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August 2, 2012

HavercampSusanCOLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State University Nisonger Center and Ohio Department of Health were recently awarded a $900,000 grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to promote health, prevent chronic disease, and increase the quality of life among people with disabilities.

This is the first time that Ohio is among the states awarded this grant to develop and strengthen health-related disability programs. States awarded this three-year grant will work to increase capacity and action in health promotion, access to health care and emergency preparedness for people with disabilities.

The National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities of the CDC awarded The Ohio State University Nisonger Center the competitive funding opportunity announcement, Improving the Health of People with Disabilities Through State-Based Public Health Programs. Dr. Susan M. Havercamp, director of health promotion and health care parity at the Nisonger Center, is principal investigator.

The Ohio Disability and Health Program (ODHP) is a partnership between the Ohio Department of Health and Ohio’s two University Centers of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDDs): the Nisonger Center and the University of Cincinnati UCEDD at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

ODHP will establish and work with a disability community planning group, consisting of state and community disability agencies, individuals with disabilities and family members, that will guide, advise and assist in program activities, ensuring that the voice of the disability community is represented throughout its projects.

“The Ohio Disability and Health Program is an exciting partnership between Ohio universities and state agencies with a common outcome of improving the health and access to healthcare services for all persons with disabilities,” said Dr. Marc J. Tassé, director of the Nisonger Center and a clinical psychologist.

The scope of ODHP is wide, and these efforts will collectively improve health for Ohioans with disabilities. All ODHP activities will be effectively monitored and evaluated throughout the project period to ensure achievable, measureable and relevant outcomes. Ohio’s health surveillance and monitoring activities will improve with the government resource center leading the effort for developing and implementing standards for quantifying, measuring and tracking health issues among Ohioans with disabilities.

Additionally, ODHP will increase awareness of disability policy initiatives related to health. Partnering closely with the Ohio Department of Health’s Division of Prevention, the Department of Aging, and Centers for Independent Living, ODHP will increase health promotion opportunities for people with disabilities that maximize health. Access to care for people with disabilities will be improved by working with the Ohio Association of Community Health Centers and increasing accessibility in Ohio’s Federally Qualified Health Centers.

ODHP will also work with the Ohio Emergency Management Agency (EMA) and the Office of Health Preparedness to improve health preparedness for people with disabilities by including disability representatives on emergency planning committees, revising Ohio EMA plans to adequately address their needs, increase the number of people with disabilities who have emergency plans, and improve accessibility of emergency planning (by training first responders and by increasing accessibility of emergency shelters). Furthermore, ODHP will provide disability and health-related technical assistance for businesses, organizations and people with disabilities in Ohio.

CDC funds 18 state-based programs with technical support provided by the Association of University Centers on Disabilities to improve health, independence, community participation, and quality of life for people with disabilities. Each state Disability and Health program proposes activities to meet its particular needs, but information sharing across these states is a powerful resource that enables them to continually improve.

The Nisonger Center, a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, is part of The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and was founded in 1966 to provide assistance to people with disabilities, families, service providers and organizations by promoting inclusion of people with disabilities in education, health, employment and community settings.


Contact: Eileen Scahill, Wexner Medical Center Public Affairs and Media Relations, 614-293-3737, or