Thank you so much for being with us today at our meeting to plan the follow through to the International Year of Disabled
Persons. We all appreciate your bringing a new perspective to the problems on which we have been working. Moreover, you helped
identify a specific approach for our Community Partnership Program in the important area of prevention of disability. I am
writing now to follow-up with a suggested plan for cooperating to make this happen.
The National Year of Disabled Persons is just about to pass in the House of Representatives, and it already has in the U.S.
Senate by unanimous vote on December 16. The President soon will issue a proclamation. A great opportunity for moving our
nation forward in the area of disability, in our view, lies in the area of prevention. It is regrettable, as you and I have
discussed, that the IYDP never provided focus for prevention of disabling conditions. Its focus was primarily "full participation".
As useful as this concept was, the opportunity for effecting major savings and for preventing agonizing disability for millions
of Americans was missed.
The NYDP can help enhance major prevention initiatives. Obviously, your programs and activities are serious, substantive efforts.
At the same time, they depend on information. If we move quickly, I believe we can help the President orient the forthcoming
proclamation for the NYDP to include prevention. We then can proceed on a broad front.
As we discussed, if we could identify, say, a half dozen disabling conditions amenable to promotion of prevention, we could
highlight them as a special prevention agenda for the NYDP. We could develop a targeted information strategy program using
our networks, including our 1,850 Community Partnership Committees and 330 national organizations. We could place emphasis
on savings to society as a whole, as well as on humanitarian concerns. A National Year of Disabled Persons presents a unique
opportunity to launch such an effort. The fact that it is a non-funded program gives it special appeal.
The example you cited of 600,000 elderly people a year who break their hips unnecessarily is an excellent example. The problem
is not finding a medical solution; it is getting people to follow simple procedures through a public information program.
I am sure several such opportunities can be identified.
I write now, Dr. Koop, to request your general approval so that we might work out a cooperative arrangement. I shall give
you a call so that we can "hit the ground running". We can immediately develop a plan of action and move ahead to
ensure a significant initiative in the important area of prevention during the NYDP with payoff for years to come.
Thank you again for your very thoughtful and encouraging remarks at our luncheon at IBM today.