Focus on Public Health:  Importance of health screenings for people with disabilities

The first week of April was National Public Health Week, and the American Public Health Association (APHA) and its various partners came together to celebrate and advocate for public health.  This year’s overarching theme was “Creating the Healthiest Nation 2030:  For Science, For Action, For Health.”  Daily themes included:  healthy communities, violence Prevention, rural health, and technology and public health, among others.  APHA’s mission is to improve the health of the public and achieve equity in health status for all individuals and communities.  Similarly, the American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD) mission is to advance the health promotion and wellness initiatives for children and adults with disabilities.  AAHD works to reduce health disparities between people with disabilities and the general population, and supports full community inclusion and accessibility through advocacy, education, public awareness, and research efforts at all levels.

People with disabilities need health programs, services, and screenings for the same reasons anyone does – to be healthy, active, and part of the community.  However, according to AAHD, the roughly 54 million Americans who have some type of disability are less likely to receive health screenings than other Americans despite being at higher risk of many chronic conditions and illness. Health screenings in particular may be very important: Health screenings are the gateway to health resources, including medical care, social support groups, and health promotion interventions.  Addressing the attitudinal and physical barriers to healthcare access is essential to ensuring people with disabilities receive the screenings necessary to maintain good health.

According to AAHD, comprehensive preventative health care should include:

  • Routine screenings
  • Routine immunizations
  • Risk assessment
  • Healthy lifestyle counseling (i.e., risks of smoking, drug/alcohol use, etc.)
  • Sexual and reproductive health counseling (i.e., birth control, sexual transmitted diseases, etc.)

Learn more about disability and healthy living from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  Everyone needs an ounce of prevention — Get Preventive Health Care Resources for you or someone you care about.

About cgraves34

Media Specialist for the National Rehabilitation Information Center (NARIC) funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) through Administration for Community Living (ACL) under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
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