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September 25, 2013 | SOI General: Headquarters

First Year Shows Power of Healthy Communities

By Karl Hejlik

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 Communications

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