About AAHD

AAHD is dedicated to ensuring health equity for children and adults with disabilities through policy, research, education and dissemination at the federal, state and community level.  AAHD strives to advance health promotion and wellness initiatives for people with disabilities. AAHD’s goal are to reduce health disparities between people with disabilities and the general population, and to support full community inclusion and accessibility. AAHD is governed by an esteemed group of board members representing people with disabilities, disability researchers, disability advocates, health care and public health professionals.  AAHD is located in Rockville, MD

What is AAHD?

The American Association on Health and Disability (AAHD) is a cross-disability national non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to ensuring health equity for children and adults with disabilities through policy, research, education and dissemination.

AAHD is the only national organization specifically dedicated to integrating public health and disability into the overall public health agenda.

AAHD strives to advance theory, knowledge and practice in reducing health disparities and achieving health equity in children and adults with disabilities and advancing community inclusion and full accessibility.

AAHD’s members are composed of disability researchers, health care professionals, public health professionals, policy analysts, disability organizations, health departments, people with disabilities, caregivers, family members, and interested members of the public.

What Does AAHD Do?

  • AAHD hosts and maintains the AAHD website (www.aahd.us) and AAHD Research, Knowledge Translation & Dissemination Center, a knowledge translation framework that ensures research and dissemination will result in action.
  • AAHD represents people with disabilities in significant national activities/initiatives related to health and disability, disability policy, disability research and disability services.
  • AAHD partners with health care and disability organizations, academic and research institutions, private foundations and federal agencies to advance health equity in people with disabilities.
  • AAHD disseminates current scientific, programmatic and policy information on disability and health for people with disabilities through AAHD website, listserves, newsletters, webinars, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social media platforms.
  • AAHD receives funding  from federal agencies, academic and research institutions and private foundations to advance the health of children and adults with disabilities.
  • AAHD provides technical assistance to federal agencies, private foundations, non-profits and academic institutions.
  • AAHD advocates and supports programs that improve the lives of people with disabilities at the national level, state and community level.
  • AAHD holds leadership roles on national coalitions and task forces in both the private and public sector.

AAHD Major Accomplishments


AAHD was founded in response to a new national health and disability policy that was emerging in the 1980’s. In the mid-eighties, major developments made a significant impact on creating a national disability agenda.

Major developments

The first development was the creation of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which closed the gap in the guarantees of civil rights for persons with disabilities. Another important development was the creation of the National Program for the Prevention of Disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). In addition to the National Program for the Prevention of Disabilities, two other developments reflected growing interest in preventing disabling conditions. The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Department of Health and Human Services, implemented a national plan for primary prevention set forth in Healthy People 2000, and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a report entitled Disability in America (1991).

National interest and concern

The Institute of Medicine soon after received a grant from the National Program for The Prevention of Disabilities at CDC to examine the current status of disability prevention in America. A blue-ribbon committee worked together for almost two years to assess programs and activities related to the prevention of disabling conditions. The report reaffirmed the national interest and concern for the prevention of primary and secondary disabilities in our nation.

The rapidly growing interest in prevention of additional health complications and in health promotion and wellness for people with disabilities by many groups representing Americans with and without disabilities, as well as the expansion of the National Program for the Prevention of Disabilities, reinforced the viability of and need for the American Association on Health and Disability.

Continuing support

In 2000, AAHD modified its mission to focus on reducing the incidence of additional health complications and secondary conditions in people with disabilities and support health promotion and wellness programs that will assist people with disabilities to attain and maintain a positive health status. AAHD continues to support strategies that will further assure good health status in people with disabilities.

To date, no other national organization is specifically dedicated to meeting the goals and objectives of AAHD. AAHD continues to fill a critical need to support national, state and community initiatives to integrate disability into the overall public health agenda and to promote health and wellness in people with disabilities.

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