The Healthy Delawareans with Disabilities Project has been guided by a community-based Advisory Council since Delaware received the first planning grant on disability and health in 2005.
Comprised of members with an interest in promoting health for all Delawareans with disabilities, the Advisory Council provides guidance and vision for achieving the goals of the grant. This group, comprised of individuals with disabilities, parents, advocacy groups, community organizations and state agencies, works together with project staff to identify barriers and create solutions. The Advisory Council is an important and integral part of the project and its members provide information, technical assistance and expertise in health and disability-related areas.
Another important committee for the disability and health work in Delaware is the Health Care Committee of the Governor’s Commission on Building Community-Based Alternatives for Individuals with Disabilities. In September of 2003, the Governor’s Commission was created by Executive Order. This group was charged with improving Delaware’s system of supports and services in the community, including health care, for persons with disabilities.
In 2015, in recognition of the close alignment of the goals of the HDWD Advisory Council and the Health Care Committee, the HDWD Advisory Council merged with the Health Care Committee. The Committee, with its newly expanded membership, provides oversight of the CDC Disability and Health Project and the state’s Plan to Achieve Health Equity for Delawareans with Disabilities. The Committee also guides the arc of progress for the project – from the development of the logic model to assessment of gaps in integration of disability into the work of DHSS across programs and finally, to measure the impact of the plan as seen through surveillance and positive changes in health outcomes. The Health Care Committee has 55 members representing diverse agencies and disabilities across the lifespan.
In a 2016 survey of our partners, 97.6% agreed that Healthy Delawareans with Disabilities is moving in the right direction to improve health for Delawareans with disabilities.