Comment on Surgeon General's Initiative on Mental Retardation
It is estimated that there may be as many as 7.5 million children and
adults with mental retardation in the United States. These individuals face unique health challenges resulting in lower life expectancies and lower quality of life. Surgeon General David Satcher has initiated an effort to focus America's attention on the health and health care needs of children and adults with mental retardation. He has asked the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Administration on Developmental Disabilities to lead
the initiative, working with the American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR) and other agencies and oganizations, both within and outside of the federal government.
The Surgeon General's Initiative on Mental Retardation will focus on better understanding and addressing the many severe and often unmet health needs of people with mental retardation. The key element of the initiative involves reaching out to the many families, advocacy groups, practitioners, and community-based organizations that are on the front lines daily trying to help the millions of children and adults with mental retardation. This will occur through such activities as the "Surgeon General's Listening Session" that is planned for October 10, which will be open to all through video streaming on the internet. Feedback from the listening session will then
be used to help plan a national meeting, to be held in December, to encourage the exchange of ideas and to identify common issues from professional, scientific, and family perspectives. Since attendance at the meeting will be by invitation only, input from a broad range of interested groups, associations, and individuals is sought. To take advantage of this opportunity and share your concerns (and possible solutions) that you would like the conference attendees to address, please go to the Surgeon General's Web site.
Source: American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR)