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Special Olympics Health, made possible by the Golisano Foundation, and in the United States in collaboration with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is creating a world where people with intellectual disabilities have every opportunity to be healthy.
Inclusive health means people with ID are able to take full advantage of the same health programs and services available to people who do not have ID.
Our goal is to improve access to quality health care for 11 million people with ID. The changes required to reach this milestone have the potential to unlock health care and services for all people with ID worldwide. When people with ID have access to health services, they also have more opportunities for education, employment, sports, and other pathways to reach full participation in society.
In 1997, Special Olympics Healthy Athletes® began offering free health screenings and education to Special Olympics athletes in a welcoming, fun environment. Since then, we have delivered over 2 million free health screenings and trained more than 260,000 health professionals and students to treat people with intellectual disabilities. These providers take these skills back to their practices and provide higher quality health care to people with ID – not just Special Olympics athletes – in their communities. In New Mexico we offer health screening in five areas:
- Fit Feet (podiatry)
- FUNfitness (physical therapy)
- Health Promotion (better health and well-being)
- Healthy Hearing (audiology)
- Special Olympics-Lions Clubs International Opening Eyes (vision)
- Special Smiles (dentistry)
During a Special Olympics New Mexico Healthy Athletes event, Special Olympics athletes receive a variety of health screenings and services in a series of clinics conducted in a welcoming, fun environment. Volunteer health care professionals and students are trained to provide the screenings in an effort to educate the professional community about the health needs and abilities of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Data from the Healthy Athletes venues are entered into a Web-based software application called Healthy Athletes Software system (HAS) to constitute the largest database of health data in existence. The health data gathered at events are important for planning, programs, gaining support, improving policies and research.
The success of Special Olympics Healthy Athletes events depends on partnering.
Special Olympics program staff support the work of trained Healthy Athletes volunteers to provide event-based health opportunities for athletes.
Event managers create an environment for positive interaction between health care professionals, other volunteers, and Special Olympics athletes and their families. Products, equipment and cash donations from local, national and international companies help to support the program.
Financial support of governmental and philanthropic sponsors helps the program grow.
Support of the volunteer opportunities offered by Special Olympics Healthy Athletes provides ongoing community network for improved access to health care for Special Olympics athletes — creating a legacy of care.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact Victoria Martinez by phone at (505) 856-0342.