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Vol. 20 (2023): Population Health Equity for People with Intellectual Disability, Autism, and Mental Health Challenges and Other Special Populations
					View Vol. 20 (2023): Population Health Equity for People with Intellectual Disability, Autism, and Mental Health Challenges and Other Special Populations

Dear Reader,  

For this September 2023 issue, our partner organization, Woods System of Care, has joined us to curate and launch “Population Health Equity for People with Intellectual Disability, Autism, Mental Health Challenges and Other Special Populations.” 

Health equity means that everyone has a fair and just opportunity to be as healthy as possible while acknowledging that not everyone is the same or requires the same services. Health equity crosses over many sectors, not only disability but also child welfare, criminal and juvenile justice, and aging.

Why is it important to focus on health equity for those with intellectual disabilities, autism, or mental health challenges, and other special populations? Disparities in access to healthcare and health outcomes are significant for those with any disability, especially for the 35% of people with intellectual disability or autism who also have a mental health diagnosis. In the U.S., 1 in 5 people has a mental health diagnosis—that equates to over 43 million people. The need is incredibly great. There are more than 7 million people with an intellectual disability diagnosis in the U.S., and 1 in 36 children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder. Exacerbating the issue, people who belong to minority groups tend to be diagnosed later and less often. This leads to their missing out on early intervention, which can make an enormous difference in supporting healthy development. Mental health challenges alone—considering that 60% of adults with a mental illness do not receive treatment—have a tremendous impact on a person’s overall health and well-being, which are compounded by other disabilities.

The articles in this issue speak to three broad themes—access to healthcare, inclusion, and promising practices. Just a few of the topics authors address include fostering health equity for Latinx populations with cultural awareness; a 10-step plan for pursuing equity for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and autism and systems change; creating affordable housing for community members with disabilities; a statewide program funding pioneering inclusive, healthy community initiatives for those with disabilities; and using data and technology to enable health equity.

We hope that all stakeholders in this space—individuals receiving services, families, providers, policymakers, and government agencies—will be able to take valuable information from this issue.
Tine Hansen-Turton, Woods Services, Guest Edition Curator and Editor 
Nicholas Torres, Co-Founder, Social Innovations Journal

Published: 2023-09-13

Promising Practices

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We accept article submissions in Education, Human Services, Social Mobility, and Health.  We encourage article submissions to include components of Social Enterprise, System Change, Policy, and  Collaborations. 

Article Guidelines

  • Please include a title for your article exactly as you would like them to appear once published.
  • Please include the author(s) and affiliations immediately following the title
  • Please include keywords (metadata) for searching purposes.
  • Please include an abstract of your article and submit it along with your article.
  • Font should be 12-point for the body of article and Times Roman style.
  • Please remember to cite all sources for your article. We do NOT publish footnotes.  We publish endnotes. 
  • For all graphics as well as charts, tables, and figures please embed them within the article exactly how you want them to appear. Please submit only high-resolution images for publishing.  For all photos and images include a suggested caption and photo credit information (if required).
  • We recommend articles being 1,000 – 1,500 words.  Research articles are recommended to be between 4,000 – 6,000 words.
  • Please define acronyms the first time they appear.  Define trade or sector-specific terminology to ensure that your article is reader friendly.  Keep in mind that you are writing to a broad audience that includes international readers.


  • Frame the issue and define the social problem and context clearly. What local context or circumstances gave rise to this particular problem?
  • Offer the innovative solution and explain how your idea/model works.  Include narrative regarding how you will know you have achieved success (outcome and/or impact measures).
  • Differentiate your idea/model from current models. How is the solution distinct from current models?
  • Provide insight into how the model is financed.
  • Discuss scaling, scaling impact, and social and policy implications.

Tone and audience

  • Bottom line writing: Begin with a concise executive summary (about 10% of total word count) that gives the gist of the article. Follow this with a narrative that is guided by the outline above.
  • Academic framework: Place the social innovation within the context of best practice research. However, minimize use of citations and footnotes.
  • Audience: Write for social investors, government, not-for-profits, academia and the private sector who have a vested interest in increasing their regional impact through high-impact social innovation. 


  • Submit the article text as a Word file. Make sure figures/tables are fully editable (NOT LINKED).
  • Provide references. References should be included at the end of the article.  Please do not use FOOTNOTES or ENDNOTES.
  • SIJ uses The Chicago Manual of Style (