Patient Care

Special Olympics International Chair to Speak at Kirch Conference

Mar. 7, 2010
Event focuses on healthy transitions to adulthood for youth with developmental disabilities

The 5th annual Kirch Conference on March 24 at the Hyatt Regency Rochester will focus on health and wellness issues in the transition to adulthood for young people with developmental disabilities.

Timothy P. Shriver, Ph.D., chairman and chief executive officer of Special Olympics International, will be the featured keynote at the Conference Luncheon at 12:30 in the Hyatt Regency Ballroom. Shiver will speak about how to improve the health and well-being of individuals with developmental disabilities. The luncheon and conference are open to the general public.

The day-long conference, presented by Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities, Golisano Children’s Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), is geared toward young people with developmental and intellectual disabilities, and their families, caregivers, health care professionals and educators. The Golisano Foundation is sponsoring the keynote luncheon, which will be geared to the community-at-large along with conference attendees.

“In its research, Special Olympics has found that people with intellectual disabilities have a greater risk for health issues, and that health care professionals are not trained in or experienced with caring for people with intellectual disabilities. This is why we have invited Dr. Shriver to take part in this conference and discuss solutions he knows have been effective,” said Ann Costello, director of the Golisano Foundation.

“We encourage people throughout the community to attend and learn more about how they can help those in our own community get the help they need as it is our hope that the western and central New York region will become a model for health care access and service.”

The conference will run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and include sessions on practical issues, such as how to switch from a pediatric medical practice to an adult practice, developing social relationships in the transition years and ensuring the financial security of loved ones with developmental disabilities. Workshop session leaders include Martha Mock, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Innovative Transition, and Stephen Sulkes, M.D., director of the Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

“The conference’s theme of healthy transitions to adulthood is one that we are excited to address with our community,” said Susan Hetherington, co-chair of the conference, who holds joint appointments at URMC’s Department of Pediatrics and the University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education, where she is an assistant professor of pediatrics and education. “We want young people with disabilities to thrive in adulthood in all aspects of their lives, and this conference will help them, their families, and their community find the best path to do that.”

The annual Kirch Conference is presented annually to honor Andrew J. Kirch. The Kirch Charitable Trust helps to support the Kirch Developmental Services Center, a multidisciplinary assessment and treatment clinic for children and adolescents with developmental disabilities. The conference’s mission is to bring information about developmental disabilities to individuals with disabilities, their families, and the professionals who work with them.  

Conference Registration & Luncheon Tickets

For registration for the all-day conference or to purchase tickets to the luncheon, please call Carolyn King at (585) 275-6605 or click here. Luncheon tickets are $50 per person. Discounts for students and individuals with disabilities and their families are also available.

Prior to the Luncheon, Shriver will meet with health care providers and leadership from Rochester, Buffalo and Syracuse to talk about how to improve the health status of individuals with developmental disabilities. The Golisano Foundation is also sponsoring that opportunity.

About Timothy P. Shriver

Timothy P. Shriver is the Chairman of Special Olympics, which serves 3.1 million Special Olympics athletes and their families in 175 countries. He has helped transform Special Olympics into a movement that focuses on respect, acceptance, and inclusion for individuals with intellectual disabilities in all corners of the globe.

In his 14 years at the helm, Shriver launched the organization’s most ambitious growth agenda leading to the recruitment of over two million new athletes around the world. He has created new Special Olympics initiatives in athlete leadership, cross-cultural research, health, education, and family support. Among them, Special Olympics Healthy Athletes® has become the world s largest public health screening and education program for people with intellectual disabilities. He has also worked to garner more legislative attention and government support for issues of concern to the Special Olympics community, testifying before Congress on numerous occasions.

Before joining Special Olympics, Shriver was and remains a leading educator focusing on the social and emotional factors in learning. He has worked in substance abuse prevention, violence, dropout prevention, and teen pregnancy prevention.

Shriver earned his undergraduate degree from Yale University, a Master's degree in Religion and Religious Education from Catholic University, and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Connecticut. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.