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Changing How Healthcare Is Taught

ABC3: Action to Build Clinical Confidence and Culture

A coalition of people with lived experience of intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD) and healthcare experts working together to scale strategies nationally to better prepare clinicians for serving people with IDD.

Changing How Clinicians are Trained to Treat People with IDD

IEC launched the Action to Build Clinical Confidence and Culture (ABC3) Coalition to coordinate national strategies that aim to prepare general clinicians to serve people with IDD better. The coalition aims to scale change across education, licensing, and accrediting standards.

ABC3 coalition members include self-advocates, care partners/givers, clinicians, and leaders from clinical professional societies, disability organizations, clinical educational organizations, and accrediting bodies. They create and carry out campaigns and programs, develop materials, and gather resources to effectively change healthcare culture and enhance knowledge and skills among clinicians on a large scale.

Why This Matters

The majority of people with IDD rely on general healthcare practice settings for their care rather than specialized centers. Many live with chronic physical and mental health conditions, leading to more interactions with the healthcare system. Meanwhile, there is no national requirement for medical schools to teach about IDD – despite the fact that nearly one in 20 Americans has IDD. Nurses, dentists, physician associates, and other clinicians – whether in training or in practice – also don’t get the preparation they need.

With so little training, it is not surprising that nearly 2/3 of physicians say they feel unprepared to provide quality care to people with disabilities.

Clinicians are key to the healthcare experience for us all. This lack of training and confidence means people with IDD face additional barriers to quality care. They are more likely than the general population to receive lower-quality healthcare and access fewer preventative services, leading to unnecessary health problems and even preventable deaths.

ABC3 Highlights

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The National Roadmap for Disability-Inclusive Healthcare

Everyone deserves high-quality healthcare. That’s why we developed the National Roadmap for Disability-Inclusive Healthcare, a plan for clinicians to learn how to provide the best healthcare possible to people with IDD.

Coalition Steering Group Members

The ABC3 Steering Group is a diverse coalition that includes people with IDD, care partners/caregivers, clinicians, and other healthcare leaders. The Steering Group operates collaboratively, based on the principles of Authentic Community Engagement – learning from the lived experience of people from IDD and the perspectives of healthcare professionals and creating commonsense solutions.

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  • Lauren Erickson, Director of Policy and Programs, IEC
  • Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education
  • American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry
  • American Academy of Pediatrics
  • American Academy of Physician Associates
  • American Association of Colleges of Nursing
  • American Association of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
  • American College of Physicians
  • American Dental Education Association
  • Association of American Medical Colleges
  • Autistic Doctors International
  • BJ Stasio, Self-Advocate
  • Developmental Disabilities Nurses Association
  • ECHO Autism
  • IntellectAbility
  • Kayte Barton, Self-Advocate
  • Sherri Eldin, Self-Advocate and clinician

IEC is grateful for the following funders, whose support makes ABC3 possible:

The Ability Central logo in green
The Delta Dental Foundation logo in green and gray.
The Delta Dental Foundation logo on a green background with the word "Foundation" written in purple

Related Work

Making Healthcare Better and Safer for People with IDD

IEC partners with people with lived experience of IDD and healthcare professionals to change the way care is taught, delivered, and paid for by creating new programs that center patients.

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