UC Health receives $750K grant to support adults with intellectual, developmental disabilities

UC Health officials believe a new $750,000 grant has the potential to drastically improve health care options for Greater Cincinnati adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

The award from the Hatton Foundation is going to the health network’s Dr. Timothy Freeman Center for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.

UC Health plans to use the grant dollars to support the Freeman Center’s efforts to transition patients from pediatric health care to comprehensive adult care. One way the funds will do that is by allowing UC Health to create several new staff positions and provide more wraparound services to patients and their families.

Dr. Lauren Wang, the center’s medical director, described adults with IDD as being underserved by the medical community for “far too long.” With this grant, UC Health has what she described as a unique opportunity to “transform and elevate the healthcare experience for these adults.”

Dr. Lauren Wang interacting with a patient at the Freeman Center.
Dr. Lauren Wang interacts with a patient at the Freeman Center.

Established in 1997, the Cincinnati-based Hatton Foundation is a grant-making organization that provides financial support to medical institutions and research organizations focused on children and persons with disabilities. This is the second grant UC Health has received from Hatton.

“We are grateful to the Hatton Foundation for their leadership in bringing the Freeman Center to life. We truly could not do this work without their support,” added Wang, who’s also an associate professor of Family and Community Medicine at the UC College of Medicine.

Formerly the UC Health Transition Care Clinic, the Freeman Center is an interdisciplinary primary care clinic specifically for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, such as autism, cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and rarer syndromes.

The facility bears the name of Dr. Timothy Freeman, a longtime UC Health physician who dedicated his professional life to serving adults with IDD. The name change took place not long after his passing in 2022.

Today, a primary goal of the Freeman Center is to ease the entry into adult health care for its patients and their families. Services it offers include primary care, behavioral health, psychiatry, physical medicine, rehabilitation and dietary services.

It currently serves approximately 1,000 patients – with more regularly transitioning from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

The Freeman Center is one of the few academic health centers in the country to provide interdisciplinary services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, per UC Health. 

Situated within UC Health, the facility serves as an important training ground for future physicians who want to care for adults with IDD. UC Health is Greater Cincinnati’s only adult academic health system.

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