CDC awards $2.4 million to Special Olympics
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities is pleased to announce a new partnership with Special Olympics to help improve healthcare services for people living with mental retardation by awarding a $2.4 million grant to the Special Olympics organization.
The CDC partnership with Special Olympics will provide oral, vision, hearing and skin cancer screenings to athletes participating in the Special Olympics at the national, state and local levels. The announcement coincides with CDC’s inaugural National Conference on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities held in Atlanta September 18-19, 2002.
“Historically, public health efforts concerning mental retardation have been directed toward preventing the conditions that can lead to the disability,” said HHS Secretary Tommy G. Thompson. “Until now, relatively little attention has been focused on the health status and quality of life among people with mental retardation.”
People living with mental retardation experience more health disparities compared to the general population. “People with mental retardation are often a forgotten minority,” said Dr. José Cordero, the director of the CDC’s newly established National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. “This CDC partnership with the Special Olympics will improve overall access to healthcare services to this vulnerable population by providing health screenings at Special Olympics events.”
The September conference is also honoring the contributions of Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Her son, Tim Shriver, who is the president and CEO of Special Olympics International, will accept the award on his mother’s behalf.
For more information on the conference or to request an interview with any of the participants, please contact the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at 770.488.7182 or 770.488.4399.
CDC protects people's health and safety by preventing and controlling diseases and injuries; enhances health decisions by providing credible information on critical health issues; and promotes healthy living through strong partnerships with local, national and international organizations.