Over the last year or so, I have been very lucky to work together with Cedar Wang, Holy Name Medical Center’s Director of Simulation Education, and Chavie Hagler, SINAI's Director of Adult Services, on a very special project. Together, we have set out to create hands-on training for health care professionals to enhance their skill in providing quality healthcare to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Our work until this point has included an in-depth literature review, two focus groups (one with adults who have intellectual or developmental disabilities and another with parents and guardians of such individuals) and curriculum development. While at the outset of our project we intuitively recognized that physicians and nurses do not always have the skills to provide quality health care in a dignified and sensitive manner, we now have an even richer understanding of the challenges that individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities experience at doctor visits and hospital stays.
As we prepare to launch a pilot training program this summer, I was invited to join a discussion with Steve Adubato highlighting our partnership with HNMC, and this project in particular. Before taping the show, which appeared on PBS’s Caucus: NJ, I had never met Diana Stolfo, another panelist on the show. Diana is an extraordinary woman who serves as an advocate for individuals with disabilities, and who happens to have Down Syndrome. I am grateful to her for having sensitized me even further to the challenges she experiences and for continuing to inspire our work with HNMC.