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Special Olympics Chief Health Officer Speaks About Need for More Inclusive Health

Dr. Perlman observing a tech performing an exam on an athlete as an observers watches the process.
Since 1997, Special Olympics Healthy Athletes® program has delivered more than 2 million free health screenings and trained more than 260,000 health professionals to treat people with intellectual disabilities.

Despite severe need and higher health risks, people with intellectual disabilities lack equitable access to health services and die, on average, 16 years earlier than the general population. “How can you expect a population to do well if doctors don’t want to treat them? If they are marginalized, even sedated? I never once had a lecture on intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD) in medical school. I never had a professor show me how to do a physical exam on a person with ID/DD. I never received training on medications for someone with ID/DD. Most see the challenges, not the gifts of this population. I chose to focus on this population because I got angry,” Dr. Alicia Bazzano, Chief Health Officer, Special Olympics writes in the latest issue of STRIVE magazine.

Dr. Steven Perlman

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