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Allegan County Health Department, MI


People with disabilities and disabled elder citizens of Allegan County face many obstacles in obtaining appropriate wellness education with an integrated approach to health. These obstacles include inadequate education of trainers, negative attitudes toward the disabled, self-limiting behaviors influenced by the environment, lack of knowledge and availability of effective health promotion activities, and inadequate avenues for personal empowerment. The Allegan County Health Department (ACHD) lacks funding to create the essential elements for healthy lifestyles for this population.

For its curriculum, ACHD selected the Healthy Lifestyles program from the Oregon Health and Science University, Center on Community Accessibility. With funding from NACCHO, ACHD is creating healthy lifestyle trainers and workshops to serve people with disabilities and disabled elder citizens of Allegan County and surrounding areas. With the network of new trainers, ACHD's health education and health promotion section coordinates seminars and monthly support groups throughout the county.

Project Mission

The mission of this project is to improve the health and wellness of people with disabilities through health promotion, collaborative research, dissemination, and policy development activities that address health disparities and secondary conditions.

Project Goal

The goal of this project is to develop integrated health promotion programs for people with disabilities and to empower them to have self-determined healthy lifestyles.


  • Train competent trainers in the Healthy Lifestyles curriculum.
  • Implement a Healthy Lifestyles workshop and support meetings for people with disabilities.
  • Support healthy lifestyles changes and practices for people with disabilities.

This project will address the following areas of essential services for local health departments:

  • Monitor the health status of people with disabilities;
  • Identify the health issues of people with disabilities;
  • Inform, educate, and empower people with disabilities;
  • Mobilize community partners to identify and solve specific health problems of people with disabilities;
  • Implement plans that support individual and community health efforts for people with disabilities;
  • Link people with disabilities to personal health services;
  • Provide personal health trainers for people with disabilities;
  • Evaluate effectiveness and quality of local population-based integrated health programs for people with disabilities; and
  • Research this program as it applies to local health departments for new insights and innovative services for people with disabilities.

Technical Assistance Project:

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.

Allegan County Health Department is providing technical assistance to Madison County-London City Health District, OH.  For more information, visit: Madison County-London City Health District.

For more information about Allegan County, please contact:
Kathy Yonkers-Wright, RDH, MS
Health Education and Health Promotion Section
Allegan County Health Department
Tel: (269) 686-4523

Allegan County Health Department's Health and Disability Demonstration Site Update:

The Allegan County Health Department trained 18 trainers in the Healthy Lifestyles curriculum. These trainers are conducting Healthy Lifestyles workshops and ongoing support meetings for older adults and people with disabilities in Allegan County. The Partnership for a Healthy Allegan County developed a task force to guide curriculum implementation, revision, and adaptation, while exploring additional funding and collaboration opportunities for 2008.