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Request for Proposals for 2024 Health Summit

by | Sep 14, 2023 | Breaking News | 0 comments

Purpose of Summit:

The Arc of Pennsylvania is seeking proposals for a one-day conference that will take place on March 6th, 2024, at the Sheraton Hotel in Harrisburg PA. This is an in-person only event, with no option to attend or present virtually. The theme of the day will be Advancing Health Equity for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. We are looking for innovative projects, ideas, and research that aligns with the theme.  All interested parties must complete the on-line Request for Proposals by October 20, 2023.  Scroll down to the bottom to find the on-line submission link. You will be notified by November 3, 2023, if selected. Each session will be one hour long. If you feel your topic needs additional time, please indicate on your submission. Thank you for your interest and submission!

Please reach out to Emma Nolan if you have any questions at enolan@thearcpa.org.


People with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) have long been experiencing health disparities. With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, came worsened health outcomes for people with IDD. It also brought about much needed attention and funds to research the emerging health disparities. The Arc of Pennsylvania was provided funds through the Pennsylvania Department of Health to do just that, and the results of the three-year long project are what prompted this summit. Years of previous research on this topic was further reinforced by the findings from the Arc of PA’s Initiative to Address COVID-19 Health Disparities Among People with Disabilities. Consequently, the need for a conference dedicated exclusively to addressing health equity for people with IDD became apparent.

This conference seeks to dive deeper into four major focus areas. These areas are described in detail below: (1) Education of Medical Professionals, (2) Elevating the Voices of Self Advocates, (3) Policy Changes, and (4) Advancing Dental Care.

Education of Medical Professionals

Healthcare professionals must have the knowledge and capacity needed to provide adequate care to the IDD community. However, current research shows that an overwhelming amount of health care providers hold negative beliefs about the quality of life that people with disabilities have. We need to ensure that education and training work to combat these biases and stigmas. Discomfort and lack of knowledge can result in refusal of care, misdiagnosis, inaccurate treatment plans, dismissal of pain, and devaluation of the patient’s ability to self-report systems.

This focus area of the conference aims to highlight programs or ideas that are working to educate medical professionals about people with IDD. The Arc of Pennsylvania wishes to invite institutes of higher education, current medical professionals, and disability organizations to submit a proposal detailing their work in this field.

 Elevating the Voices of Self Advocates

People with lived experience of disability and their family members or caregivers are the best people to describe health experiences and how they have impacted their lives. Barriers to health care for people with disabilities are complex and nuanced. Personal knowledge is critical to identify barriers not recognized by those without lived experience, understand the full scope of the impact of policies and provide feasible solutions to barriers.

The Arc of Pennsylvania wishes to invite self-advocates, family members, and caregivers to submit a proposal indicating their interest to share their experience in health care settings.

Policy Changes

Robust changes in policy are needed to ensure that Pennsylvanians with disabilities receive equitable access to accessible healthcare. This focus area is a broad umbrella segment of the conference that aims to discuss any current policy change, the impact of past policy changes, or ideas for policy change in the realm of health care and health equity.

The Arc of Pennsylvania wishes to invite health care organizations, disability organizations, or government entities to submit a proposal detailing a policy change.

Advancing Dental Care

Dental care is another facet of overall health that is often overlooked. People with disabilities face unique challenges in receiving dental care which can lead to difficulties with regular dental visits.

The Arc of Pennsylvania wishes to invite any organization or company with a vested interest in dental care for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities to submit a proposal detailing their current work in this field.

Use this link to submit your proposal: https://arc-pa.questionpro.com/2024SummitRFP

NEW Module Just Arrived - Trauma-Informed Care. Visit our E-Learning Module Series. This series provides information and strategies for teachers, families, and paras to support the education of all students.

The Arc of Pennsylvania’s Making Employment Work course is an ACRE Basic Certification Training. In order to receive certification, participants must attend a 3 day, in-person training and then complete a self-paced, online curriculum. Completing this certification course will qualify individuals to provide Supported Employment services with Pennsylvania’s Office of Vocational Rehabilitation and Office of Developmental Programs. Our training combines lessons learned from traditional Supported Employment and Customized Employment techniques.

Arc Discovery Employment Transitions (ADEPT) is The Arc of Pennsylvania’s customized employment program. The Arc of Pennsylvania supports individuals with significant impact of disability to seek and maintain customized employment in their community. As a result, The Arc of Pennsylvania’s consultants are trained and nationally certified by Marc Gold & Associates, a national leader in customized employment, to provide Discovery, Customized Employment Job Development, and Systematic Instruction to individuals with disabilities in Pennsylvania who are seeking employment. In addition to providing customized employment services, The Arc of Pennsylvania hosts several certification courses with Marc Gold & Associates for individuals and organizations interested in national certification in Discovery, Job Development, and Systematic Instruction.

Include Me is a new model for inclusive education and gaining meaningful employment for Pennsylvania’s students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Arc of Pennsylvania and Include Me believe all individuals with significant impact of developmental and intellectual disability deserve equal educational and competitive employment rights. Our mission, build and strengthen the inclusive education capacity for all public-school students, and discover meaningful employment opportunities meeting Pennsylvania employee and employer needs. Include Me strives to ensure all impacted students have equal access to all aspects of life and the community throughout their lifespan.

Include Me is an initiative that was part of the agreement on final terms between the plaintiffs and the Pennsylvania Department of Education in the Gaskin Settlement Agreement. We were initially assigned to work with school districts with the lowest inclusion rates. After the initial success, we have grown in reputation among school districts. Currently districts voluntarily chose our services, which are provided free of charge to the district. In addition to our School Age services, we offer transition-age services to help teams plan a path to customized employment for students transitioning from high school.

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