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Inclusive Health

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
Great Britain
Michigan, USA
Massachusetts, USA
Colorado, USA
Florida, USA
Florida, USA
Hungary
Missouri, USA
Mississippi, USA
Alaska, USA
Pakistan
Hong Kong
Chinese Taipei
Netherlands

The resources can be used to train Special Olympics athletes to become Health Messengers, empowering them to become health leaders, educators, advocates and role models within their Special Olympics communities and the community at large.
Celebrating the 2022 Global Golisano Health Leadership Awards with Kelsey Nicole Nelson and the trailblazers of inclusive health.
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On this week’s episode of Inclusion Revolution Radio, podcast host Novie Craven spoke with Amanda Harrinauth about what it means to be an athlete leader.
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On September 28, the Biden-Harris Administration hosted the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health, and released a National Strategy with actions the federal government will take to drive solutions to these challenges.
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