The GOAL of the Montana Disability and Health (MTDH) program is to promote and maximize health, prevent chronic disease, improve emergency preparedness, and increase the quality of life among people with disabilities.
MTDH’s objectives align with Healthy People 2020 targets and with National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD) long-term goals. Measurable outcomes of the program are in alignment with the NCBDDD, Division of Human Development and Disability (DHDD):
- Reduce disparities in key health indicators, including obesity in children, youth and adults with disabilities.
- Identify and reduce disparities in health care access for people with disabilities.
Past objectives have included:
- Establishing the organizational structure and location within the collaborating agencies.
- Establishing a mentoring relationship with an existing Level I state-based program to learn what works, what doesn’t, and how to overcome barriers to managing and operating an effective health and disability program.
- Organizing an Advisory Board and processes to guide the program. Current Advisory Board Members
- Organizing a broad Disability and Health Network of community partners representing relevant constituent groups to focus on improving the health of people with disabilities in Montana.
- Developing a long-range strategic plan for operating and evaluating the Montana Disability and Health Program.
- Organizing and implementing an evidence-based approach to assessing and monitoring the health of Montanans with disabilities; assembling and reviewing existing data reflecting the health of Montanans with disabilities; and collecting new data where useful.
- Developing a State Disability and Health Plan and/or including such objectives in other state health plans.
- Organizing a Disability Advisors program to infuse disability health and wellness goals into the plans, policies, programs and procedures of state agencies and community service providers. Current Disability Advisors
- Disseminating health promotion information through diverse and innovative marketing.
- Planning, implementing, and evaluating health promotion interventions that prevent and manage secondary conditions and improve the health of Montanans with disabilities:Transitioning the leadership of the Montana Disability and Health Program to Montana DPHHS.
- Living Well with a Disability
- Have Healthy Teeth
- The Wellness Club: A Wellness Program for People with Developmental Disabilities
The environment plays an important part is attaining health goals. Accordingly, in Year 2, we contracted with consumer-based organizations (e.g., CILs) to demonstrate methods for assessing program and facility accessibility of community health and fitness programs. We did this by adopting the model developed by Nary and White (2000) at the University of Kansas. Our adaptation of this framework produced models for fitness programs to conduct self-assessments and created the infrastructure among these organizations to work with consumer-based organizations to conduct such assessments. The initial assessments identified several positive models for promoting accessibility, such as the MTDH Accessibility Ambassadors.
In Year 3, we are contracting with consumer-based organizations (e.g., CILs) to extend this model to conducting assessments of health department program accessibility. Again, this framework is designed to produce models for health departments to conduct self-assessments, as well as create the infrastructure among these organizations to work with consumer-based organizations to conduct such assessments. We also expect that the initial assessments will identify several positive models for promoting accessibility that other departments could adopt.
Throughout the project period, the Advisory Board has reviewed state and local policies and program procedures that affect the health of people with disabilities. This information is used by the Advisory Board and consumer organizations to advocate for improvement in health and wellness practices. It has also formed part of our effort to develop a State Plan for the prevention of secondary conditions.
Finally, we are working with health educators to review materials that are publicly available for their relevance to people with disabilities. We ensure that selected materials of high relevance are widely available in alternative formats.