Disability Inclusion

Approximately one-in-four individuals in the United States live with some form of disability. People living with disabilities face barriers to activities in daily life, and consideration of their unique needs is critical to prevent exacerbation of these barriers.

To promote health equity for people with disabilities, public health planning efforts should be intentional and inclusive. Inclusion of people living with disabilities in public health preparedness efforts can promote health equity through current and future pandemics and other emergencies.

ASTHO has identified health equity as a strategic priority and supports its members in their quest to increase disability inclusion through capacity building, partnerships, workforce development, and data collection.


10 Essential Questions on Disability Inclusion in Health Agencies thumbnail

10 Essential Questions on Disability Inclusion in Health Agencies

Health agencies can use this infographic to help foster conversations around planning programs, policies, and activities to better serve individuals with disabilities.

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Illustration of a diverse group of people with disabilities interacting

Embedded: Disability and Preparedness Specialist Project

The Embedded series shares reflections and expertise from ASTHO’s cohort of disability and preparedness specialists embedded into jurisdictional health agencies around the country.

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Colorful illustration of silhouettes of many disabled people and their aids

Defining Disability for Syndromic Surveillance

This ASTHOBrief describes reflections from disability professionals on developing a diagnostic code-based definition of disability to help identify people living with disabilities during emergencies.

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Latest Disability Inclusion Resources


Advancing Preparedness for Life Support Users During Power Outages

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Midsection shot of a person working on a laptop at their desk. ASTHO Health Policy Update banner in upper left

Policies For Inclusive Emergency Preparedness Planning

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Introducing New Approaches to Enhance Power Outage Support Users

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Preparedness and Disability Integration: Lessons Learned and Successes from Guam

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ASTHO Specialist Program Makes Lasting Preparedness Improvements for People with Disabilities

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Prioritizing Disability Inclusion in Emergency Planning

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Title slide for Disability Etiquette Competence and Inclusion Training

Video Series: Preparedness and Disability Integration

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A raised, wooden trailway in the forest

Accessible Community Design to Support Physical Activity and Outdoor Recreation for People of All Ages and Abilities

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ASTHO leads a learning community for the disability and preparedness specialists placed in state and territorial health agencies. This learning community creates a dedicated space for ASTHO and specialists to share resources to increase agency capacity to include people living with disabilities in emergency preparedness.

ASTHO also collaborates with a diverse group of stakeholders ranging from philanthropy, non-profit, academia and health care, including:

  • Association of University Centers on Disability
  • CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities
  • National Association of County and City Health Officials
  • Powered for Patients
  • World Institute on Disabilities (WID)
  • University of Pittsburgh