Special Olympics PEI welcomed local healthcare providers, community partners and supporters, and athletes to the Delta Prince Edward Hotel in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) today, where they recognized the first Golisano Health Leadership Award on the Island.
This Award is the highest honor for health partners and individuals from Special Olympics International. It was created to recognize local health champions and their extraordinary efforts toward fulfilling the goals, values, and mission of the Special Olympics’ global health program, made possible by the Golisano Foundation and additionally supported nationally by Sport Canada.
“Today we are recognizing our very first Healthy Athletes Champion. Dr. Joanne Reid has been instrumental in our Health programs since we began offering the first screening in 2015. She helped Special Olympics PEI offer the first MedFest event in CANADA! She also represented us and our country at the 2015 World Summer Games in Los Angeles as a Healthy Athletes Medfest Volunteer.” said Matthew McNally, Program Director, Special Olympics PEI. “Dr. Reid is very patient, clear, respectful and caring. She has worked diligently to connect athletes to the follow-up care they have needed to live a longer, healthier life”.
MedFest is one of eight different Healthy Athletes’ screenings available through Special Olympics that can identify many different needs an athlete has, which impacts their sport performance. The purpose of the Healthy Athletes programs is to provide free health examinations, follow-up care and education, throughout the year to people with intellectual disabilities and in many cases, has been able to save lives. The Healthy Athletes program has made Special Olympics the largest health care provider for people with intellectual disabilities in the world and is changing the way health systems interact individuals.
“This is such an honour! Special Olympics is a great organization,” said Dr. Joanne Reid. “I have really enjoyed supporting these athletes and it was inspiring to be at the 2015 World Summer Games and work with so many individuals.”
In order for athletes to perform at their best, both on and off the playing field, Special Olympics PEI (SOPEI) believes that promoting a healthy life style to our athletes is critical to their success. SOPEI is exploring ways to improve health access, services and wellness programs as part of a 3-year Healthy Communities grant. They are currently completing an environmental scan to understand the services and resources available on the island and in 2019 will be exploring and developing partnerships to improve and sustain health services available to individuals with intellectual disabilities.