CDC Partners with AUCD to Increase the Capacity of Public Health Professionals to Include People with Disabilities in Planning Efforts

December 15, 2015

One in five Americans (over 54 million people) has a disability.  However, many public health programs do not include them in their program design. This is particularly concerning, as people with disabilities are more likely to have health issues, including chronic conditions related to being overweight and physically inactive, as well as a higher prevalence of smoking.  Very few public health professionals have received specific training on how to incorporate people with disabilities during their efforts to carry out the ten essential public health services outlined by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP).

In October 2015, the AUCD Public Health team, under a cooperative agreement within the CDC, began work on the Including People with Disabilities-Public Health Workforce Competencies project.  The purpose of developing and disseminating these competencies is to provide basic knowledge on the relationship between disability and public health programs and to increase the capacity of public health practitioners to include people with disabilities in their public health efforts. These competencies inform public health professionals what they should be doing to include people with disabilities in their efforts, and provides specific strategies on how to do it, along with strategy highlights providing an examples of how other public health  programs have been able to include people with disabilities. This project will revise the existing drafted competencies, field test the competencies with public health professionals, and develop a robust dissemination plan.

AUCD is actively recruiting public health professionals to review and revise the current draft competency materials; participate in field testing; review the updated competency materials based on this testing; and assist with dissemination. There are three ways you can help:

  1. Serve on the advisory group, which will meet quarterly starting in December 2015.  This group will help with reviewing the competencies, identifying key partnerships, field testing, and dissemination.
  2. Serve on the working group, which will meet monthly and assist with the updating of the competencies and references, updating the environmental scan, field testing and dissemination.
  3. Become a "Partner in the Know".  AUCD will keep you informed of our progress on how the development of these competencies is going and other ways you can help, like being part of a discussion group or giving feedback on strategies that have worked for you.

For more information or to join one of the groups, please contact Shannon M. Haworth, MA, Public Health Program Manager, Association of University Centers on Disabilities, at (301)588-8252 x204 ext. 204 or [email protected].