Improving Healthcare Access for Women with Spinal Cord Injury

Project Details


Improving Healthcare Access for Women with Spinal Cord Injury Although it's been almost 30 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act was enacted, and the CDC recognizes women with physical disabilities as medically underserved, women with SCI still face persistent and significant barriers to women's healthcare. Disabilities do not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, language, or literacy. However, women with physical disabilities are more likely to have lower education levels and thus lower socioeconomic status than able-bodied women, making it even more difficult to obtain basic women's healthcare. Barriers to women's healthcare include site/equipment inaccessibility and lack of disability competent staff. Architectural obstacles include absence of accessible exam tables and equipment, flimsy ramps, narrow doorways, and small bathrooms/exam rooms. Staff is not trained in transferring or positioning, and lack the knowledge/comfort to treat women with physical disabilities in an accepting way. If a woman's functional limitations compromise standard practice, there is an absence of agreed upon substitute protocols. Providers lacking disability competency experience discomfort and at times negative perceptions, leading to the belief that women with disabilities have poor quality of life and do not require reproductive or sexual health care. In partnership with individuals with SCI and Independence Care Systems (ICS), the Mount Sinai team will (1) develop a care-navigation/peer mentoring program for women with SCI, (2) develop disability sensitivity and awareness/clinical competency training for women's healthcare providers, (3) pilot the two programs within Manhattan to assess feasibility and scalability. Both Mount Sinai and ICS have a long history of collaboration with The NY State Department of Health, and local, regional, and national SCI organizations, therefore outreach will not end once the formal project period ends. We intend to continue to expand this project in and beyond New York City. (CHN: COandI chn:wdg)

Effective start/end date31/10/1930/10/21


  • Craig H. Neilsen Foundation: $100,000.00


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