Future directions in Disability and Health Excerpt from Dr Gloria Krahn’s Acceptance Speech of Lifetime Achievement Award of the APHA Disability Section

“…Let me offer some projections for future developments for Disability and Health:
We’re in the midst of another major transition—Disability Inclusion.  That is from thinking about disability as a minority population with unique issues that need to be addressed within separate systems, to holding a perspective that assumes inclusion and accommodates for disability; where we regard disability status as just one of the characteristics or determinants that define us and our life experiences.  This social determinants perspective represents an important shift from a minority view to an inclusion view. It should re-cast where we identify disability, our research design and analyses, our methods of intervention, and our communication and policy strategies.
And as we push to be included in mainstream public health programs and policies—that is, playing with the big boys and girls– we need to be ready with rigorous data and science, and strategic policies and communications. 
The second issue I hope we’ll see development in is on the international and global arena.  The US disability and public health agenda has been fairly domestically focused, and perhaps even resistant to taking a global perspective.  I think we saw that with the slow adoption of the ICF.  The World Health Organization and United Nations have pushed forward some noteworthy achievements:  
These include the UN Convention on Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the World Report on Disability, and a recent Initiative to promote inclusion of children with disabilities.

We have a lot to learn from experiences of other countries.  And we have a lot to share.  As one of the most resourced countries in the world, we have a responsibility to share our knowledge and to think about applicability for different situations and populations.  In recent discussions with international colleagues in intellectual disabilities, we began the dialogue about how data-rich countries could support approaches in countries with little data, including how to avoid some of the dead-ends that we may have pursued….”
(Excerpt from the Acceptance Speech on Monday 30 November 2012. Dr Krahn received the APHA Disability Section’s Lifetime Archievement Award)

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