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The Basis for the Toolbox

According to the U.S. Census, 15.1% (17.8 Million) of women aged 18 years or older have some type of disability including "sensory, mental, or physical impairments; or limitations in self-care, leaving the house, and employment" (Census Bureau 2012). Compared to women without disabilities, women with disabilities are underserved in health services (Weitz 2001) and less likely to receive routine clinical preventive services (Wisdom 2010). To explore ways to improve the receipt of clinical preventive services among women with disabilities who may receive maternal and child health program services (Allen 2012), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) partnered with the Association of Maternal & Child Health Programs (AMCHP) reviewed recommended clinical preventive services applicable to women, data on preventive services receipt, and barriers to care; and explored strategies and tools that might be used by MCH programs to improve preventive services receipt.

As part of our review, in April 2012, CDC and AMCHP hosted a meeting for MCH experts and stakeholders who examined examples of existing tools and provided input on developing a one-stop online Toolbox for programs and staff who may encounter women with disabilities and special heath care needs in their work. Many of the stakeholders were seeing these tools for the first time, and MCH stakeholders who may not traditionally address health care for women with disabilities began to understand how their work relates to the tools presented. For example, the tools could help with transitioning from pediatric to adult health care. The stakeholders agreed that the presented tools were relevant and could be effective in helping programs meet the needs of women with disabilities. Stakeholder participation helped provide direction on next steps needed to enhance the receipt of clinical preventive services among women with disabilities, by making tools easier for state and local health programs to locate and use. This Toolbox comprises an opportunity for state and local public health programs to examine their roles in improving clinical preventive services to women with disabilities and to incorporate available tools into their working strategies, especially those programs that have not traditionally seen themselves as advocates for women with disabilities.

An article published in the Maternal & Child Health Journal describes the process of developing the Toolbox, and includes an appendix of all currently available data for women with disabilities pertaining to clinical preventive services:

This project was funded by the Disability and Health Branch within the Division of Human Development and Disability, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under Cooperative Agreement HM08-80-5.