Life Span Institute researcher responds to NIH changes designation changes for people with disabilities

People with disabilities now will be designated as a population with health disparities, the National Institutes of Health announced recently

The new definition will allow funding specific to investigating health and healthcare disparities among people with disabilities. According to Jean Hall, director of the Institute for Health and Disability Policy Studies at the Life Span Institute, the change has long been needed.

Jean Hall

“This is critically important in supporting research to inform services and supports that address the health and health care needs of people with disabilities and, ultimately, reduce disparities,” she said. 

Hall said this also demonstrates the changes within the NIH from thinking about disabilities as an outcome to be avoided to a demographic group of people with needs that should be recognized.  

As such, Hall said she expected to see more involvement of people with disabilities in related research. 

“The change at NIH is also accompanied by a recognition that the inclusion of lived experience in research teams is essential to addressing health disparities for people with disabilities,” Hall added.