Health Messengers

Six people standing in a circle with their arms around one another looking down as the photographer is looking up taking a photo of them.

The only way to end exclusion is to have people who face these challenges daily help create the solution. People with intellectual disabilities are guiding us toward solutions in our health work. The Special Olympics Health Messenger program was born out of this notion of participation. In order to create more effective public health programs, improve health systems and engage communities to support the health of people with intellectual disabilities, people with intellectual disabilities must have leadership roles in the health system.

Special Olympics Health Messengers are athletes who are trained to serve as health and wellness leaders, educators, advocates and role models within their Special Olympics communities, as well as the community at large. They are leading their teams, families, friends and communities to pursue healthy lifestyles, and are advocating for healthcare providers and governments to adopt inclusive policies around health, wellness services, education and resources for people with intellectual disabilities.

Since the Health Messenger program launched in 2016, nearly 4,000 athletes have been trained to be health leaders and advocates. Read more about some of their stories below:

Health Messengers
Athlete Kiera Byland with her medals won from competing in the Special Olympics World Games
Great Britain
Massachusetts, USA
Colorado, USA
Florida, USA
Indonesia
Missouri, USA
Alaska, USA
Pakistan
A Health Messenger is a Special Olympics athlete who has been trained to serve as a health and wellness leader, educator, advocate and role model within their Special Olympics communities and the community at large.
Stephanie flexing her biceps.
Stephanie Ching has been a tenacious Special Olympics athlete for more than 25 years and has the medals to prove it!
1 Min Read
Vince shows his muscles.
Vince Egan, a 2017 Special Olympics World Winter Games gold medal winner in alpine skiing from Colorado, competes in five Special Olympics sports and coaches youth basketball.
2 Min Read
Hillary smiling at an indoor swimming pool.
For Autism Awareness Month, we get fitness advice and tips from a wise Health Messenger.
2 Min Read