25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

July 26th marks the 25th anniversary of the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a civil rights law that promotes the inclusion of people with disabilities at work, school, or other community settings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recognizes ADA as an opportunity for the inclusion of people with disabilities in federal efforts related to health and health care.  The work of CDC honors the intent of the ADA as a critical piece of civil rights legislation that can ensure that people with disabilities receive critical healthcare services and programs, enjoy a high quality of life, experience independence in their community, and reach their full potential.

Enacted on July 26, 1990, the goals of the ADA are to promote equal opportunity, full participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities.3 The ADA has made a positive difference in the lives of those who have disabilities by providing better access to buildings, transportation, and employment.  However, access to health care, and the inclusion of people with disabilities in health promotion, and disease prevention programs is still a challenge; people with disabilities continue to face significant differences in health compared to people who do not have disabilities. For example:

  • Adults with disabilities are three times more likely to have heart disease, stroke, diabetes, or cancer than adults without disabilities.4
  • Adults with disabilities are more likely than adults without disabilities to smoke, to be obese, and to be physically inactive.5
  • Women with disabilities are less likely than women without disabilities to have received a mammogram in the previous two years.6

It is critical to include people with disabilities in mainstream health programs and services that meet their needs as a person, regardless of their disability.  When children and adults with disabilities receive needed programs, services and health care throughout their life, they can reach their full potential, have an improved quality of life, and experience independence in their community.

CDC is committed to protecting the health and well-being of people with disabilities across their lifespan. Through its state-based disability and health programs and national collaborations, CDC will continue to reduce differences in health faced by people with disabilities by fostering their inclusion in public health surveys, public health programs, emergency preparedness and planning efforts, and accessible healthcare services.    To work toward this, CDC provides data, information and resources that public health practitioners, healthcare providers and people interested in the health and well-being of people with disabilities can use.

Public health is for all of us.  Together, CDC and its partners work to make sure everybody – with and without disabilities – can live, work, learn, and play in their communities.

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