Problem Statement: Health Care Providers

Healthy Athletes Program Founder, Dentist Dr. Steve Perlman, Performs a Special Smiles Dental Examination with Others at the 2007 World Summer Games in Shanghai, China


People with intellectual disabilities (ID) are at increased risk for poor health outcomes and health disparities. The lack of health care provider training on disability has been highlighted in recent literature as a key, modifiable determinant of the health disparities experienced by people with ID.

Despite national calls for didactic and clinical interventions aimed at improving health care provider competency in treating people with ID, most health care providers receive little training during medical school in the health care of patients with ID. Additionally, mainstream clinical guidelines do not address the unique concerns of patients with ID. As a result, patients with ID are not included in mainstream health care delivery organizations and practices.


A time when each health care provider is trained to care for people with ID and does their part to ensure equitable access to quality health care for patients with ID.


Health care providers can promote inclusive health, the inclusion of people ID in mainstream health services, training programs, and research, by improving their competency in caring for patients with ID through education and advocacy. Learn how by reading the entire problem statement.