South Dakota: Center for Disabilities at the Sanford School of Medicine of The University of South Dakota in Sioux Falls

July 9, 2007

The South Dakota UCEDD, Center for Disabilities (CD), has made concentrated efforts to improve the health and wellness of South Dakotans with disabilities. CD operates the state's only Dietetic Internship Program, one that is unique in the nation as it is the only dietetic internship, approved by the American Dietetics Association, with a focus on individuals with disabilities and/or special health care needs. CD's staff has assisted the South Dakota Department of Health in the development of the State Plan for Nutrition and Physical Activity To Prevent Obesity and Other Chronic Diseases, a plan that focuses on all South Dakotan's including those with disabilities. Recently, CD began working with three community-based service organizations to develop nutrition educational materials with appropriate readability and literacy levels for individuals with disabilities to enable them to make healthy food choices assisting with effectively managing their diabetes and weight. Along with the development of educational materials, the project is providing extensive nutrition education to the target population, along with their family members and direct support workers. By addressing these health literacy issues, the target population, with assistance from their service providers, families and community members, will be able to improve their overall health outcomes over the long term.