The 2022 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. The award also promotes awareness of the progress and extraordinary efforts toward fulfilling the goals, values, and mission of Special Olympics Health work. This is the highest Special Olympics honor for health partners.
Meet the 2022 recipients of the Global Golisano Health Leadership Award
For years, the dental faculty at the Universidad de Valparaiso has been training students on conducting dental evaluations and oral health education for people with intellectual disabilities. They conduct community outreach clinics for people with intellectual disabilities and address urgent referrals at the university clinic, or by their mobile unit. Over the past 2 years, more than 150 athletes with intellectual disabilities have been screened and treated for caries, root canals and the installation of implants and dental prostheses.
Focused on public health and sustainable development, leading West African advocacy organization, Speak Up Africa partnered with Special Olympics Senegal to ensure that individuals with intellectual disabilities are included in all public health initiatives and campaigns to prevent malaria, promote vaccination, prevent COVID-19 and improve menstrual hygiene. They used their extensive network of sports stars and celebrities to amplify the message of health inclusion.
Dr. Jaber, an ophthalmologist and volunteer, has led the recruitment and training of local medical professionals that now provide free treatment, including surgery, for individuals with intellectual disabilities across Lebanon and the Middle East/North Africa, increasing the capacity of health systems across the Region.
Lions Clubs of Japan have demonstrated the true value of service by committing to sustain inclusive health initiatives in Japan. They have engaged in vision screenings, provision of prescriptive eyewear, referral to care that addresses unmet health needs and preventive care including health education to families of people with intellectual disabilities.
Nearly a decade ago, resort developer and operator, Sands China Ltd. launched a fund to support individuals with intellectual disabilities in accessing private medical care. To date, 325 individuals with intellectual disabilities have received treatment in dental, physical therapy, podiatry, audiology, Chinese traditional medicine and acupuncture from 50 practitioners across five designated medical clinics. In addition, hundreds of Sands China employees regularly engage with Special Olympics athletes in health and fitness activities, including those to improve mental health, during and post-pandemic.
Dr. Komisarenko saw a stark need for Ukrainian athletes with intellectual disabilities to receive free health screenings, which led him to launch Healthy Athletes screenings in Ukraine and advocate for access to quality follow-up care. He worked with the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences to secure the country’s leading doctors and hospitals to provide ongoing screenings and follow-up care to individuals with intellectual disabilities throughout the country.
In her career at the Missoula City-County Health Department, Rebecca worked tirelessly to champion inclusive health for 15 years, to ensure that people with intellectual disabilities were included in mainstream public health programs. She has recruited and trained hundreds of healthcare professionals from colleges, hospitals and health NGOs to ensure the next generation of providers can deliver quality healthcare to people with intellectual disabilities. Rebecca ensured that individuals with intellectual disabilities were included in the annual BMI surveillance at local public schools for the first time. This data was then used to advocate for the elimination of using food such as sweet treats as a reward in all classrooms, which became policy for Missoula County Public Schools and remains in place today.