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Closing the nursing leadership gap: Leveraging partnerships with people with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities

Published:September 06, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.outlook.2022.07.009
      Monumental changes in health care are needed and highly likely when nurses lead, specifically in the health outcomes for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) and developmental disabilities (DD), their families, and the community. Individuals with ID/DD represent approximately 17% of the US population, and experience higher morbidity and mortality rates at earlier ages compared to the general populous (
      • Cooper S.A.
      • McLean G.
      • Guthrie B.
      • McConnachie A.
      • Mercer S.
      • Sullivan F.
      • Morrison J.
      Multiple physical and mental health comorbidity in adults with intellectual disabilities: Population-based cross-sectional analysis.
      ). Unfortunately, access to primary medical and mental health care services is even lower compared to persons without disabilities (

      Doherty, A. J., Atherton, H., Boland, P., Hastings, R., Hives, L., Hood, K., James-Jenkinson, L., Leavey, R., Randell, E., Reed, J., Taggart, L., Wilson, N., & Chauhan, U. (2020).Barriers and facilitators to primary health care for people with intellectual disabilities and/or autism: An integrative review. BJGP Open.;4(3), :bJgpopen20X101030. doi: 10.3399/bjgpopen20X101030 PMID: 32605913; PMCID: PMC7465578.

      ). The evidence demonstrates persons with ID/DD are disadvantaged in accessing needed health care, contributing to significant health disparities when compared to those without disabilities (
      • Krahn G.L.
      • Walker D.K.
      • Correa-De-Araujo R.
      Persons with disabilities as an unrecognized health disparity population.
      ). Health disparities in this disadvantaged population have failed to generate the attention and action of nursing leaders. It is time nurses and nursing listen to the needs of this population and act to address these unjust and preventable health disadvantages to improve their health and well-being.

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