the healthcare sector, transportation, planning, education, elected officials, economic development, housing, transit, parks and recreation, and a variety of advocacy groups. Recently, NACDD joined healthcare leaders from across the country in committing to action that will improve the way healthcare and public health work together, as members of the Common Health Coalition.

Through partnership and collaboration, we can work collectively to address some of the major health concerns of our time. NACDD’s commitment to inclusion, equity, and justice must drive our efforts as we strive to create a more accessible and equitable healthcare system for everyone.

Join us in celebrating Disability Pride Month by raising awareness, advocating for change, and supporting inclusive health initiatives. Together, we can build a healthier, more inclusive future for everyone.

Follow us on Facebook and LinkedIn this month for actionable tips for public health professionals to ensure their work is inclusive. And join NACDD’s National Disability Inclusion Network with partner the Lakeshore Foundation for a new training that will introduce tobacco control and cancer prevention professionals to fundamental concepts and strategies for including people with disabilities throughout their work.

Tuesday, July 23 at 2:00 p.m.
Including People With Disabilities: A Training Series For Tobacco Control and Cancer Prevention Professionals
Register Now

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