Special Education Disparities Are Social Determinants of Health: A Role For Medical–Legal Partnerships
- Progress in Community Health Partnerships: Research, Education, and Action
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 14, Issue 2, Summer 2020
- pp. 251-257
- Additional Information
- Purchase/rental options available:
Problem: Education is a key social determinant of health. The federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) purportedly affords children the right to a free and appropriate education. Yet, racial, ethnic, and economic disparities exist regarding appropriate identification and classification of children with needs for special education, and access to services.
Purpose: This article first highlights gaps and disparities in special educational services, and their structural linkage to poverty. The second section describe the first years of a medical–legal collaboration between a University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) and Fordham University, focused on special education.
Key Points: The collaboration's interdisciplinary training activities increased practical knowledge for law students and UCEDD clinicians. A legal clinic for UCEDD families enabled Fordham students to apply their skills.
Conclusions: Because social determinants of health often lie beyond the medical domain, interdisciplinary collaborations are needed to remediate them.