Health policy and intellectual disability. Academic Article uri icon


  • This communication in response to the recent editorial by Sally-Ann Cooper, Craig Melville and Jillian Morrison on people with intellectual disability and health inequality (1). Last year was the European Year of People with Disabilities with many activities in Europe in order to focus on this part of the population. The first author participated in the historic event in late 2003 at the graduation of ten physicians, who became the first specialists in intellectua disability medicine in the world after three years of studies under the guidance of professor Heleen Evenhuis, MD, who in the year 2000 became the first professor of intellectual disability at the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam at the Department of Family Medicine. In connection with the graduation an invitational conference of professionals from 12 different countries was held in Rotterdam about health care for individuals with intellectual disabilities. The meeting was organised by NVAVG (the Dutch Society of Physicians for persons with Intellectual Disabilities, the MAMH (European Association of Intellectual Disabilities Medicine) and the Erasmus Medical Center Department of specialist training for physicians for people with intellectual disabilities with the aim to finalise and accept a European Manifesto about "Health care for people with intellectual disabilities", maybe the most vulnerable group of persons with disability (2). We have also recently finished a major study on the health profile and utilization of 2,282 adults with intellectual disability aged 40 years and older living in residential care in Israel (3) Results showed that age was a significant factor in health status with cardiovascular disease, cancer and sensory impairment increased significantly with age for both genders, cardiovascular disease in this population was less prevalent when compared to the general population.

publication date

  • August 20, 2004