Affiliations:Tisch Community Health Prize
This novel program addresses the health disparities found among low-income women with disabilities who have been largely excluded from breast cancer screening procedures. Nominator Joan Grabe stressed the importance of the program in “building an attitude of compassion and understanding for these women who have not had a spokesperson, until now, for their special medical needs and who have been ignored to their detriment.”
The problems are significant. Many medical facilities are not fully accessible—ramps are flimsy, doorways too narrow, exam rooms too small. Adaptive equipment is lacking—from a mammography machine with an arm that raises and lowers to an adaptable table for an exam. And providers often are not trained to help with transfers or positioning.
ICS offers health care staff disability awareness and sensitivity training and helps them implement ways to make diagnostic services easier for this population. Over 250 screenings and exams have been coordinated and more than 600 health care professionals have been trained. Due to its success, the project recently expanded to include other gynecological care for women with physical disabilities and now has partner facilities in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx.
ICS has also been proactive in the policy arena. It co-authored and widely distributed a seminal policy paper entitled Breaking Down Barriers, Breaking the Silence: Making Health Care Accessible for People with Disabilities, which inspired a New York City Council hearing.
For its tenacity in fighting for the rights of people with disabilities and its innovative way of tackling health inequities in an underserved population, ICS was honored with the third annual Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize.
- Website: Independence Care System’s (ICS) Breast Cancer Screening Project for Women with Physical Disabilities
- Prize Awarded: 2013