Around the world, people with disabilities face physical, social, economic and attitudinal barriers that exclude them from participating fully and effectively as equal members of society. December 3rd is International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This year's theme is "break barriers, open doors: for an inclusive society for all." The commemoration of this year's International Day of Persons with Disabilities provides an opportunity to further raise awareness of disability and accessibility as a cross cutting development issue. It will also further the global efforts to promote accessibility, remove all types of barriers, and to realize the full and equal participation of people with disabilities in society and shape the future of development for all.1
A CDC Initiative: Including People with Disabilities
At CDC, we operate on the principle that people with disabilities are best served by Public Health when they are included in mainstream public health activities. To that end, inclusion might require appropriate accommodations to reduce or eliminate barriers that limit the participation of people with disabilities in health activities. When children and adults with disabilities receive needed programs, services and health care across their lifespan, they can reach their full potential, have an improved quality of life, and experience independence.
In 2010, CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden established an initiative to serve the health needs of people with a disability in the United States. CDC's Disability and Health Work Group was established in 2010 for centers and offices within the agency. The disability inclusion initiative has increased awareness and fostered activities focused on integrating disability into CDC's mainstream public health activities.
People with disabilities need public health programs and healthcare services for the same reasons anyone does—to be well, active, and a part of the community. CDC works to include people with disabilities by
- improving health monitoring of people of all ages with disabilities to identify disparities in health between people with and without disabilities;
- including disability status indicators in key CDC monitoring programs;
- conducting public health research to understand the health risks experienced by people with disabilities;
- encouraging participation of people with disabilities in program activities conducted or supported by CDC;
- developing and disseminating accessible health communications and messages to people with sensory (e.g., blindness, deafness) or cognitive (e.g., intellectual disability) limitations.
Disability Resources at CDC
Being healthy means the same thing for all of us—staying well so we can lead full, active lives. Having the tools and information to make healthy choices and knowing how to prevent illness is key to being well, with or without a disability.
Visit these resources to learn more:
- Personal Stories from People Living with a Disability
- Healthy Living
- Emergency Preparedness
- Disability and Health Data System (DHDS)
As we commemorate International Day of Persons with Disabilities, we ask you to join us in being a part of the global disability movement to change attitudes and approaches to disability to promote the equity and full inclusion of people with disabilities in society and across public health activities.
- United Nations Enable
- CDC Disability and Health
- CDC National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities