For Immediate Release
January 24, 2012

KDHE Office of Communications, 785-296-0461

KDHE, KUMC Partner to Offer New Graduate Level Course - "Caring for People with Disabilities"

TOPEKA, Kan. – Two disability programs at the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) have teamed up to bring disability awareness and education to the students at the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) this semester. The Disability and Health (DHP) Program and the Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs (CYSHCN) Program partnered with the KUMC to offer a two-hour elective course for graduate-level students titled, “Caring for People with Disabilities.” This is the first time a comprehensive disability awareness course has been offered in the School of Nursing at KUMC.

Heather Smith, with KDHE Bureau of Family Health and Jamie Simpson, Bureau of Health Promotion, are co-faculty for this new course at KUMC. The course provides an opportunity for health care providers to learn how to effectively communicate with and care for a person with a disability in a health care setting and to address disability civil rights and provides a basic understanding of a variety of disability conditions and options/resources available for independent living. This course was made possible through two federal grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

CYSHCN and DHP are in the planning process of making this course and all its components available to any nursing school interested in this topic.  Because each class module is posted through an on-line medium,  the modules can stand alone to be dispersed throughout a nursing school’s already existing infrastructure, or the compendium of modules packaged together can be used as a full course for any nursing school to incorporate into their curricula.  

“Using a collaborative process, we created a collection of modules for training future and current nursing professionals to increase the quality of care they provide patients with disabilities,” said Jamie Simpson, Disability Program Coordinator.  “A similar approach could be used to create companion modules for training other health providers and allied health staff.”

If you would like more information about this course or the Injury and Disability Prevention Programs at KDHE go to