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NCHPAD 's Profile


National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability
United States

About Me:

The National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD) is a public health practice and resource center on health promotion for persons with disabilities. They provide disability specific information regarding physical activity, nutrition, and lifestyle weight management along with web-based health promotion programs inclusive to users of all abilities. NCHPAD's website features a database of programs, organizations, parks, and personal trainers all equipped to provide physical activity and health services to persons with disabilities. For more information on resources that can enable people with disabilities to become as physically active as they choose to be, please contact (800) 900-8086 or visit

About Our Bloggers

Allison Hoit, NCHPAD BloggerAllison Hoit, MS, ACSM-HFS, is an Information Specialist for the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD). She holds a Master's degree in Community Health Education from the University of West Florida and a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science from Auburn University. Her work and passion is to promote inclusive healthy communities for all of the five sectors to include community, institutions/organizations, healthcare, schools, and worksites. Leading by example, Allison is an advocate for NCHPAD's mission by participating in regular physical activity such as running, strength training, and yoga along with consuming a healthy diet.

Bob Lujano, NCHPAD BloggerBob Lujano, MS, is an Information Specialist for the National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability (NCHPAD). He holds a Master's degree in Recreation and Sport Management from the University of Tennessee and a Bachelor's degree in History and Pre-Law from the University of Texas. Bob has been a wheelchair rugby athlete for 17 years including a 7 year run on the US Rugby National Team and the US Paralympic program. He holds a silver medal from the 2002 World Championship team and a bronze medal from the 2004 Paralympic team. Outside of the office Bob enjoys public speaking, church activities, reading, going to the movies and the rare occasions of going dancing.

Recent Posts by NCHPAD

Targeting Social Determinants of Health through Inclusive Programming

by NCHPAD November 16, 2010

Kids lpaying basketball

Social determinants of health are social factors which can contribute to our health.  We may not always take into consideration that factors such as income, social support, stress, social exclusion, neighborhood environments and education can have a profound impact on health.  Additionally, one social determinant can actually lead to another and in many cases often does. For example, if you are unemployed, you are more likely to live in poor conditions and lack transportation. In this situation a person may not have the resources to go to a doctor for a medical issue, purchase healthy food, or engage in physical activity.  For more information on social determinants of health,                    visit the CDC Web site.

 Research has shown that healthcare alone cannot counteract the effects of these factors on health.  Interventions and programming, both on the local and more global level, are needed that target these social factors.  These interventions must be inclusive of all populations, including people with disabilities whose health can often have an even greater likelihood of being affected by these determinants.

Creating or adapting your interventions and programs in order to make them more inclusive of everyone is a process, and possibly an intimidating one.   However, simply having the right attitude is a huge step in the right direction.  If you are willing and open to creating modifications to accommodate even one person so he or she can benefit from your program, then you are on your way to being more inclusive.  Here are some suggestions:

  • Worksite health promotion programs must be inclusive and consider appropriate modifications for current (or future) employees with disabilities.  Maybe you don’t have any employees with disabilities now, but one day you may.   Plus, your current employees are aging, increasing the likelihood of age-related activity limitations.  Encouraging healthy behaviors now for people of all abilities can possibly help avoid or delay these limitations or secondary conditions AND improve worker productivity and/or attendance.
  • By including the caregiver or other support provider within a program, you can help not only with the success of the individual with a disability but also increase your success rate twofold!
  • It may be the case that someone can’t get to your facility to participate in a program, whether its because of transportation or another issue.   When this occurs, try to find ways to make your program, or even pieces of it, accessible from a remote location, whether online or through another method.
  • Maybe you don’t have any idea of how to get started, nor do you feel you have the time or resources to make the necessary changes up front in order to make your program more inclusive.  You have to start somewhere, right?  So, start by making sure your marketing materials and targeted audiences are diverse and that you make it known that anyone is invited to participate.  You can then make the changes individually as those people sign up.  Ask the individual what type of accommodations he or she may need in order to benefit from your program, and go from there.
  • Any other suggestions???  Please share!


Social Determinants

Healthy Communities Means Healthy Opportunities

by NCHPAD October 5, 2010

Women and man with flowers

What is a Healthy Community??  There are many definitions out there, the one here is from the Centers for Disease Control:


“A community that is continuously creating and improving those physical and social environments and expanding those community resources that enable people to mutually support each other in performing all the functions of life and in developing to their maximum potential.”

What is your maximum potential?  And how do you reach it?

These questions will probably bring about a variety of answers based on individual needs and abilities.  We all have an individual level of maximum potential and we all need different things in order to achieve that.  Health too is an individual state of being.  We all have an individual state of being that we deem “healthy” or “fit” AND we all need different things in order to achieve that.

So how does a community constantly create and improve the physical and social environment and expand its resources so that everyone can support each other in ALL of life’s functions as well as developing to their own individual maximum potential??

To me a healthy community has the opportunity to obtain proper health care services, the opportunity to receive a good education, the opportunity to play, the opportunity to be social, the opportunity to be intellectually stimulated, the opportunity to be physically active, and the opportunity to be safe while you take advantage of all these other opportunities.  And these opportunities must be for everyone.


For many of us, the opportunity to participate is taken for granted.  I’ll admit it, I don’t feel as if I have encountered many barriers to my personal health pursuits.  That’s where program coordinators and community leaders that, like myself, may not be personally familiar with barriers but have so much to offer to the health of a community, must be educated in terms of making their opportunities available to everyone.


Therefore being inclusive, accessible and available for all, including individuals with a variety of needs, abilities, function, and health conditions is hugely important.  This may sound like a big job, but in truth, some simple guidance can assist these program leaders and key community members in establishing programs for all. 


Here are some ideas:


·    Establish an “Advisory Board” of community members (including consumers with disabilities) to help advise local service providers of low-cost ways to be more accessible and disability friendly. 

·    Make use of your local Chamber of Commerce, alderman’s office, neighborhood planning committee or other similar local organizations to either get the word out about an “Advisory Board” or to provide materials on accessibility and disability etiquette.  These organizations would likely be the first to know when a new service provider or program is coming to your community so getting involved from the beginning could be key.


Please share your ideas for making healthy opportunities in your community available to all.


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Building Healthy Communities

Using the Web to Promote Physical Activity for Everybody!

by NCHPAD August 4, 2010

Man in wheelchair exercising with tension bandsThere is a critical need to increase participation in physical activity for everyone, this we already know.  Unfortunately, many physical activity programs are not designed in a way that includes people with disabilities.  Recognizing the need for inclusive programming and the common barriers to physical activity for people with disabilities (cost, transportation, don’t know where/how to exercise, inaccessible facilities, lack of knowledgeable staff) the staff at the National Center on Physical Activity and Disability (NCPAD) knew it was time to put their heads together to come up with something creative, something that hadn’t been tried before. 

It quickly became clear that the internet is a growing platform for delivering health promotion programs that can tackle many of the barriers faced by people with disabilities and reach large numbers of people.  The existing web-based programs, though, didn’t seem to be providing modifications to allow people with a variety of different abilities to be able to participate.  This was NCPAD’s niche!  After much discussion and research, the 14-Week Program to a Healthier You was born; an inclusive web-based program that uses three stages of progression to promote physical activity (that can be done anywhere, without specialized equipment) and healthy eating for people of all abilities.

We had learned that, in general, the more a web-based program is tailored and interactive, the better the results.  Understanding that one of our greatest challenges was going to be providing resources and exercises that fit the needs of each participant regardless of individual fitness level, exercise experience, and type of impairment, we knew that the opportunity for individualized interaction was crucial. 

With these things in mind, the features of the program were developed. They include:

  • Communication with NCPAD’s 14-Week Coaches via live chat, toll-free hotline, and/or e-mail
  • SMS (text) option
  • Commitment pledge
  • Goal, physical activity, and dietary intake logs
  • Weekly e-mails
  • Weekly updates to the website, including:
    • Motivational note from the coaches
    • Resources on physical activity and nutrition
    • Strength, flexibility, and balance exercises (step-by-step instructions included written description, pictures, videos,  and modifications)
    • Aerobic exercise videos and suggestions (a sample video can be viewed at
    • Advice on frequency, intensity, and duration of physical activity
    • Video blog of one participant’s experience with the program
  • Follow-up wellness coaching with one of the 14-Week Coaches after the 14 weeks had ended

The results, so far, have been fantastic!  Interest in the program far-surpassed what we ever dreamed possible, with 3,500 people registering in 2010.  Although we have yet to do a detailed evaluation of the program, preliminary review shows that people of all abilities increased their levels of physical activity, enjoyed the program, and would highly recommend it to others in their social circle!  We are excited to run the program next spring and work in new ideas to continue to assist individuals of all abilities in becoming more physically active!


How are you creatively promoting physical activity for people of all abilities?       


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This page last updated on: 11/04/2009

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