It is a common but incorrect notion that having a disability means poor health. But health and the absence of disability are not the same. People with disabilities can be healthy and well, and good health has a great impact on their ability to work and be an active part of their families and communities.
However, people with disabilities can face obstacles to obtaining the information and services that are necessary to achieve and maintain good health. These obstacles include:
- the lack of physical access to hospitals and doctors' offices.
- obtaining information in an accessible format (such as materials in the appropriate cognitive level, Braille, large print, or American Sign Language).
- encountering attitudes that may prevent healthcare providers from seeing a person with a disability as a whole person.
In addition to these obstacles to good health, people with disabilities are at greater risk for secondary conditions (like diabetes, obesity, and arthritis) than people without disabilities.
For these reasons, the US Surgeon General and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recognized the health disparities among people with disabilities as an important public health issue. The Disability Health program at the Michigan Department of Community Health is funded through a grant from CDC to integrate people with disabilities into existing health promotion programs.
The Michigan Health Promotion for People with Disabilities Initiative is a statewide partnership committed to reducing the health disparities between people with disabilities and people without disabilities through member collaboration, expertise, and leveraged resources.
This initiative will address health disparities in people with disabilities through four dimensions:
- Improving the access of people with disabilities to health care and health screening
- Promoting management by people with disabilities of their own health and risks
- Improving the response of health providers to people with disabilities
- Integrating disability and health into existing health promotion activities
For additional information, please contact:
Candice Lee, Program Coordinator
For the program's priorities, recommendations, data on the health status of people with disabilities in Michigan, and action plans currently implemented, view the 2012-2014 Strategic Plan.
View the Michigan Partnership for Health & Disability website.
Find services and programs for people with disabilities at Michigan Disability Resources. These services include assistance in finding a job, learning about the latest assistive technology, and your rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act.