Disability Trends

The Future of Disability in America

The Future of Disability in America
by Committee on Disability in America, Marilyn J. Field and Alan M. Jette, Editors

The 1991 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report Disability in America: Toward a National Agenda for Prevention identified disability as a significant social, public health, and moral issue that affects every individual, family, and community across America. This seminal volume articulated a series of comprehensive changes necessary to prevent disability in American society. Its recommendations included, for example, the development of new public and private leadership in disability prevention, the adoption of a unified conceptual framework to guide collaborative research, a national disability surveillance system, a comprehensive research program, coordinated approaches to delivering health and social services, and professional and public education to promote enlightened attitudes about disability. In 1997, the IOM followed with a second report, entitled Enabling America: Assessing the Role of Rehabilitation Science and Engineering, which critically evaluated the current federal programmatic efforts in science and engineering related to rehabilitation and disability. The 1997 IOM report called attention to the major shortcomings in the organization and administration of federal research programs pertinent to disability and rehabilitation. In doing so, it set forth a series of specific recommendations for more research, improved coordination, and a need for enhanced visibility of rehabilitation-related research within federal research programs.

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