ACL Awards New Grant to Strengthen Healthcare Workforce and Address Health Disparities of People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

September 24, 2020

The Administration for Community Living (ACL) has awarded a $1.75 million cooperative agreement to Rush University that will fill the gaps in medical education training programs by embedding content on individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD) into the curriculum.

“Unfortunately many medical schools do not include content about the needs of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD) into their curriculum for health care students. This all too often leads to poorer health outcomes,” said ACL's Commissioner of the Administration on Disabilities Julie Hocker. “This grant will work to close this critical gap.”

This September, Rush University and its core partner institutions (University of Illinois-Chicago, St. John Fisher College, Villanova University, and University of Minnesota) will start this important work through the Partnering to Transform Health Outcomes with Persons with Intellectual Disabilities and Developmental Disabilities (PATH-PWIDD) program. The PATH-PWIDD program will work with a Consortium, their networks, and committees to address the lack of content about individuals with ID/DD in current medical education training offerings. Through their work Rush will increase:

  • The number of medical and allied health professional students trained in ID/DD;
  • Student knowledge of the health care needs of individuals with I/DD;
  • The number of medical and allied health professionals feeling prepared to provide health care to individuals with ID/DD; and
  • The capacity of medical and allied health care faculty to train their students about the health care needs of individuals with ID/DD.

The program will examine what trainings currently exist and what is missing. Rush intends to impact more than 30 institutions and to train 15,000 students during the five-year project. The program includes active roles for ID/DD advocates and their families during the entire project period.   

The PATH-PWIDD program adds to ACL’s ongoing work to improve healthcare equity. It will complement the Center for Human Dignity funded last September. Both grants aim to increase the life expectancy of people with disabilities and are funded under Projects of National Significance. This award is from September 1, 2020, to August 31, 2025.

Projects of National Significance focus on the most pressing issues affecting people with developmental disabilities and their families. Through the projects, ACL supports the development of national and state policy and awards grants and contracts that enhance the independence, productivity, inclusion, and integration of people with developmental disabilities.

Contact Elizabeth Leef for more information or questions.


Last modified on 09/24/2020


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