The Lurie Institute for Disability Policy

The Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University

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The Intersectionality of Disability and Race: A Health Needs Assessment of People with Disabilities Who Identify as Racial, Ethnic, and Linguistic Minorities for the States of Rhode Island and Connecticut (U.S. Office of Minority Health)

Racial, ethnic, and linguistic minorities and people with disabilities experience inequities in health care access, quality, and outcomes.  Traditionally, people with disabilities and racial, ethnic, and linguistic minorities have been considered two separate disparity populations by most efforts to document and reduce health inequity.  However, as we know, disability occurs across all racial, ethnic, language, and social groups, and people with disabilities who are also racial, ethnic, or linguistic minorities often face dual challenges in health systems, and may have unique needs.  Therefore, understanding the intersections of race and disability, and their impact on health, are important health care goals, as racial, ethnic, and linguistic minorities with disabilities are a vulnerable, underserved population. 

The Lurie Institute for Disability Policy at Brandeis University has been funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Minority Health to conduct a health needs assessment of people with disabilities who are members of racial, ethnic, and linguistic minority communities in Rhode Island and Connecticut. We are using a variety of methodologies in collaboration with community partners, an approach well-suited to a marginalized population that faces numerous barriers to participation in traditional data collection methods. Our approach includes secondary data analysis of public health survey data (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System), an internet-based community survey, community forums, and key informant interviews. A comprehensive final report of findings will be developed and disseminated through collaboration with community partners. 

Our assessment will focus on the following key questions:

• What is the state of health of people with disabilities who are racial, ethnic, and linguistic minorities?

• What are the biggest public health concerns and needs of racial, ethnic, and linguistic minorities with disabilities?

• What are the barriers to and facilitators of health in this population?

• What resiliencies and strategies do racial, ethnic, and linguistic minorities with disabilities bring to the table, and how can these strengths be supported?

U. S. Office of Minority Health.

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