Frontline Initiative: Health and Wellness
Expanding Our Scope and Mission Through NCHPAD Connect
The National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD) is a public health practice and resource center that has been funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) since 1999. Since our inception, we have created and offered individualized information, referral, and consultation services for people with disabilities, caregivers, healthcare practitioners, community members, and public health professionals through online materials and national training opportunities.
Last year, NCHPAD expanded our scope and mission, launching a broader initiative with an emphasis on healthcare partnerships and health promotion programs to create a sustainable and inclusive coalition for people with mobility limitations across the United States. This initiative centers around a registry, or portal, called NCHPAD Connect, that connects people with mobility limitations to our community of personalized professionals, programs, services, and resources.
Once enrolled in NCHPAD Connect, participants are connected to our disability health experts, who work with each participant on an individual basis to find the right program to meet their personal health goals. Each year, two new remote wellness programs are added to NCHPAD Connect. Personal health data is collected in a safe and secure HIPAA-compliant portal and utilized for program evaluation only.
One wellness program currently offered in NCHPAD Connect is MENTOR (Mindfulness, Exercise, and Nutrition to Optimize Resilience). MENTOR, a synchronous 8-week, 40-hour program designed for people with mobility limitations living in the U.S., is based on evidence-based wellness practices that support participants in improving their health. MENTOR offers group classes five days a week for one hour per session. Classes are offered in the areas of mindfulness, exercise, nutrition, and health coaching. Participants are provided free exercise equipment that includes a yoga mat, leg/arm pedal bike, resistance bands, wrist weights, Pilates disc, small ball, yoga blocks, racquetball, sliders, a water bottle, and a MENTOR journal.
MENTOR, developed in 2019 by NCHPAD Director James Rimmer, PhD, and Amanda Jeter, MPH, bridges the gap between healthcare and wellness through a sustainable program designed to improve physical, mental, and emotional health in people with mobility limitations. In a retrospective study conducted in 2022, all MENTOR participants were found to have improvements in two wellness areas: exercise and contribution to society. Participants who reported lower wellness scores prior to MENTOR showed improvement in eight wellness area: exercise, nutrition, sleep, core values, self-care, hobbies, contribution to society/community, and relationships. Likewise, when interviewed, MENTOR participants reported improvements in their physical and mental health because of the new habits and behaviors they adopted after participating in the program.
NCHPAD is a National Center on Disability of the Disability and Health Branch, Division of Human Development and Disability, National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Grant # 1 NU27DD000022, University of Alabama at Birmingham.