The Illinois Disability and Health Program is a statewide project initiated jointly by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the University of Illinois at Chicago. The goal of the program is to promote health, well-being, and quality of life among Illinois citizens living with a disability as well as reduce and prevent secondary health conditions related to, or exacerbated by, primary disability.
People with disabilities are known to have an increased risk of chronic health conditions, such as arthritis, obesity, hypertension, and high cholesterol, than those without disabilities. As a group, however, people with disabilities have rarely been targeted by health promotion and disease prevention efforts. The Illinois Disability and Health Program represents an effort to include those with disabilities in on-going health promotion and disease prevention activities. The Program also intends to raise public and professional awareness regarding the importance of reducing secondary health conditions among people with disabilities.
In July 2007, the program was awarded a five-year federal grant from the Disability and Health Team of the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities which is part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Some of the current program activities include, but are not limited to:
- Expanding statewide activities in preventing secondary conditions and promoting health of people with disabilities.
- Maintaining an existing statewide partnership (advisory group) that includes disability advocacy organizations, other state departments, local health departments, health advocacy organizations, university-based programs and people with disabilities, and recruiting new members as necessary to strengthen capacity.
- Maintaining and expanding an existing scientific database on the prevalence and impact of secondary conditions among people with disabilities.
- Increasing health promotion and prevention opportunities and resources for people with disabilities.
- Expanding the awareness of, and opportunities for, local health professionals to have the knowledge and tools to screen, diagnose and work effectively with people with disabilities.
- Increasing the availability and accessibility of health promotion and prevention services, interventions and resources for people with disabilities.