International Day of Persons with Disabilities – Research on Health and Health Disparities

December 3rd is International Day of Persons with Disabilities. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 1 billion people worldwide experience disability, and that number is growing. Advances in healthcare and assistive technology are helping people with disabilities live longer, and more people are aging into disability. Even as people with disabilities are living longer, they still face health inequities resulting in poorer health and function than their peers without disabilities. Research has also shown that caregivers of people with disabilities experience poorer health and function than non-caregivers. On December 2nd, WHO will launch the Global Report on Health Equity for Persons with Disabilities to raise awareness about health equity and mobilize action across a range of stakeholders.

The latest NIDILRR-funded research on disability and health includes projects exploring disparities in access to healthcare and health outcomes and investigating solutions around barriers to care. Here’s a quick look at a few of the current research and development activities in the Health and Function research domain:

These are just a few examples of the NIDILRR-funded work in identifying and addressing health disparities among people with disabilities. You can explore the current projects funded under the Health and Function domain in the NIDILRR Program Database on our website.

Our Research In Focus series has covered some of the important work from the NIDILRR community in this area:


Diabetes Prevention Program May Help People with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Obesity to Lose Weight, Decrease Risk for Diabetes and Heart Disease

A Novel Music-Based Exercise Intervention May Help Improve Physical Functioning in Adults Post-Stroke

Individually Tailored, Remotely-Delivered Interventions May Offer Promise for Weight Reduction in People with Intellectual Disabilities

A Peer-Led Health Management Program May Benefit Health, Hopefulness, and Employment for People with Serious Mental Illness

Moving to Music Shows Promise to Improve Fitness for People with MS

Peer to Peer: Training Peer Health Coaches to Lead a Health Messages Program for Their Peers with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities


Even with Health Insurance, Transgender People with Disabilities May Have More Unmet Healthcare Needs than Their Cisgender Peers

People with Traumatic Brain Injury May Be More Likely to Use Prescription Opioids and at Higher Risk for Opioid Misuse

Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities from Racial and Ethnic Minority Groups May Perceive Different Barriers to Healthcare than Their White Peers

Lifetime Traumatic Brain Injury History May Be Associated with Intermittent or Persistent Pain and Opioid Use

People Aging with Mobility Disabilities Share Common Challenges and Strategies for Success

People with Childhood Disabilities May Be at Higher Risk for Chronic Diseases as Young Adults

Sexual and Gender Minorities with Autism Spectrum Disorder May Face Challenges to Getting Needed Healthcare

Adults with Disabilities Get More Preventive Care, but Less Dental Care, Than Adults without Disabilities

Pandemic impact

Caregivers of People with Chronic Illness and Disability Reported Increased Health Care Roles During the Pandemic

Rehabilitation Physicians and Counselors Share Their Experience of Working with COVID-19 Long-Haulers and the Challenges These Individuals May Face Returning to Work

How are you and your community celebrating International Day of Persons with Disabilities? Share your celebrations with us on Twitter (tag us @naricinfo) or Facebook!

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