Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
In the News

Special Olympics Announces New Rosemary Collaboratory Initiative to Help Strengthen Health Systems to Include those with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Rosemary Kennedy inspired Eunice Kennedy Shriver to found Special Olympics, and Special Olympics is excited to further honor her memory with the newly launched Rosemary Collaboratory. This initiative aims to accelerate efforts to address inequities that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) face in health systems worldwide—issues that Rosemary Kennedy experienced 60 years ago and still persist today.

Special Olympics Health, made possible by the Golisano Foundation, and in the United States in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is creating a world where people with IDD have every opportunity to be healthy. To that end, Special Olympics is excited to announce the launch of the Rosemary Collaboratory initiative—an international health systems level assessment and advocacy project that aims to promote health systems that are more accessible, affordable, and able to provide appropriate, high-quality care to this underserved population.

Supported by international advocacy specialist, Global Health Advocacy Incubator, the Rosemary Collaboratory engages research teams in eight countries and three U.S. states to assess the level of IDD inclusion of their health system during the first half of 2024. They are:

World map with countries highlighted: Wisconsin, Washington State, Pennsylvania, Ireland, Pakistan, Chinse Taipei, India, Nigeria, South Africa, and Paraguay
Rosemary Collaboratory Health System Assessment Sites

  • Chinese Taipei
  • Ireland
  • India
  • Morocco
  • Nigeria
  • Pakistan
  • Paraguay
  • South Africa
  • United States – Pennsylvania
  • United States – Washington
  • United States – Wisconsin

The teams will be applying a new assessment of different characteristics of a health system that Special Olympics and the Missing Billion Initiative developed. This new, IDD-specific module is an addition to Missing Billion Initiative’s existing System-Level Assessment on disability inclusion in health. It was developed with the input of health and IDD experts worldwide and assesses disability inclusion for persons with IDD across a wide range of indicators across all aspects of a health system.

The findings of these assessments will appear alongside other data, good practices, and policy recommendations in a global report on the health of persons with IDD that Special Olympics plans to launch in 2025. This report will serve as one milestone in longer term advocacy efforts to be implemented across Rosemary Collaboratory sites, as well as globally, to address healthcare injustices.

Over fifty years ago, Rosemary Kennedy inspired the creation of the Special Olympics movement. Starting today, Rosemary Collaboratory will inspire and foster the collaboration and action that are needed to make health systems stronger and make health equity for people with IDD reality.

Recommended Content

Special Olympics Calls for Health Systems That Leave No One Behind

At Special Olympics, we are actively striving to make a positive impact in the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities worldwide through global platforms like the World Health Summit 2023. Learn more about our movement and our impact through this video developed with support from "Lever for Change".

Partnerships and Health Systems

Special Olympics partners with ministries and departments of health, United Nations agencies and other international organizations to create sustainable health systems and quality health services inclusive of people with intellectual disabilities around the world.
1 Min Read

The 2023 Global Golisano Health Leadership Awards

The Global Golisano Health Leadership Awards recognize health champions—leaders and organizations—that are making a significant contribution to secure equal access to health, fitness or wellness for people with intellectual disabilities.