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NACDD Moves Ahead with Healthy Community Disability InclusionNACDD Moves Ahead with Healthy Community Disability Inclusion

Posted By Karma Harris and Jennie Hefelfinger, Tuesday, July 18, 2017

With funding support from the CDC Disability and Health Branch, NACDD  leads a national pilot project, Reaching People with Disabilities through Healthy Communities, with a focus on increasing physical activity, healthy eating, tobacco prevention and reduction, and accessibility improvements for people with disabilities. For the past 18 months, NACDD worked with five state partners — Iowa, Montana, New York, Ohio, and Oregon — and with two communities from each of these states to bring public health and disability and health advocates together for this one-of-kind project. The 10 community grantees from the five states are listed below:

  1.  Carroll County, Iowa
  2.  Sioux City, Iowa
  3.  Butte, Montana
  4.  Helena, Montana
  5.  Cattaraugus County, New York
  6.  Syracuse, New York
  7.  Adams County, Ohio
  8.  Marion County, Ohio
  9.  Benton County, Oregon
  10.  Umatilla County, Oregon

 Partners identified community coaches and state expert advisors who participated in project, assessment, and prioritization trainings with NACDD before beginning work with their local healthy community coalitions. Coalitions  conducted inclusive community assessments, developed community action plans, and implemented community changes to promote inclusion. Some examples are listed below.

  • Enabling community access to wheelchair charging stations in Umatilla County, Oregon; Sioux City, Iowa; and Adams County, Ohio
  • Implementing significant streetscape and infrastructure improvements as a result of new policies, community planning updates, or changes to the built environment, underway in Benton County, Oregon; Butte, Montana; Cattaraugus County, New York; and Syracuse, New York
  • Creating adapted exercise options in Carroll County, Iowa; Sioux City, Iowa; Adams County, Ohio; and Marion County, Ohio
  • Developing a fully-inclusive wayfinding and communication plan in Helena, Montana
  • Improving access to healthy foods in Syracuse, New York; Sioux City, Iowa; Adams County, Ohio; and Marion County, Ohio

 NACDD is grateful to the CDC Disability and Health Branch, Lakeshore Foundation, and the National Center for Health Physical Activity and Disability for ongoing project support and expertise. Stay tuned for grantee updates, final results, and information on ways states and communities can become more inclusive of people with disabilities. 

 For more information on the NACDD Reaching People with Disabilities through Healthy Communities effort, please contact Karma Harris ( or Jennie Hefelfinger (

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