Health is more than medicine

Donald Lollar, Randall A. Phelps

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


The World Health Organization definition of “health” has become all but a cliché. It is often used to highlight the need to address issues beyond the traditional medical model, often associated with deficits, disease, or disability. Most often the definition is all that is provided. The specifics of how a medical practitioner or a medical organization moves beyond medicine toward a focus on health are usually sketchy, at best. While health is certainly the outcome that medicine addresses, the emphasis is most often the reduction or elimination of deficits or deficiencies. This chapter will address the varied secondary conditions to which individuals with developmental disabilities are most vulnerable, and will identify the attitudes, approaches, and practices (the barriers) that undermine the health of individuals with developmental disabilities. We will balance this by identifying concepts, approaches, and practices that can encourage health. Health promotion is the process of enabling people to increase control over, and to improve, their health. This goal of helping individuals increase control over their health, with the requisite understanding and behaviors to improve their health is a critical one for individuals with developmental disabilities. Myers concluded that if individuals with developmental disabilities are to move toward health, there is a need for “greater professional humility to appreciate that people with both physical and intellectual impairments are able to experience and articulate their own satisfaction, pleasure, and joy”. Medicine is a crucial component of health, but health is more than medicine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHealth Care for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Across the Lifespan
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9783319180960
ISBN (Print)9783319180953
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Psychology(all)


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