November 30, 2021

Global Health Discussion Draws Hundreds to Address Ending Health Disparities for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Special Olympics & Golisano Foundation: Ending Health Disparities for People with Intellectual Disabilities

Ahead of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on December 3 Special Olympics hosted global thought leaders for one of the most urgent conversations in global health: ending health disparities for people with intellectual disabilities.

The event was made possible by the Golisano Foundation.

Hundreds of people around the globe attended the virtual event to explore how best to make inclusive health a reality in policies, programming and in practice.

Here is the recording of this important disucssion.

Panelists included:

  • Dr. Alicia Bazzano, Special Olympics Chief Health Officer
  • Hon. Mike Lake, Member of Parliament for Edmonton-Wetaskiwin, Canada
  • Dr. Peter Hotez, scientist, pediatrician, and leading advocate and expert in the fields of global health, vaccinology, and neglected tropical disease control
  • Dr. Emily Hotez, an Assistant Professor of Medicine and developmental psychology researcher at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles
  • Dr. Vikram Patel, Pershing Square Professor of Global Health and Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow at the Harvard Medical School
  • Kiera Byland, Special Olympics Global Health Messenger
  • Dr. Timothy Shriver, Special Olympics Chairman
  • A conversation with Special Olympics athletes, families, and other caregivers moderated by Dr. Mehmet Oz.

Read more about the participants

If you have ideas on how you can get involved, please write to Special Olympics with your feedback at

Leading up to this event, partner and Paychex founder Tom Golisano announced a new gift of $30 million to expand the Special Olympics Healthy Communities work, which provides health services for people with intellectual disabilities globally. For over 20 years, Special Olympics has grown and implemented new health programming that reaches athletes, families, caregivers, providers, communities, systems and policies. Thanks to this gift, over the next five years Special Olympics will be able to:

  • Conduct 3 million health screenings;
  • Train 100,000 more health professionals; and
  • Improve the overall health and fitness of 600,000 athletes.

We thank all of the partners who are joining us in making our global health work possible around the world.

As our Global Health Messenger Kiera Byland said during the panel, if the health care system denies one of us, it denies all of us.

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