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New Data On "Health Communities" Effort To Help Those With Intellectual Disabilities

Nov 19, 2014

Credit Special Olympics/Golisano Foundation

Special Olympics has released data which  officials say shows that the Healthy Communities initiative has narrowed the health care gap for people with intellectual disabilities.

That initiative, launched in 2012, began with a $12 million gift from Paychex founder and philanthropist Tom Golisano.  Healthy Communities provides health services to people with intellectual disabilities, a population that is medically under-served.

Organizers say that in just two years, Health Communities has provided more than 52,000 free health examinations at over 400 clinics, and trained nearly 12,000 health care professionals to provide ongoing, community-based care for patients with intellectual disabilities.

Ann Costello is director of the Golisano Foundation. She says there has been a gap in care for people with intellectual disabilities.

“Oftentimes their care is complicated, and does need some special training. So, more times than not, people with intellectual disabilities have a hard time finding a health care practitioner that’s willing to see them and take care of their health needs”

It was announced on Wednesday that the Healthy Communities initiative will be expanded from 14 sites to 100 by 2025.

It was also announced that top disability and global health and development experts will convene at UNICEF headquarters in New York City on December 10 to develop a worldwide campaign to help reduce health disparities for people with intellectual disabilities. The workshop is sponsored by the Golisano Foundation.