Special Olympics Washington is excited to announce its five newest Health Messengers who will lead their peers and families in advocating for healthcare providers and governments to adopt inclusive policies around health, wellness services, education and resources for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD)!

People with IDD face barriers and stigmas in the healthcare industry every day, too often resulting in inadequate and inequitable medical care. In its mission to end this exclusion, Special Olympics has committed to placing individuals with IDD at the front lines, empowering them to lead the way in creating a solution.


Since its inception in 2016, Special Olympics’ Health Messengers program has done just this, existing to make healthcare more inclusive for individuals with IDD by training athletes to be health and wellness leaders, educators, advocates and role models within their communities through the following two-part training model:

  1. Technical Skill Set: Provides athletes with the skills needed to strengthen their leadership abilities and equip them to speak up for themselves and others.
  2. Advocacy Skills Set: Empowers athletes to advocate for the health needs of individuals with IDD and promotes their knowledge of health concepts.


Special Olympics Washington looks forward to the monumental impact these newest Health Messengers will have on our mission to improve health systems and create more effective public health programs across Washington State!