Document Type


Publication Date



The World Health Organization estimates 15% of the world’s population is living with disability and anticipates an increase as the population ages. Disability is a growing healthcare concern and presents a tremendous burden to all nations. The world will soon need to provide health and rehabilitative care for an enormous number of persons with disability. The purpose of this article is to provide a brief narrative review pertaining to global health and rehabilitation, and to motivate the rehabilitation professions in taking immediate action through further investment in global health initiatives to manage both the current and projected burden of disability. A deficient level of research exists in global health by the rehabilitation professions and there is significant lag in their efforts when compared to other healthcare professions. The World Health Organization’s World Report on Disability (2011), Global Disability Action Plan 2014-2021, and the Global Burden of Disease study are pivotal bodies of work in this field. They serve as both a model and a challenge to affect large-scale global change among the rehabilitation professions. Collectively, an immediate effort is needed to bolster disability and rehabilitation research in developing nations, global rehabilitative outreach programs, and improve access to rehabilitative healthcare to persons with disability in order to fully address the magnitude of this matter.