Promoting Health and Wellness for People with Disabilities


Monday, October 9, 2017

Target Audience

  • Community Members
  • Direct Support Workers
  • Parents and Families
  • Self-Advocates


For individuals with developmental disabilities, maintaining health and wellness is essential to being self-sufficient, achieving and maintaining independence, participating in society, and preventing the onset of secondary health conditions. Yet, they experience poorer health than their non-disabled peers and alarmingly higher rates of obesity and related conditions. A key contributor to these health disparities is the lack of evidence-based health promotion programs for this population. In addition, maintaining health and avoiding the onset of chronic conditions is especially important. In spite of this, individuals with disabilities generally experience poorer health than people without disabilities and significantly higher rates of chronic health-related conditions.

Participants will engage in discussion related to physical, social, and emotional health and how meaningful activities can help to sustain positive health. Participants actively participate in activities they can incorporate into their care and service to people with disabilities.

Learning Outcomes

  • Learn how to improve health and wellness for people with disabilities
  • Describe barriers people with disabilities face when attempting to lead healthy lives
  • Explore ways to educate people with disabilities and staff about nutrition and physical activity

Seminar Leader

Photo: Erica Coleman

Erica Coleman, MS, CHES, TTS, is currently the health activities coordinator for the University of Cincinnati University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UC UCEDD), housed in the Division of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. Ms. Coleman completed her Health Services Administration graduate program at the University of Central Florida. She has over ten years of experience working extensively in the area of health disparities and community service in underserved populations.

For 8 years, she served as a National Health Corps Program Director for the North Florida Health Corps AmeriCorps program. As part of the UC UCEDD team, Ms. Coleman works to implement change in current systems to promote the health of individuals with disabilities and reduce health disparities. Ms. Coleman has been and continues to advocate for underserved populations through statewide and national presentations and trainings for health professionals. She has also contributed successfully to new and continued grant funding efforts throughout her career. Currently, her work focuses on the disability population and inclusive health promotion activities as well as access to health care.