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A quick look at the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus

Posted in Politics, Scientific research, Support services, Therapeutic treatments by Matt at WelcometoIllinois on July 14, 2008

In my investigation of further information on Down’s syndrome I’ve been reading afair bit about the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus, which was launched before I got this blog up and running. I thought it would be worthwhile taking a quick look at what it is and what it does, as well as whether it could be repeated on this side of the pond.

According to the website of Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers, the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus was formed by her along with Congressman Pete Sessions, Congressman Patrick Kennedy, and Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton.

The mission is “to educate members of Congress and their staff about Down syndrome” and “support legislative activities that would improve Down syndrome research, education and treatment and promote public policies that would enhance the quality of life” of the estimated 350,000 individuals with Down syndrome in the US.

The goals of the caucus are as follows:

  • “To raise expectations and improve outcomes in education.
  • To eliminate barriers to economic opportunity in employment and in programs that promotes savings and investment.
  • To promote and fund research that accelerates the development of effective treatments and therapies.
  • Promote the translation of Down syndrome research into effective new treatments through interdisciplinary cooperation among the various NIH institutes, the FDA, the CDC and privately funded scientists and clinicians.
  • To promote inclusiveness for people with Down syndrome.
  • To help provide family support services and a community of care model.
  • Advocate for the rights of those with Down syndrome and make sure those rights are being enforced.”

What is particularly encouraging about the caucus, from my perspective, is that it appears to be agnostic when it comes to issues of religion, ethics or politics. Of the founding Congresspersons, McMorris Rodgers and Sessions are Republicans while Kennedy and Holmes Norton are Democrats.

McMorris Rodgers and her husband have a one-year-old son with Down syndrome.

A quick scan of the list of all-party groups in UK parliament reveals that there is no Down’s syndrome-specific group in the UK, although there are groups related to learning disability and disability in general.

Of course, you can’t have all-party groups for everything, but given there is room for an all-party Jazz appreciation group one wonders whether room might not be made for a Down’s-related group.


One Response

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  1. […] Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers gained a lot of respect from me for her involvement in the Congressional Down Syndrome Caucus and its role in promoting the US Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness […]

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