Brandeis University Program Seeks to End Health Disparities for Women With Intellectual Disabilities

Brandeis UniversitySusan Parish, the Nancy Lune Marks Professor of Disability Policy and the director of the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy, has launched the Women Be Healthy initiative to study the access to health care by women with intellectual disabilities. Professor Parish’s research found that only 55 percent of women with intellectual disabilities received Pap tests compared to 85 percent of women generally.

In an effort to reduce the disparities, the Lurie Institute for Disability Policy has produced a series of YouTube videos that highlight the importance of mammograms and Pap tests for women, particularly those with intellectual disabilities. The videos are aimed at caregivers who help women with intellectual disabilities to advocate for these procedures with medical professionals.

Leah Igdalsky, a research associate at the Lurie Institute, states that “there is a taboo related to sexuality for people with disabilities. Doctors need more information. Of course there are excellent doctors who do wonderfully with all of their patients, but we’ve also seen that many get maybe one hour worth of training in medical school about how to treat people with disabilities.”

Filed Under: Women's Studies


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