The California Endowment, one of the largest health foundations in
California, has awarded Western University of Health Sciences’ (WesternU)
Center for Disability Issues and the Health Professions (CDIHP) a two-year
grant totaling $670,129.
WesternU founded the CDIHP to prepare health care professionals to better
meet the primary care needs of people with disabilities. Under the
direction of nationally renowned disabled rights activist Brenda Premo-
past director of the California Department of Rehabilitation under former
Governor Pete Wilson-the CDIHP will emphasize both immediate reforms in
educational curriculum as well as long-term research on policies and
“”At WesternU, our motto is ‘To Teach, To Heal, Together,'”” Premo
said. “”For persons with disabilities this means not only working with the
health care professional as that professional works to heal the disabled
person’s illness or physical ailment, but also seeing that person as
someone who can teach the health professional how to better treat someone
with a disability.
“”This grant from The Endowment will enable us to prepare health
professionals to better communicate with and treat a group of patients
whose special needs long have been neglected,”” Premo added.
It is estimated that close to 20 percent of the U.S. population – almost
50 million people – lives with some form of permanent or long-term
disability. Strokes alone disable more than 500,000 Americans annually.
“”Access to quality health care by people with disabilities is an ongoing
challenge,”” said Cassandra Malry, senior program officer with The
Endowment. “”Projects like the CDIHP will serve to better prepare and
increase the numbers of health professionals capable of responding
appropriately to this critical issue. The Endowment is very pleased to
partner with WesternU in this effort.””
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of Americans age 65 and
older will double in the next 30 years, dramatically increasing the number
of patients with age-related disabilities, including decreased mobility,
sensory perception and reasoning.
“”This population will require a higher degree of medical attention,
including a heightened understanding of diagnosing and treating people
with multiple conditions,”” Premo said.
Among the projects and goals the CDIHP will use The California Endowment’s
grant for is the creation of curriculum models and guides for health
professionals’ training programs; making agreements with at least four
other health professions educational institutions to train their students
using the curricula created by the CDIHP; the creation of an interactive
Internet site to educate health professionals about prevention, health
maintenance and health care services for persons with disabilities; among
The California Endowment was established in May 1996 and is located in
Woodland Hills, California. The Foundation’s mission is to expand access
to affordable quality health care for underserved individuals and
communities and to promote fundamental improvements in the health status
of all Californians.
For more information on the CDIHP, contact Premo at (909) 469-5380.