September marks the one-year anniversary since Special Olympics
launched its Healthy Communities initiative at the 2012 Clinton Global
Initiative. Through the initiative, Special Olympics chapters, called Programs,
are expanding the reach of Special Olympics Healthy Athletes clinics and
providing free follow-up health care worldwide.
In just the first
year, Healthy Athletes clinics were held in 54 new locations, providing
services for 11,476 previously underserved people with intellectual
disabilities and health education for 9,972 athletes, family members and
coaches as well as 9,182 healthcare professionals and healthcare students.
Wellness opportunities such as gym memberships and nutrition classes were
created for 2,043 people with intellectual disabilities. New partnerships have
been created with 98 organizations, universities and health care providers at
the local level resulting in new education opportunities and financial support.
To date, the Healthy Athletes program has screened 1.4 athletes in more
than 120 countries. Healthy Communities allows Special Olympics to reach more
athletes in harder to reach locations, use technology to boost care, and address
local health needs like tuberculosis and malaria.
About Karl Hejlik: Senior Manager, Health/Research