Partner Spotlight: Kentucky Inclusive Health Collaborative

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

News Contributor: Kylie Pemberton

The Kentucky Inclusive Health Collaborative (KIHC) at the University of Kentucky’s Human Development Institute (HDI) exists to ignite positive change to address the significant health disparities for individuals with disabilities across the lifespan. Their team works to establish community partnerships and provide education on inclusive health strategies while providing resources and technical support. Efforts are focused on incorporating universal design to promote broad accessibility in physical spaces, programs, and services in a manner that operates for all people. They ensure products use inclusive language and multiple means of representation through the use of graphics. They also create opportunities for inclusive programs such as the inclusive exercise program shown in the photo.

KIHC and the University of Kentucky College of Nursing’s Behavioral Health Wellness Environments for Living and Learning (BH WELL) research team began partnering in 2018. KIHC provides input regarding usability and inclusion regarding BH WELL's educational materials. KIHC provides BH WELL with expertise on how to translate science into the best format for consumption by individuals living with disabilities. As BH WELL makes educational materials, they invite input and expertise from KIHC to ensure their content is inclusive of individuals who may experience unique barriers. This can be as simple as catching a hashtag #WithoutTheFirstLetterOfEachWordCapitalized to allow computerized readers to separate the words. It can be as complex as using evidence-based rating scales to provide a positivity rating.

The partnership works both ways because KIHC uses BH WELL's educational content with the partners and community members with whom they work. KIHC director, Lindsey Mullis, stated: “We value our partnership with BH WELL because we are able to amplify the great work already being done by BH WELL through addressing unfortunate gaps and health disparities of people with disabilities.” BH WELL and KIHC both aim to enhance awareness about the support that is needed to improve the lives of vulnerable populations and their partnership supports this mission.

For more information on HDI’s Kentucky Inclusive Health Collaborative please click here or email wellness4ky@uky.edu.

The Behavioral Health Wellness Environments for Living and Learning (BH WELL) research team partners with a number of great organizations who have complementary missions. BH WELL Partner Spotlights are one way to show how important partners are to BH WELL as they work to serve individuals living with behavioral health challenges. For more information click here.