Two dentists and their patient smiling

Benjamin Rush Community Organization Award

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ACHIEVA’s Disability Healthcare Initiative (DHI) received the 2014 Benjamin Rush Community Organization Award from the Allegheny County Medical Society (ACMS) on Saturday, March 7 at the ACMS Foundation Gala. Established in 1947, the award recognizes a company, institution, organization or agency that is successfully addressing a community health issue.

Photo: Melissa Allen, Manager, ACHIEVA’s Disability Healthcare Initiative and Nancy Murry, President, The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh

ACHIEVA’s DHI is providing statewide leadership on improving access to health care for disabilities through education, public policy and advocacy. The organization works to increase physical and programmatic access, medical workforce development and education. ¬†ACHIEVA works with many stakeholders, including individuals with disabilities and their families, medical professionals, hospital and health centers, government agencies, educators, insurance companies, foundations and disability advocates to develop viable solutions to increase access to physical health care and dental care for people with disabilities.

Since its creation in 2005, ACHIEVA’s DHI has increased access to dental care, improved women’s health care and is now focusing on health care transitions for youth with disabilities and chronic medical issues as they move to adult care systems. ¬†“The DHI recognizes that transition is not merely a matter of making lists of providers for families, but also acknowledges the training gaps and limited numbers of providers who are able to provide care to those with developmental disabilities,” says Miya Asato, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics and psychiatry, Division of Child Neurology, Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC. ¬†“This initiative is powered by dedication, and its strong leadership sets a national care standard. Importantly, the DHI addresses a health care need in our community for an underserved population with many health problems.”

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