Category Archives: health and disability

Homelessness Among Individuals with Disabilities: Influential Factors and Scalable Solutions

By Erin Vinoski Thomas, MPH, CHES, Health and Disability Fellow, NACCHO; and Chloe Vercruysse, MBA

This post originally ran in NACCHO Essential Elements blog.

People experiencing homelessness lack sustainable access to housing and instead turn to emergency shelters, transitional housing, or places not meant for overnight residence. In the Unites States on a single night in January 2018, 552,830 people experienced homelessness; between 2.5 and 3.5 million people experience homelessness over the course of any given year. Housing is an important determinant of health, and those who experience homelessness are at greater risk for health challenges. Continue reading

Meet NACCHO’s 2017–2018 Health and Disability Fellows

This story originally ran in NACCHO’s Essential Elements.

The NACCHO Health and Disability Program is thrilled to introduce the 2017-18 cohort of Health and Disability fellows. NACCHO’s Health and Disability Fellowship program is an invaluable opportunity for graduate students pursing degrees in public health to receive hands-on experience in the health and disability field. The fellowship includes providing support to local health departments (LHDs) through NACCHO’s Health and Disability Technical Assistance Program; expanding written and oral communication skills; and participating in networking opportunities with leaders in the health and disability field. This year’s fellows, Katelynd Todd, Vanessa Vassall and Whitney Thurman, come with impressive public health backgrounds. Continue reading

A Look Inside the NACCHO Health and Disability Fellowship Program

Evelyn Arana, left,Tara Lutz, right.

NACCHO is currently seeking two graduate students to become the newest Health and Disability fellows. To provide potential applicants an inside look into the fellowship experience, NACCHO Health and Disability Program Analyst, Sara Lyons, interviewed the program’s two outgoing fellows. Tara Lutz and Evelyn Arana began their fellowship journey last fall. Below they share how the yearlong experience helped propel them into the next phase of their public health careers. View the fellowship flyer for more information about the program. Continue reading

Mental Health Among People with Disabilities: Local Health Departments Can Promote Awareness on Dual Diagnosis

By Evelyn Arana, NACCHO Health and Disability Fellow

This story originally ran in NACCHO’s Essential Elements blog.

In recognition of May’s Mental Health Month, organizations and people across the US are raising awareness for mental health. NACCHO joins the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Mental Health America, and other organizations nationwide in recognizing the importance of addressing mental health illness. It is also important to recognize the increased risk of mental health illness among people with disabilities. Local health departments (LHDs) can embrace Mental Health Month and play a fundamental role in efforts to increase awareness of mental health illness among people with disabilities. NACCHO’s Health and Disability team offers LHDs support and guidance in increasing awareness of mental health illness among this population. Continue reading

Health and Disability Training: The Power to Transform Public Health

meredith-williamsBy Meredith Williams, MPH, 2015–2016 NACCHO Health and Disability Fellow

This story originally ran in NACCHO’s Essential Elements blog.

This October, I had the privilege of representing the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) Health and Disability Team at the American Public Health Association (APHA) Conference in Denver. As a former NACCHO Health and Disability Fellow, I was thrilled to see so much interest in our poster on health and disability training. My time at the conference gave me the chance to share my experiences with training, learn from national disability leaders in public health, and encourage professionals, students, and educators to join us in advancing this crucial field. Continue reading

Just Say Hi: Communicating Effectively with People Who Have Disabilities

just-say-hiBy Meredith Williams, NACCHO Health and Disability Fellow

This fall, the Cerebral Palsy Foundation launched its Just Say Hi campaign to address the discomfort and hesitation many people feel when first attempting to communicate with people who have disabilities. Many local health departments face a similar uncertainty when attempting to communicate with people who have disabilities, which can be a major barrier to preparing for, responding to, and recovering from emergencies and disasters. But the celebrities and public figures featured in the campaign emphasize that communicating with people who have disabilities can be easier than it seems. Whether you watch a campaign video or ask Siri how to start a conversation with someone who has a disability, you’ll receive the same advice: “It’s easy. Just say ‘Hi.’” Continue reading