June 2017 Impact Brief


June 2017

NACDD is the only organization representing all state and jurisdictional chronic disease staff, dedicated to building capacity and making public health good for the public.

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When I was a young boy in the 1970s, I visited my aunt Ida Flagler Daly during her visit to Washington, D.C. Ida, who had muscular dystrophy, was the founder of a disabilities support center in Seattle and traveled the world advocating for the rights of people with disabilities. What struck me then, and continues to inspire me today, is how she persevered, despite considerable physical challenges, in going wherever she needed to go to advocate for the rights of people with disabilities.

With the help of her sister, Marion, Ida would work her way out of cars and onto street corners and into inaccessible bathrooms, always planning ahead (sometimes intentionally dehydrating herself so that she wouldn’t have to try to use an inaccessible bathroom). And when she met with government officials, she’d tell them just why they needed to mandate more accessible drinking fountains and more ramps up to bathrooms. She even wrote a book about her experience, “Adventures in a Wheelchair,” which I keep in my office so that my Aunt Ida can remind me, herself, why inclusion in public health is so important.

The evidence shows that it isn’t just poor city planning that discriminates against people with disabilities. Another impact of inaccessibility is a lack of opportunity for those with disabilities to participate in healthy activities and behaviors. And as a result, diseases such as heart disease and diabetes, more severely impact people with disabilities.

As the leading chronic disease prevention and health promotion association in the U.S., NACDD is proud of our inclusion efforts to promote making healthy choices the easy choices for everyone, regardless of physical or intellectual ability.

We have integrated inclusion courses into many of our core programs, including the Chronic Disease Academy. And in May, NACDD became one of the early signatories to the Partnership for Inclusive Health’s Commit to Inclusion initiative (watch the video of the initiative’s inaugural event at the National Press Club, or read about our formal commitment as part of this group).

Our obesity prevention activities also have helped to achieve some important wins for inclusion in five states and 10 communities this past year. Here are just two examples (you can read more on our What’s Working in Chronic Disease Prevention and Control database):

  • We helped to support local advocates and city officials in Olean, N.Y., to re-design a 3,600-foot, major thoroughfare so that the entire community can enjoy a safer and easier walk to work or to shop.
  • In Adams County, Ohio, we coordinated with partners to provide adaptive bikes to public schools that will benefit more than 700 disabled students.

With these completed projects and with plans for additional programming in this area, we continue to work to make sure that our chronic disease prevention and health promotion efforts offer everyone the chance to improve their own health. And I believe my Aunt Ida would expect no less.

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