DHDD Newsletter – January 2023

Newsletter-Human Development and Disability: Improving Health, Helping Children

A Note from the DHDD Director

Dear DHDD Partners,

With a new year comes an opportunity to look at things anew. This past month has been a whirlwind of learning about the incredible work of the division and our partners. I have had the pleasure of meeting with the National Association of City and County Health Officials, American Academy of Pediatrics, Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, and many others to discuss our collaborations moving forward. I also look forward to meeting more DHDD partners in coming months.

Another valuable opportunity for us to connect is the DHDD Quarterly Partner Virtual “Update and Download” Meetings. These meetings offer us a chance to exchange updates and learn from each other. We include time in each meeting to gather feedback, hear about issues, and address questions from our partners. At our last meeting, you told us you were interested in more discussion and interaction, and we heard you!

During our February meeting, we will hold a discussion about COVID-19 and disability, including bivalent booster vaccine uptake, treatments, and long COVID or post-COVID conditions. We will also provide you with an update on DHDD’s activities and introduce key leadership personnel. You can find additional details in this newsletter, along with a point of contact for the meeting invitation and for any questions you may have.

I look forward to seeing you there!


Karyl Rattay, MD, MS, FAAP
DHDD Director

Karyl Rattay, MD, MS, FAAP DHDD Director

In the Spotlight

Quarterly DHDD Partner Meeting

DHDD Partner Update and Download

Save the Date!

DHDD invites you to our quarterly partner virtual meeting on February 7, 1 – 2pm Eastern Standard Time

The meeting will include an overview of upcoming DHDD communication activities and updates from the CDC COVID-19 Response. If you have not yet received a meeting invitation, please email Julia Abercrombie, DHDD Associate Director for Policy, at JAbercrombie@cdc.gov


Ways to Support Prenatal Bonding and the Transition to Parenting

The recently published Cambridge Handbook of Parenting, Vol. 4: Applied Interventions includes a CDC-authored chapter called “Bolstering the Bond: Policies and Programs that Support Prenatal Bonding and the Transition to Parenting.”

Happy mixed race couple expecting baby

The chapter describes the importance of a secure bond between parent and child, prenatally and in early childhood, as well as biological and environmental factors that can affect the bond. It also provides an overview of the types of support for families that promote healthy prenatal and early childhood development and improve child health and well-being. The chapter includes information about policies, programs, and interventions that policy makers, researchers, and practitioners can use to support families through the transition to parenting.

Severity of COVID-19 Hospitalization Outcomes and Patient Disposition Differ by Disability Status and Type

A recent CDC study compared measures of COVID-19 severity and discharge data among people with disabilities to outcomes among those without disabilities, including an analysis by disability type. The study found that, among people hospitalized with COVID-19

    • People with disabilities had more severe outcomes
      • People with disabilities were more likely to experience severe outcomes (such as death or being placed on a ventilator) compared to people without disabilities. These risks were even greater for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and people with mobility disabilities.
    • People with disabilities who live in the community were less likely to be discharged home
      • People with any disability and people with each disability type who were admitted from the community had an increased risk of being discharged to a long-term care facility or a skilled nursing facility compared to people without disabilities. This finding needs further study, which would benefit from standardized data on disability that are currently lacking.
    • People with disabilities were more likely to be readmitted to the hospital within 30 days of discharge
      • Risk of readmission was increased among people with any disability and each disability type, indicating a need to improve discharge planning and support services.

Staying up to date on vaccination against COVID-19 remains critically important in preventing severe outcomes from infection, especially for people with disabilities.

Free COVID-19 At-home Tests Again Available Online

The White House has announced a limited number of at-home COVID-19 tests are available for free this winter. Households can now order either standard at-home tests or tests that are more accessible for people who are blind or have low vision. Shipping is also free.

Older adults and people with disabilities who need support ordering the free at-home tests can contact the Eldercare Locator (800-677-1116) or the Disability Information and Access Line (DIAL, 888-677-1199).  Staff are available to assist you from 8am to 9pm Eastern Time, Monday through Friday.

Tools and Resources

“Learn the Signs. Act Early.” Milestones in Action Photo and Video Library

Milestones-in-Action web button

The Learn the Signs. Act Early. program is excited to announce the re-launch of Milestones in Action. This resource provides parents and caregivers with images and videos to help them identify the developmental milestones that children should reach from 2 months to 5 years. The photo and video library has been updated to include developmental milestones that were released in the spring of 2022.

The library is an excellent resource for families to reference as they complete a milestone checklist for their child. For professionals, the free photos and videos can be downloaded for professional development and parent education activities. A Spanish version of this resource will be available later this year.

Visit www.cdc.gov/MilestonesInAction to browse Milestones in Action today and share with your colleagues!

Opportunities and Announcements from Partners

TAA Seeks VP of Medical and Scientific Programs to Advance New Strategic Plan

The Tourette Association of America (TAA) has announced an opening for a new leadership position within the organization. In 2022, TAA launched its first-ever five-year strategic plan while celebrating its 50th anniversary. TAA is seeking an individual who will provide leadership and direction during this critical time in the organization’s development. The Vice President of Medical and Scientific Programs will lead TAA’s Medical and Scientific Programs department, manage a team of support personnel, and work collaboratively with the senior leadership team and organizational staff. This position can work out of TAA’s Bayside, NY office or in a remote capacity. Learn more about this exciting opportunity today.

Upcoming Webinars on Disability Inclusion and Preparedness

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) and the World Institute on Disability (WID) are hosting virtual webinars on disability inclusion and preparedness.  Participants can attend one or both webinars. You must have an ASTHO account to register.

Disability Etiquette Competence and Inclusion Training
Monday, February 6th
11 am – 12:30 pm EST

This training will cover basic disability awareness and etiquette for including and assisting people with disabilities in public health programs on a day-to-day basis and during public health emergencies. Register here.

Public Health Emergency Management Planning Toolkit with WID
Tuesday, February 21st
2:00 – 3:30 pm EST

This training will provide an overview of the Public Health Emergency Planning Toolkit, including its purpose, use, and application to emergency planning. This resource helps ensure that public health emergency planning processes and plans are universally inclusive and eliminate systemic barriers whenever possible. The webinar also will focus on achieving whole community inclusion in alignment with the Public Health Emergency Preparedness requirements. Register here.

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DHDD’S mission is to lead inclusive programs to optimize the health and development of children and adults with, or at risk for, disabilities.

Newsletter Footer-National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, Division of Human Development and Disabilities