Physician Assistant M.S.

Year Approved


First Advisor

Wallace, Boeve


Nearly 3% of the world’s population have an intellectual disability. A link exists between intellectual disability and higher rates of chronic and preventable diseases, which is partially attributed to lack of health education geared toward individuals with intellectual disability. Health promotion programs can provide health-related resources and education. Health promotion programs are often standardized, making it challenging to meet the various learning needs of individuals with intellectual disability. Special Olympics is the largest organization that provides health-related programming for those with intellectual disability. In Minnesota, the Special Olympics branch known as Health Promotion has reported difficulty with meeting the goal of improving long-term health outcomes for participants through health education. Alongside Special Olympics Minnesota Health Promotion Program organizers, the project team identified three areas for improvement: health curriculum, volunteer training, and program organization. To make changes to the identified areas, the project team conducted a literature review focused on intellectual disability, health promotion, and Special Olympics. The project team implemented curriculum changes adaptable to different learning styles, increased volunteer competency through training, and improved program flow and planning. Changes were implemented in Special Olympics Summer and Fall Games 2018. Following the program changes, volunteer numbers and program attendance increased from previous years and Health Promotion Program coordinators reported an enhanced participant experience, which suggests the community service project positively impacted Special Olympics Minnesota’s Health Promotion Program.

Degree Name

Masters of Science in Physician Assistant

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis

Included in

Primary Care Commons