Inclusive Community Health Promotion
Many communities across the country have participated in a change process to improve the health and health outcomes of their community, yet more and equal effort is required to address the health barriers and needs for people with disabilities. For this reason, the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD), funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (CDC NCBDDD), in partnership with Easter Seals, the YMCA, and others, is working to correct this gap in order to create an inclusive community change process through the Inclusive Health Coalition initiative.
Inclusive Health Coalitions (IHCs) are diverse groups of community leaders and organizations focused on promoting disability inclusion in programs and services related to physical activity, nutrition and obesity. Coalition efforts focus on the removal of barriers that prevent people with disabilities from achieving the same health transformation opportunities available to community members without disabilities through the creation and modification of community health policies, systems, and environments.
Research shows that the estimated 56 million Americans with disabilities are not only at greater risk of developing serious health conditions associated with sedentary lifestyles, such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, but also face greater environmental barriers that impede their access. Coupled with health promotion initiatives that are inaccessible and seldom target improving the health of people with disabilities, the low activity status of people with disabilities is of concern. The lack of guidance and translation of inclusive practices make this an issue of public health concern. A well-planned “livable” community is one that makes the right choice the easy choice and includes people of all abilities.
NCHPAD and Easter Seals will create several resources to assist IHCs and other coalitions and groups dedicated to inclusive community health promotion. The first of these is the Community Health Inclusion Sustainability Planning (CHISP) Guide. Created by a national panel of experts in disability and health as an addendum to CDC's A Sustainability Planning Guide for Healthy Communities, the CHISP provides insight and guidance for creating inclusive healthy change that is both effective and sustainable across the test of time, ensuring that coalition efforts have both immediate and lasting impacts. NCHPAD invites you to read the CHISP and incorporate any of its tenets into your own healthy community change efforts to create a broader reach that fosters inclusion of people of all abilities.
Inclusive Health Coalitions are gearing up to make lasting change in communities nationwide, and we want you to be part of it. To join or form an Inclusive Health Coalition or for more information, contact NCHPAD: firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2012. Disability and Health. www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/disabilityandhealth/relatedconditions.html