Population Health

Disability health services research at the Shriver Center examines the health of the entire population of individuals developmental disabilities, including those with autism spectrum disorders, intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), and others.  The  goal of our research is to identify best practices and enhance the quality of supports and services for people with IDD nationwide.

Specific projects aim to build the evidence base for improved supports and outcomes for people with IDD.

Ongoing Projects

Health Surveillance for Adults with Intellectual Disability
This study built on significant effort to date to gather and catalog health indicators in the population of adults with IDD, both to provide methodologically sound investigation of health disparities and to establish accurate and valid benchmarks for health improvement in this population.

This grant was a collaboration between our Center for Developmental Disabilities Evaluation and Research and the Human Services Research Institute (HSRI) to develop foundational work to enhance health surveillance of adults with intellectual disability. This project was funded through a Research Topic of Interest (RTOI) grant, awarded by the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) and funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD). Grant funding was 2010 - 2011, and has formed a base for a developing focus on health and adults with ID.

Systematic Review of Interventions to Reduce Oral Health Disparities between Adults with Intellectual Disability and the General Population
The purpose of this project, funded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disability (NCBDDD), is to develop the evidence base for interventions that improve oral health in the population with IDD. Using a formal protocol and expert panels, our Center for Developmental Disabilities Evaluation and Research researchers, in partnership with the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry (AADMD), identify and review a wide range of interventions for their effectiveness to improve the oral health in this population.

The Healthy People 2020 Roadmap for Massachusetts Children and Youth with ASD/DD: Understanding Needs and Measuring Outcomes
Through a grant awarded by the Health Resources and Services Administration-Maternal and Child Health Bureau (HRSA-MCHB), this needs assessment/evaluation project will inform efforts to establish a state-level data collection and surveillance plan for systems of services for children and youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disorders (DD) in Massachusetts. This project is designed to begin to address the Massachusetts Autism Commission's priority to develop a statewide approach for data collection to measure the needs and outcomes of people with ASD.

Researchers at the Shriver Center have also developed a program focused on  health and wellness that include epidemiological, observational, and intervention studies. For more information about these projects, please see the health promotion research page.

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