We are a Healthy People 2030 Champion!

August 9, 2022

Photo of CEO David Ervin
David Ervin

As you may know by now, Makom has been named a Healthy People 2030 Champion by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP). This is a big darn deal! What is a Healthy People 2030 Champion? Better still, what is Healthy People 2030?

Healthy People is a now four-decade old initiative by the federal government that identifies public health priorities to improve the health and well-being of Americans at a community health level. Healthy People 2030 envisions a society in which all people can achieve their full potential for health and well-being across their lifespan; and its mission is to promote, strengthen, and evaluate the nation’s efforts to improve the health and well-being of all people. (And, to remind you, ALL means ALL!)

Healthy People was born, such as it is, in 1979, believe it or not, and every ten years, new objectives are established to frame major initiatives toward improving health and well-being. In HP2030, people with disabilities are a priority area (a great thing!)

Okay, so that’s Healthy People 2030 (there’s actually a whole lot more—check it out.)

You may also know that in Makom’s strategic plan, clinical supports and health equity for people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD) is a core initiative. We recognize (and roundly reject!) longstanding barriers to culturally accessible and competent healthcare and, critically, the health disparities that people with IDD experience as a result, and we commit to actually doing something about it.

We recently hosted a Health Equity Summit right here in little ol’ Rockville, which included clinical, systems, policy, research and health advocacy experts from across the country. Over two days, we conceptualized solutions to health disparities and persistent access barriers, created a work plan to move from concept to delivery, and meaningfully and measurably improve health status and health-related quality of life among people with IDD in the DMV region. Yes, we’re just that focused to believe we can make a difference.

I’ve spent the last 25 years examining the white, fleshy underbelly of health disparities that are far-too-common among people with IDD. There are lots and lots of reasons for those disparities, but here’s the thumbnail version. We don’t teach IDD in our medical schools. There is no recognized adult specialty in IDD (there is such a thing as a Developmental Pediatrician and even a Neurodevelopmental Pediatrician for kids—there is no parallel in adult medicine). Reimbursement systems, both public (e.g., Medicaid, on which approx. 60% of adults with IDD, or about 4.4 million people in the US, rely) and private insurances, are nowhere near aligned enough with the healthcare delivery needs of people with IDD. The list of barriers to accessible, culturally competent healthcare for people with IDD is long.

But, we also have emerging healthcare delivery models in other parts of the world that demonstrate improved health outcomes for people with IDD. This is the enormously good news! There are models of care that are replicable—not easy, but replicable—and Makom seeks to facilitate the development of a model right here in the DMV.

It’s natural, in that context, to be a HP2030 champion, and we are really very excited about it. As a Champion, we are committed to working toward Healthy People 2030 goals to eliminate health disparities and achieve health equity, and to promote healthy lives among people with IDD across their lifespan, among others.

As we move our work in clinical supports and healthcare forward, we invite our community to join us in our work. People with IDD were especially at risk of severe outcomes from the pandemic, experiencing case fatality rates that were as much as nearly 9x the rate experienced in the general population. Nine times! Why so high? Because so many experience wildly high rates of chronic disease morbidities, and when those conditions combined with COVID-19, they were lethal. 

We can’t do nothing. 

Join our cause in championing this cause and supporting this work. You’ll be glad you did.

As a Champion, we are committed to working toward Healthy People 2030 goals to eliminate health disparities and achieve health equity.