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Franklin Regional Council of Governments, MA

Project DEMAND (Disability, Emergency and Mohawk Area NeeDs)

Disability is widespread in Franklin County with 17% of residents reporting one or more disability. Also there are limited public transportation options in the Franklin County region.  Most of the communities in the county have no fixed-route transit services, and only limited paratransit (van) services for elderly and disabled riders. As one indicator of need, the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office TRIAD program visits over 2,000 seniors with patrol stops.

The overall purpose of the program is to improve the health and security of persons with disability in Franklin County, Massachusetts by increasing the responsiveness of municipal and community agencies to the needs of the disabled population by addressing the following issues:

  • Boards of health in the Mohawk Area Public Health Coalition lack the capacity to deliver important services to a high-risk population;
  • Boards of health do not understand the extent of disability in their communities nor do they understand the need for health promotion for this population;
  • The disability community and the agencies that serve them are not integrated into the public health emergency planning process and do not understand the function and capacity of Boards of health; and
  • Years of research have demonstrated that social isolation and barriers in the built environment limit access to health services for persons with disability.

Technical Assistance Program:

NACCHO is currently offering technical assistance support to local health departments to improve their capacity to develop or enhance health promotion programs for people living with disabilities through coordination of existing health department and community services.

Franklin Regional Council of Governments provided technical assistance to Lee County Health Department, IA.  For more information, please visit: Lee County Health Department.

For more information on Franklin Regional Council, please contact:
Nina Martin-Anzuoni

Co-Director, Community Services Department

Franklin Regional Council of Governments

Tel: (413) 774-3167 x 118

Web Site:


Franklin Regional Council of Governments' Health and Disability Demonstration Site Update:


The Franklin County Project DEMAND (Disability, Emergency and Mohawk Area NeeDs) has made much progress in addressing the disability emergency preparedness needs of the area.  The initiative has already included several “Community Conversation” meetings, which function to improve communication between community members and the agencies that serve them.  Through these meetings, the Project DEMAND staff has decided to shift their focus from a systems level approach to disability and emergency preparedness to building individual and group capacity.  From this idea, project staff will now host train-the-trainer programs by recruiting community members to become trainers and teach their own community, thus giving the community more control in the project. The training will consist of: 1) how to develop family/individual plans targeting community members with disability; and 2) what first responders need to know about people with disabilities. Pilot trainings began in Summer 2007 and will continue throughout the year with modifications made to reach different target audiences.

Several stakeholders meetings have been held with email progress reports between each to keep everyone updated on project status.  Project staff has participated in a webinar training and a special populations planning forum for western Massachusetts.  A website is under construction, which will have an interactive training module, resource sheets, and a discussion forum for people with disabilities.  Project staff is also working on a Resource Directory that will include information from area community organizations and service agencies that work with vulnerable populations. Information will include availability of client lists for emergency situations and resources agencies can bring to assist first responders in disaster events. This resource will be made available in a searchable format to first responders online and on CD-ROM.