In 2016, Special Olympics Arizona received the Golisano Health Leadership Award and was recognized as a Healthy Community and joined a community with over 21,825 healthcare professionals and students to provide ongoing, community-based care for patients with intellectual disabilities. Healthy Communities is a model Special Olympics Health program made possible by the Golisano Foundation and addresses the severe health disparities faced by people with intellectual disabilities through immediate and long-term solutions.
Healthy Athletes works to improve access to healthcare for Special Olympics Arizona’s athletes through the use of state-wide event-based screenings. Healthy Athletes events are used to assess the health needs of athletes and partners, make referrals to local health practitioners when appropriate, train both healthcare professionals and students about the specific needs for treating people with intellectual disabilities (ID), collect, analyze and disseminate data on the health state and needs for people with ID as well as advocating for improved health policies and programs for people with ID. During Healthy Athletes events, people with ID, Special Olympics Athletes, Unified Partners and Young Athletes (ages 2-8) receive a variety of health services in a fun and welcoming environment, at zero cost.
Health Education builds Athletes’ knowledge, skills and positive attitudes about overall health and wellness. Special Olympics Arizona’s Health Education resources focus on teaching Athletes and Unified Partners the importance of physical, mental, emotional and social health, and provides athletes with the education and tools to improve and/or maintain their health, prevent disease and injury, and reduce risky behaviors.
The Health Leadership Committee (HLC) is a team of health and medical professionals who are dedicated to the health and wellness of Special Olympics Arizona’s athletes. The HLC works to assure Special Olympics Arizona continues to be progressive in the field of health and wellness by offering high- quality programs throughout the state and create long-term benefits for our athletes. The HLC works closely with Special Olympics Arizona’s staff to help develop a cooperative of healthcare resources to help our athletes lead happier and healthier lives.