Just wanted to spread the word about the great work the Arc of North Carolina is doing as part of the Arc of the United States’ national HealthMeet initiative. We’ve had the opportunity to work with members of their local team in Raleigh as they coordinate and complete health assessments for individuals with intellectual disabilities across the state, with chapters in Buncombe, Gaston, Lenoir, Wake, Wilmington, Moore, Union and Cabarrus counties participating.
This article was posted to the Arc of North Carolina’s news website, (they say it much better than I could!) – the video was especially illustrative of the scope and need for the HealthMeet program!
In 2012, The Arc launched the HealthMeet® project because we believe people with intellectual disabilities (ID) should have access to high quality, comprehensive, and affordable health care. HealthMeet® offers free community-based health assessments to people with ID at 5 selected state chapter networks, including The Arc of North Carolina. Over 1,500 people have been assessed through the HealthMeet initiative.
HealthMeet® has been a positive experience for participants and chapters of The Arc involved in the project. The health assessments provide an opportunity for participants to be assessed in the areas of vital signs and body composition, respiratory health, vision, hearing, oral health, and foot and mobility issues. Participants feel empowered to take charge of their health by engaging in dialogue with health assessors about the status of their health and recommendations for follow-up care. As Erika Hagensen of The Arc of North Carolina has noted “health is not a taboo topic, it’s an empowering topic.”
The chapters of The Arc involved in HealthMeet® have leveraged community resources and developed partnerships with local entities such as public health departments, nursing schools, and medical schools. HealthMeet® has also been a learning experience for many of the healthcare professionals that conduct the health assessments because they now feel more equipped to serve people with ID. Through HealthMeet®, healthcare providers have developed better communication skills that will ultimately help them serve the participant’s healthcare needs.
To learn more about how The Arc is increasing health opportunities for people with ID, view this video (with lots of footage from The Arc in Wilmington, NC!)
We’re very happy to be working with these folks as they get data from these screenings into Therap to review and analyze – the public health impact in our community of a program like this is definitely something we’re happy to be cheerleading!