HealthMeet

HealthMeet

Project Description

HealthMeet is a new project of The Arc that is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HealthMeet brings together chapters of The Arc, health professionals such as doctors and nurses, and others who study health to help people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (I/DD) live healthier and longer lives.

The mission of the HealthMeet project is to initiate lasting, fundamental change at all levels of the health care system.

The Arc of Massachusetts hosts HealthMeet activities across the state to help people with intellectual disabilities live healthier. These activities include:

  • FREE health assessments for people with I/DD
  • Help for people with intellectual disabilities to find health care services and learn about making healthy choices
  • FREE online classes on health topics
  • Local training sessions for health professionals, medical students, and direct care providers

Need For HealthMeet

People with intellectual disabilities tend to be less healthy than others and get sick more often. They may have more problems with their teeth, eyes, and ears. Or, they may not eat the right foods or get enough exercise.

People with disabilities may sometimes face barriers to getting quality healthcare they need. An example of a barrier is not being able to communicate with health care providers about health concerns.

  • Most health professionals receive limited (if any) training in screening persons with I/DD
  • Many adults with I/DD are not getting age appropriate care because they are still treated by their pediatricians
  • Common medical conditions are often overlooked because of an excessive focus on a person’s disability
  • Information about self-care and health promotion has not been made accessible and widely available to persons with I/DD

Ultimately, even though individuals with I/DD consume medical services at a much higher rate than the general population, this population consumes preventative services at a much lower rate.

Goals and Benefits of HealthMeet

  1. Raise public awareness of main causes of the health disparities experienced by individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD)
  2. Create powerful, cascade solutions that will reduce health disparities for people with I/DD that ultimately would result in increased longevity and improved quality of life.
  3. Assist individuals with determining the next steps to improve and/or enhance their overall health
  4. Connect patients with I/DD to trained health providers and other resources
  5. Train self-advocates, families, and professionals about the importance of daily physical activity and a well-balanced diet
  6. Provide basic trainings to health professionals on how to communicate with and screen persons with I/DD

Participants, Partners and Volunteers

We are constantly looking for participants, volunteers, and new organizations to partner with on the HealthMeet project.

  • Participants – If you are an individual with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities and are interested in signing up for a free health assessment, please visit our participant information page.
  • Partners -If you are a group interested in hosting the HealthMeet project at your organization, please visit our HealthMeet Partners page for more information.
  • Volunteers – If you are a doctor, nurse or other health professional, please visit our volunteer page for more information about volunteering to complete HealthMeet assessments.

Contact

For more information regarding the HealthMeet project, please contact:

Kerry Mahoney
Director of Outreach and Education
781-891-6270 ex. 109
Marisa Young
Program & Development Associate
781-891-6270 ex. 104

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