Online Program

Activity Limitations and Disability: Evidence and Opportunities for the Public Health Rehabilitation Workforce

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Julie Bass, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA, Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, St. Catherine University, St. Paul, MN
Elimination of activity limitations for individuals with disabilities has been identified as a priority in Healthy People 2020. This presentation will advance understanding of geographical inequities in activity participation, available data and resources, and evidence relevant to disabilities as well as provide information on opportunities for workforce planning, education, practice, and research.

Monitoring of descriptive data has been recommended as a practical approach for raising awareness of population characteristics that may be addressed through targeted strategies. Examining the geographic distribution of activity limitations for people with disabilities and the rehabilitation workforce provides information that may be used in developing strategic workforce goals related to health inequities.  Public data sources were used to examine the geographic distribution of licensed rehabilitation practitioners, educational programs, and selected population characteristics by state and nine U.S. divisions. Data sources included the CDC Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, U.S. Census American Fact Finder and the American Community Survey.

Preliminary findings show there are state and regional inequities in activity limitations that pertain to the public health and rehabilitation workforce.  The areas with the greatest inequities are often areas that also have a smaller number of rehabilitation practitioners and fewer educational training programs. Strategic planning for workforce and educational programs may provide an opportunity to address inequities, particularly for populations with disabilities who have activity and self-care limitations, mobility limitations, independent living difficulties, and unemployment.  Public data provide a mechanism for monitoring these health inequities and developing action plans for workforce development.

Learning Areas:

Chronic disease management and prevention
Clinical medicine applied in public health
Other professions or practice related to public health
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education

Learning Objectives:
Describe geographical inequities in activity participation for individuals with disabilities and the distribution of the rehabilitation workforce. Identify publicly available data and resources for monitoring inequities in activity participation.

Keyword(s): Workforce Development, Health Disparities/Inequities

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have published (chapters and journal articles) and presented (nationally and internationally) extensively over the last 8 years on topics related to this presentation - health inequities, activity limitations, and population health approaches in occupational therapy. I chaired a national health disparities task force for a professional association (AOTA). I coordinate a network of occupational therapists who are committed to 'advancing occupational therapy in public health' and increasing involvement in the Disability Section of APHA.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.