Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities Joins National Coalition Supporting Individuals with Disabilities

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BALTIMORE, October 17, 2019 –  The Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities (MCDD), a community initiative of Kennedy Krieger Institute that advances the inclusion of people with intellectual, developmental and other disabilities, is joining seven national partners to establish a Center for Dignity in Healthcare for People with Disabilities (CDHPD) as a result of a three-year, $1.5 million grant from the Administration for Community Living (ACL).

The Center is the first of its kind to educate healthcare professionals about the civil rights and support needs of Americans with disabilities as they access routine and lifesaving care from the beginning of life until its natural end. The Center will develop resources for healthcare professionals to address and prevent healthcare discrimination, including policies, protocols and resources and will also develop resources for reporting healthcare discrimination and advocacy in partnership with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families. The University of Cincinnati for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities will lead the coalition, which also includes MCDD, Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, University of Kentucky University Center on Disability, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Family Voices, the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network and the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry.

“The Maryland Center for Developmental Disabilities at Kennedy Krieger Institute is thrilled to be one of the eight collaborators on the critically important work to establish the Center for Dignity in Healthcare for People with Disabilities,” said Maureen van Stone, director of MCDD. “This will ensure individuals with disabilities are not denied appropriate healthcare and receive the same level of care afforded to all Americans.”

MCDD will receive $150,000 ($50,000 annually) to support its work within the coalition and Center. Tracy Waller will join MCDD to lead its work with the Center. Waller is a licensed attorney in Maryland and the District of Columbia who specializes in public interest, health and administrative law. Prior to joining MCDD, Waller volunteered with Kennedy Krieger’s Project HEAL (Health, Education, Advocacy, and Law), an initiative of MCDD and Maryland’s only comprehensive medical-legal partnership that provides advocacy and legal services for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, who are patients at Kennedy Krieger, and their families. Project HEAL’s mission is to ensure patients receive the medical and legal care they need when there is a civil legal issue requiring an attorney.

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About Kennedy Krieger Institute: 

Internationally recognized for improving the lives of children and adolescents with disorders and injuries of the brain, spinal cord and musculoskeletal system, Kennedy Krieger Institute in the greater Baltimore/Washington, D.C. region serves 25,000 individuals a year through inpatient and outpatient clinics, home and community services, and school-based programs. Kennedy Krieger provides a wide range of services for children with neurological issues, from mild to severe, and is home to a team of investigators who are contributing to the understanding of how disorders develop, while at the same time pioneering new interventions and methods of early diagnosis.

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