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Health Equity Champion

Tim Shriver

Dr. Timothy Shriver, Chairman and CEO of Special Olympics, has been honored by CDC as a Health Equity Champion. CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity recognized Dr. Shriver in their most recent Health Equity Matters e-newsletter for his work “to promote a policy and culture that understands, supports, and integrates people with disabilities in the workings of all aspects of society.” Under Dr. Shriver’s leadership, Special Olympics serves more than 4 million Special Olympics athletes and their families in 180 countries.

CDC’s Division of Human Development and Disability at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities and Special Olympics have worked together toward the mutual goal of preventing disease and promoting equity in health of people with disabilities. CDC funds and supports Special Olympics’ Healthy Athletes program, which has provided more than 1.2 million health screenings and engaged more than 120,000 health professionals worldwide. The Healthy Athletes program provides athletes with free health screenings, services, referrals, and education; simultaneously works to improve access to quality health care for all those with intellectual disabilities by training health professionals to treat this population; collects and analyzes data on the health disparities experienced by those with intellectual disabilities; and uses these data to educate policy makers, academia, and the public.

Through partnerships, such as the one with CDC, Healthy Athletes has provided life-altering experiences for people with intellectual disabilities and has changed the attitudes and practices of health professionals who care for people with intellectual disabilities. CDC continues to support the Healthy Athletes program, and moving forward will work with Special Olympics on a Healthy Communities program that will strengthen connections and build tools to support athlete health and well-being year round.