Thursday, October 8, 2009

GSU, Morehouse School of Medicine to partner on developmental disabilities

The Center for Leadership in Disability (CLD) at Georgia State University has been awarded a three-year, $675,000 grant to develop a joint program on developmental disabilities with the Satcher Health Leadership Institute (SHLI) at the Morehouse School of Medicine.

Funding will come from the Administration on Developmental Disabilities of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The disability partnership will serve as a vehicle for exchanging ideas and innovation in research, training and services between the faculty, staff and students of the two institutions, with the goal of reducing disparities in health and well-being related to disability and minority status in Georgia.

"This is a fantastic development for our center," said Daniel Crimmins, director of the CLD and clinical professor of public health. "We are a new program at GSU, and have received tremendous support from so many people here and in the disability community.

"We're off to a good start, but there's still much to do," he said. "This grant provides an opportunity to work closely with SHLI, one of the premiere programs in the country addressing health disparities, to focus on some critical needs in Georgia. The grant also requires us to develop the partnership as a model for other programs across the country."

The grant builds on CLD's designation as a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, and its mission to translate research into sustainable community practices that support independent, fulfilling, productive lives.

CLD is based in the GSU Institute of Public Health and Center for Healthy Development, within the College of Health and Human Sciences. In July, CLD received a five-year grant of over $2 million as part of its designation as a UCEDD.

SHLI is directed by former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher, with the mission to develop a diverse group of public health leaders, foster and support leadership strategies, and influence policies toward the reduction and ultimate elimination of disparities in health.

"We at SHLI and Morehouse School of Medicine are delighted to be able to join in partnership with GSU in taking advantage of this opportunity to advance the lives and productivity of persons living with disabilities," said Satcher. "This opportunity is consistent with our commitment to eliminate disparities in health as they impact the lives of persons living with disabilities."

The partnership reflects CLD's expertise in developmental disabilities and SHLI's expertise in addressing the needs of minority communities. The partnership will focus on improving access to services and supports to reduce and ultimately eliminate health disparities for individuals with disabilities and their families from minority backgrounds. The plan is aligned with the goals and priorities for both programs.

There are 67 UCEDDs in the U.S., with at least one in every state and territory. Centers are in a unique position to facilitate the flow of disability-related information between community and university. UCEDDs provide training, technical assistance, service, research, and information in working with people with disabilities, family members, state and local government, and community providers.

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