NACDD’s Inclusive Healthy Community National Pilot Project Nearing Its End

Almost four years ago, NACDD received funding from the CDC Disability and Health Branch to launch a national pilot project to make healthy choices the easy choices for people in areas where they live, learn, work, play, pray, and receive care – with a principle focus on disability inclusion. Through this Reaching People with Disabilities through Healthy Communities project, NACDD funded the five state Disability and Health Programs of Iowa, Montana, New York, Ohio, and Oregon and two communities from each of those states to receive training, technical assistance, and resources to achieve new policies, systems, or environments (PSE) that increase access and opportunity for healthy living behaviors, such as healthy eating, physical activity, tobacco prevention and reduction, and general accessibility and inclusion improvements.

State and community grantees were guided through a proven five-phased healthy community model by the NACDD Project Team to navigate the healthy community change process on the local level. Each community was paired with a State Expert Advisor, who provided state specific disability and health expertise to Community Coaches and coalitions throughout the entire project period. PSE strategies targeted the five community sectors of community-at-large (CAL), community institutions and organizations (CIO), schools, healthcare, and worksites.

With this year’s funding, the NACDD Project Team is focusing on broadly sharing the successes and lessons learned from this project in hopes to inspire other states and communities to integrate a focus on disability inclusion with their local and state healthy community efforts. To do this, NACDD and the state and community participants are implementing a number of communication and dissemination activities together, such as social media messaging, developing written testimonials, podcasts, recreating project webpages, presenting at conferences, submitting for publications, and developing new video success stories. 

NACDD is partnering with Rocket Camp to develop four new video success stories to showcase new project successes achieved within the last year. The four communities that were selected for the video success stories were Carroll County, Iowa, Sioux City, Iowa, Butte, Montana, and Helena, Montana. Below is a sneak peek at the soon-to-be-released video stories:

  • In Carroll County, Iowa, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities now have designated exercise time with certified personal trainers at a local fitness center, and construction of a new inclusive playground at Northeast Park is now underway.
  • In Sioux City, Iowa, Cone Park visitors now have winter and summer activity options with the creation of accessible sledding and ice rink in the winter, and an accessible splash pad in the summer.
  • In Butte, Montana, the new accessible pool and all-abilities playground is now open and serves as the main attraction at Stodden Park by park goers of all ages and abilities. The accessible pool is complete with zero entry options for wheelchair users, as well as features a lazy river, water slides, and a water park for kids of all ages. The all-abilities playground features multiple playgrounds for various ages of children and includes onsite exercise stations for adults. Another new Stodden Park feature includes recent updates to the park’s carousel, which now features new accessibility components so wheelchair users can participate in riding the carousel.
  • In Helena, Montana, a new inclusive employee workgroup was established at the Lewis and Clark Health Department, where local health department employees are now integrating new PSE changes that are inclusive to persons with disabilities who either work at, or are serviced by, the local health department.

The NACDD Project Team is currently reviewing all final PSE outcomes from the five states and 10 local communities, as well as reconstructing this project’s webpage on the NACDD website. Stay tuned for our release of the final project reports and the new project page!

For more information on how to integrate disability inclusion into your state or community efforts, please contact NACDD’s Project Lead Karma Harris at kedwards@chronicdisease.org.