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An Inclusive Health and Wellness Community of Practice in Iowa

State: Iowa

Submitted Date: 2018

Public Health Issue
  • Only eight of Iowa’s 99 counties specifically mentioned people with disabilities as a focus for their health promotion strategies related to nutrition, physical activity, or healthy weight in their most recent Health Improvement Plans.
  • Iowa county public health departments have limited resources for the work to improve disability inclusiveness in their health and wellness programs.
  • Education can help professionals outside of the disability service world to understand that inclusion means more than meeting just the minimum standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Program Action
  • The University of Iowa and the Iowa Department of Public Health convened a virtual community of practice to increase local public health professionals knowledge of and ability to implement program, policy, system, and/or environmental (PPSE) changes designed to reduce health inequities experienced by people with disabilities.
  • Participants, including staff from four local public health departments, learn how to integrate nutrition, physical activity, and weight maintenance for people with disabilities into their health promotion strategies.
  • A staff member from Siouxland Public Health, the public health agency for Woodbury County, serves as the peer expert for the community of practice. The expert shares information and experience gained through participation in the National Association of Chronic Disease Directors’ Reaching People with Disabilities through Healthy Communities pilot project, including how to conduct a Community Health Inclusion Index assessment.
  • Each participating county is working to implement a PPSE change before the community of practice concludes in June 2018.
  • The project’s state expert advisor on disability inclusion joined the Johnson County Public Health Alliance for Healthy Living. Input from people with disabilities will be integrated into the Johnson County Health Improvement Plan planning process.
Caitlin Owens
University of Iowa Center for Disabilities and Development