The National Center on Health, Physical Activity, and Disability (NCHPAD) at the University of Alabama at Birmingham has received a renewed grant of $25 million. NCHPAD will utilize this grant funding to expand its role in promoting access and information for health and wellness to people with disabilities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 61 million adults in the United States live with a disability. Living with a disability can be challenging enough, but research shows people with disabilities also tend to have more health problems. The CDC notes that 16.3 percent of adults with a disability have diabetes, whereas only 7.2 percent of adults with a disability have diabetes. In addition, one in four adults with disabilities did not have a routine check-up in the past year.
“This round of funding really solidifies the vision and dream to establish a center that supports the public health and health services sectors in recognizing and responding to the needs of people with disabilities in all areas of health and wellness,” said James Rimmer, the director of the center. “Our goal is to transform patients into participants. Having a disability is often perceived as someone with poor health. In fact, there are many people with disability who have better health than people without disability.”
Author’s note: There are also grants available for U.S. nonprofits for community benefit programs and activities. These grants of up to $20,000 are for programs, including those that benefit people with disabilities.
Increasing Access to Health and Wellness Programs for People with Disabilities
Many health and wellness programs are not inclusive to people with disabilities. For example, this can refer to people with mobility issues, visually or hearing impaired, those with developmental disabilities, and more.
This grant renewal will go toward expanding the center’s current capacity. Specifically, Rimmer says that the first strategy is to develop a data coordination center for patients with mobility limitations. This center will enable the referral (and enrollment) of these patients to health promotion programs.
James Rimmer, director of NCHPAD, laid out five goals when the center was founded:
- To provide a web-based portal for people with disabilities to learn to be active, eat well, and manage their weight.
- For the center to train health professionals, such as nutritionists and exercise physiologists how to better serve people with disabilities.
- To develop better communication networks, particularly through use of social media, to promote good health and physical activity.
- For the center to build a leadership base with local partners to create a community health inclusion sustainability plan.
- To develop systems to ensure that the needs of people with disabilities are considered in healthcare policy decisions.