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Embracing Inclusion: Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month

Mar 13, 2024, 11:45 AM by DEI Committee

Dear ASTS Community,

As we enter March, let's honor Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month by reaffirming our commitment to inclusivity, understanding, and support for individuals with developmental disabilities. In healthcare, especially organ transplantation, addressing their unique challenges and ensuring equitable access to life-saving procedures is crucial. Essentially, we should not make decisions based on cognitive disability or base them on our perception of quality of life. We must entrust patients, their families, and support systems to determine what constitutes a fulfilling “quality of life” post-transplant. Let's fortify our healthcare systems to provide inclusive care, dismantle barriers, and advocate for systemic change. Let's continue championing inclusivity and support for a world where everyone is valued and empowered.

Here is an example of a policy from one of our partner transplant programs, NYP CHONY Pediatric Heart Transplant Program.

“Intellectual or developmental disabilities are not considered a determinative limitation on the benefit of transplantation. Stereotypes regarding individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities as compared to individuals without disabilities are not considered when developing or applying inclusionary/exclusionary criteria and policies in the context of determining whether to list a pediatric patient for a heart transplant.”

We encourage all programs to adopt and publicly share your stance on addressing patients with Developmental Disabilities.

ASTS DEI Committee