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Medical Advocacy Project (MAP) for Health Access offers research, education, training, technical assistance, and technical resources. This comprehensive training curriculum includes high-motivation learning tools and downloadable PDFs that help women with disabilities learn about their right to accessible, quality health care as required by federal law. They can get training in self-advocacy skills to enable them to become educators and resource people to their own health providers and local health care organizations about these rights and the resources required to enable them.

This program addresses the substantial health disparities for women with disabilities which results from medical providers’ lack of knowledge about their responsibility to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (via ADA required access and accommodation for people with disabilities in out-patient clinics.) MAP empowers disabled women and improves care for their unique health care needs.

Select a section from the list below to learn more.

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Access to Medical Care DVD Set & Training Curriculum

“Access to Medical Care” is a DVD set and training curriculum for physicians, dentists, nurses, and other medical staff about key issues that influence the quality of care in outpatient clinical settings. It empowers providers, patients, and families to achieve accessible, appropriate care in compliance with U.S. disability law.

“Full of practical, meaty information, this program demystifies disability, emphasizes that ‘disability’ is not ‘illness.’ The central theme is that the outward manifestations of disability do not mean that there is a diminution of human capacity…Powerful and instructive. ” – Dr. Robert Master, Commonwealth Care Alliance, Boston.

“Access to Medical Care: People with Developmental Disabilities” is a 25-minute DVD that includes closed captions and audio descriptions. Watch a preview:

“Access to Medical Care: Adults with Physical Disabilities,” selected for Brandeis University’s Irving Zola Memorial Lecture Award in 2008, is a 22-minute DVD that includes closed captions. Watch a preview:

Through compelling interviews with individuals, physicians, nurses, dentists, parents, and advocates, the two DVDs introduce and clarify key concepts in treating people with physical and developmental disabilities. Appropriate for students and professionals, they:

  • Explore the views and experiences of people with disabilities and providers in establishing rapport and effective communication,
  • Address cultural competence, access, and communication issues that often arise in the clinic,
  • Identify common myths and stereotypes that interfere with accurate assessment of patients,
  • Explain barriers that result in disparities in health care delivery, including physical/architectural, communication, attitudinal, and social/economic policy,
  • Identify the most common access and accommodation needs of adults with physical, sensory and communication disabilities, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and explain feasible, cost-effective solutions,
  • Clarify essential principles of quality care in treating people with disabilities,
  • Reinforce key learning points in bulleted graphics (available in printed handouts in the curriculum).

When purchased, the DVD set comes with “Access to Medical Care: Training Tools for Health Care Providers, Disabled Patients, and Advocates on Culturally Competent Care and Compliance with Disability Law.” This accompanying text offers a case-based learning exercise and extensive in-depth reference materials. It provides essential knowledge for appropriate provision of care and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The curriculum emphasizes access and communication as the fundamental components in addressing health care disparities for people with disabilities. It is included free with any purchase of either of the DVDs or can be downloaded here: Complete PDF: Access to Medical Care Curriculum.

Go to the publications page to learn more about purchasing details.

Note: The curriculum was developed by the World Institute on Disability, in collaboration with Nisonger Center, Ohio State University; Center for Health Care Strategies; Kaiser Foundation Multi-Media; California HealthCare Foundation.

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Update June 2020: In reviewing our past work, we now understand that the name of this project, formerly named Nutrition Education, Weight-management, Disability Obesity Options, & Resources (NEW DOOR), is harmful to disabled and fat people. Fat oppression and fat phobia are inherently tied to the idea that large bodies are undesirable and unhealthy, and should be changed to avoid health and social consequences. We believe in the social model of disability (that disabled people run into economic and social problems because of inaccessibility and ableism, not because their bodies are wrong and in need of fixing), and to not apply this ethos to body size is unjust. Although many of us have been taught that body size causes or intensifies disabilities, further research has shown us that this is a correlation versus causation fallacy. Furthermore, negative beliefs about fat bodies, including the use of BMI as a measure of health, and health as a measure of character, stem from racism and othering of Black people, using white nondisabled bodies as a norm that contributes to the oppressive narrative of all other bodies as deviant and sub-human.
We apologize for our role in promoting this harmful ideology, and have retroactively renamed the project “Nutrition Education, Weight Myths, Disability Opportunities, Options and Resources.” We have reviewed and made updates to this content to focus instead on nutrition and physical activity barriers, options, and resources for people with disabilities of all sizes. If you find something in this content that you would like us to reconsider, we invite you to please contact us at and we will gladly review and substitute it as needed.
For more information on fat oppression, we recommend the following resources from our colleagues:
Nutrition Education, Weight Myths, Disability Opportunities, Options and Resources (NEW DOOR) is a large, collaborative project on fitness and nutrition that explores barriers to healthy lifestyles for people with disabilities. It aims to provide accessible, disability-friendly exercise, nutrition, and peer-support activities, information, and resources.
  • It is a community-based program that educates, engages, and inspires people with disabilities and families to learn about and integrate nutrition and physical fitness activities into their daily lives.
  • It is also a peer-led program where people with disabilities are leaders, participants, and advocates, not patients or service recipients. We train the Disability Peer Fitness Leaders and create peer support teams in pairs, small groups, and larger groups. Participants engage in weekly or biweekly exercise and nutrition awareness activities and also form a support network, meeting a minimum of once or twice a month for fun educational and recreational events.
  • Thus far, NEW DOOR has inspired the creation of WID’s annual fitness fair and the creation of Disability FEAST, among other projects.

Watch this 4-minute video, which offers information by athletes and experts about disability and physical movement. It shows scenes from WID’s fitness fair, as well as interviews with three adult disabled athletes and advocates, a sports medicine physician, and a parent of disabled child who is active in sports.

Inspired to get up and move yet? Explore the NEW DOOR resources below:

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Curriculum on Abuse Prevention and Empowerment (CAPE) is a comprehensive training curriculum for consumers and trainers to educate services providers, people with disabilities, and family members about abuse awareness and prevention strategies, with a focus on self-protection for people with disabilities living independently. CAPE explores fundamental issues of abuse, best-practices training approaches, and personal stories.

To purchase the book that grew from this project, go to the publications page and search for Sticks and Stones.

Click here to access the CAPE Curriculum PDF. If you’d prefer a bound, full color copy of CAPE with videos, comics, and other multimedia elements instead, go to the publications page to purchase one.

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Disability FEAST

Disability FEAST (Food Education, Access, Support, & Training) is an online “cookbook plus” for people with disabilities and seniors. It has several recipes like a classic cookbook, PLUS dozens of tip sheets and external resources.

The disability and senior communities often struggle to get access to good, nutritious food, and thus, they rely on fast food or frozen meals. This causes long-term health problems like heart disease and diabetes.

Disability FEAST offers 50 home-cooked recipes that are healthy, affordable, easy to make, and delicious! The tip sheets and external resources add an extra layer of support to the site, addressing a vast range of different needs for grocery shopping, food preparation, and cooking as a person with a disability.

Click on the image below to visit the Disability FEAST website!

Link to the Disability FEAST website; image of the homepage of Disability FEAST, featuring a bowl of avocado slices
Visit the website for more information!

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