Montana Communities Recognized for Inclusion of People with Disabilities

November 14, 2017

MISSOULA – Two Montana communities are in the national spotlight for providing healthy community activities for people with disabilities.

The recently released video series “Promoting Activity and Inclusive Healthy Communities” showcased Butte and Helena as being among 10 communities in five states to improve healthier lifestyle choices for people living with disabilities.

Meg Ann Traci, a research associate professor at the University of Montana Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities, served as Montana’s expert adviser on the project, as well as senior consultant on the Montana Disability and Health Program.

In Butte, citizens planning a new community pool have incorporated zero-entry decks, wheelchair-accessible pool lifts, stairs with handrails and family-changing rooms into the design of the $7.2 million facility to make it inclusive for all. They also have designed an accessible playground next to the pool. The Butte video is online at

Helena hosted workshops with the Montana Healthy Communities Coalition to integrate inclusivity for people with disabilities into the city’s walkways and signage. With the goal of inclusion, the community now has trained facilitators who lead regular walk audits with key leaders, community members and decision-makers. The Helena video is online at

The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors released the video collection in partnership with the Lakeshore Foundation’s National Center on Health, Physical Activity and Disability, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Disability and Health Branch.

At the end of 2015, the NACDD selected Montana, Iowa, New York, Oregon and Ohio to participate in its Disability and Healthy Communities Project through an objective scoring process. For the project, the CDC’s Disability and Health Branch granted each participating community $22,800, ending June 30, with additional funding awarded this fall to support continuing work through June 30, 2018.

“From hiking path signs for people with a visual impairment to adapted bikes in school systems, we were impressed with how participating communities leveraged their grants to improve inclusion in treasured community resources like parks, farmers’ markets and playgrounds,” said Karma Harris, one of NACDD’s disability inclusion experts.

The “Promoting Activity and Inclusive Healthy Communities” video collection is now available on the NACDD website at and on YouTube at      


Contact: Kerry Morse, communications associate, UM Rural Institute for Inclusive Communities, 406-243-2515,