The four goals included in The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Improve the Health and Wellness of Persons with Disabilities are as follows:
- Increase understanding nationwide that people with disabilities can lead long, healthy, and productive lives;
- Increase knowledge among health care professionals and provide them with tools to screen, diagnose, and treat the whole person with a disability with dignity;
- Increase awareness among people with disabilities of the steps they can take to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle; and
- Increase accessible health care and support services to promote independence for people with disabilities.
Virtually every HHS operating and staff division has initiatives to support this critical effort, headed by OPHS’s Office of the Surgeon General (OSG) and OD. Moreover, a broad array of Federal agencies, including the U.S. Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Education, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, Justice, Labor, Veterans Affairs, and the National Science Foundation, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, and the Social Security Administration, as well as many non-Federal stakeholders, have committed to pursuing these goals.
Of particular note is HRSA’s effort to provide health and community resource information and peer support to families having children and youth with special health care needs. Family-to-Family Health Information Centers, funded under the Dylan Lee James Family Opportunity Act,3 will be family-run, statewide centers in every State and the District of Columbia and will be responsible for developing partnerships with those organizations serving these children and their families. They also will be charged with monitoring the progress of programs with responsibility for payment and direct services of this population through a statewide data collection system.
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