The mission of AAHD is to advance health promotion and wellness initiatives for children and adults with disabilities. AAHD’s goal are to reduce health disparities between people with disabilities and the general population, and to support full community inclusion and accessibility. AAHD accomplishes its mission through advocacy, education, public awareness, and research efforts at the federal, state, and community levels.
What is AAHD?
The American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD) is a cross-disability national non-profit 501(c)(3) organization committed to promoting health and wellness initiatives for children and adults with disabilities.
AAHD is the only national organization specifically dedicated to integrating public health and disability into the overall public health agenda.
AAHD strives to advance theory, knowledge and practice in reducing health disparities in children and adults with disabilities and to advance community inclusion and and full accessibility.
AAHD’s members are composed of disability researchers, health care professionals, public health professionals, policy analysts, disability organizations, health departments, people with disabilities, caregivers, family members, and interested members of the general public.
What Does AAHD Do?
- AAHD hosts and maintains the AAHD website and AAHD Health Promotion Resource Center (HPRC), a comprehensive clearinghouse on disability and health on www.aahd.us.
- AAHD represents people with disabilities in significant national activities related to health and disability, disability policy, disability research and disability services.
- AAHD partners with health care and disability organizations, academic and research institutions and federal agencies.
- AAHD disseminates current scientific, programmatic and policy information on disability and health for people with disabilities through AAHD website, listserves, newsletters, webinars, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms.
- AAHD provides technical assistance to federal agencies, non-profits and academic institutions.
- AAHD advocates and supports programs that improve the lives of people with disabilities at the national level, state and community level.
- AAHD holds leadership roles on national coalitions and task forces in both the private and public sector.
AAHD Major Accomplishments
- AAHD established the National Disability Navigator Resource Collaborative.
- AAHD co-PI on Disability Research and Dissemination Center.
- AAHD established AAHD Public Policy Center.
- AAHD created the Medline indexed and peer reviewed Disability and Health Journal, www.disabilityandhealthjnl.com.
- AAHD launched Disability and Public Health News, AAHD’s weekly electronic newsletter: www.aahd.us/news.
- AAHD created the AAHD National, Research, Knowledge Translation and Dissemination Center: www.aahd.us/initiatives/dissemination
- AAHD created the AAHD Scholarship Fund for undergraduate and graduate students with disabilities: www.aahd.us/initiatives/scholarship-program.
- AAHD implemented AAHD State and Regional Liaison Network to increase communications and information sharing throughout the nation.
- AAHD developed the National Disability and Public Health Resource Center, a free on-line clearinghouse on disability and health for professionals and the public: www.aahd.us/resource-center.
- AAHD receives numerous contracts from universities, non-profits and government agencies to develop targeted outreach dissemination strategies and provide technical assistance.
AAHD was founded in response to a new national health and disability policy that was emerging in the 1980’s. In the mid-eighties, major developments made a significant impact on creating a national disability agenda.
The first development was the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which closed the gap in the guarantees of civil rights for persons with disabilities. Another important development was the creation of the National Program for the Prevention of Disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In addition to the National Program for the Prevention of Disabilities, two other developments reflected growing interest in preventing disabling conditions. The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Department of Health and Human Services, implemented a national plan for primary prevention set forth in Healthy People 2000, and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report entitled Disability in America (1991).
National interest and concern
The Institute of Medicine soon after received a grant from the National Program for The Prevention of Disabilities at CDC to examine the current status of disability prevention in America. A blue-ribbon committee worked together for almost two years to assess programs and activities related to the prevention of disabling conditions. The report reaffirmed the national interest and concern for the prevention of primary and secondary disabilities in our nation.
The rapidly growing interest in prevention of additional health complications and in health promotion and wellness for people with disabilities by many groups representing Americans with and without disabilities, as well as the expansion of the National Program for the Prevention of Disabilities, reinforced the viability of and need for the American Association on Health and Disability.
In 2000, AAHD modified its mission to focus on the prevention of additional health complications and secondary conditions in people with disabilities and support health promotion and wellness programs that will assist people with disabilities to attain and maintain a positive health status. AAHD continues to support primary prevention strategies that will further assure good health status in people with disabilities.
To date, no other national organization is specifically dedicated to meeting the goals and objectives of AAHD. AAHD continues to fill a critical need to support national, state and community initiatives to integrate disability into the overall public health agenda and to promote health and wellness in people with disabilities.