"Health Inequities and Disability: Addressing an Injustice through Advocacy and Research"
Dennis Heaphy & Monika Mitra
Despite calls by the Surgeon General,
CDC and others, public health practitioners too often fail to recognize persons
with disabilities as a population with a unique history of oppression resulting
from lack of civil rights in American society.
Like other federally recognized protected classes such as
African-Americans, Latinos and women etc., persons with disabilities as a
population have been denied and continue to be denied their civil rights in
education, employment, housing, health care etc. Inequities in health access
and health outcomes for persons with disabilities as a population remains
rooted in discrimination and ignorance just as it does in ethnic and racial minority
populations. These negative social
determinants are exacerbated when disability intersects with ethnic or racial minority
This presentation will describe how
systemic violations of the civil rights of persons with disabilities results in
wide scale preventable poor health outcomes and secondary disabling
conditions. It will provide context for
these outcomes by providing information on social determinants including,
poverty, unemployment, isolation, violence, and low levels of education. Emerging models that more accurately capture
the complexity of disability will be discussed providing participants with a
better understanding of why focusing on this population is an important social
justice issue. It will focus on
collaborative steps being undertaken in Massachusetts by disability advocates,
nontraditional allies, elected officials and state agencies to address
inequities in health access and health outcomes for persons with disabilities
and their interface with the Affordable Care Act. Finally, participants will learn five
practical methods of incorporating disability into health equity research.
By session's end participants will have the capacity to:
- Articulate the role of civil rights and social justice in
decreasing inequities in health access and health outcomes for persons with
- Identify emerging models of disability that more accurately
capture the complexity of disability
- Identify 10 social determinants of secondary disabling
- Name five positive collaborative steps that can be taken
across state entities to decrease inequities in health access and health
outcomes for persons with disabilities and other populations.
- Name 5 specific steps to incorporating disability into
research addressing health disparities.