Inclusion. Health Education. Collaborative partners. Disability friendly and accessible resources. These are the pieces of the puzzle when it comes to addressing the health disparities experienced by individuals with disabilities. The health & wellness initiative at the Human Development Institute, (HDI) in partnership with the Kentucky Department Behavioral Health, Development and Intellectual Disabilities, received a highly competitive award from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to address such disparities. Project CHEER (Community Health Education and Exercise Resources) will partner with departments across the University of Kentucky, the Kentucky Department of Public Health and more, in order to develop nutrition and healthy lifestyle based educational programs. These educational programs will include; adapted exercise programs promoting increased physical activity and community partnerships promoting healthy lifestyle choices for all Kentuckians, that can then be shared with a broader audience across the nation for any program looking to implement inclusive health programming.
The program will significantly expand the implementation of the HealthMatters curriculum under HDI’s existing Health and Wellness Initiative that has been serving people with disabilities in Kentucky since 2014.
“HDI is pleased to be part of this innovative and much needed project,” said HDI Executive Director Kathy Sheppard-Jones. “We recognize the significant health challenges faced by Kentuckians, and particularly for people with mobility or cognitive limitations. We look forward to enhancing partnerships throughout the state and providing enhanced skills and knowledge that lead to healthier lifestyles across the Commonwealth!”
“The overall health of Kentuckians with disabilities is an important issue that must be addressed,” said Health and Family Services Cabinet Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson in a news release. “We must work to erase physical activity barriers that are prohibiting individuals with disabilities from leading full, active lives and increase access to healthy food in our communities. If we are truly committed to moving Kentucky forward, we must address the health of our state — and for all Kentuckians.”
Be on the lookout in the coming months for more information and updated resources for Project CHEER to be housed right here on wellness4ky.org!