When Chanda Hinton was 9 years old she suffered a spinal cord injury due to an accidental discharge of a firearm. This moment would forever alter the course of her life, but looking back, Chanda isn’t sure she would change anything. Her work as a disability advocate has altered countless lives, not just by founding the Chanda Center for Health but by changing Colorado law.
Chanda was accidentally shot in the back of the neck between the C5 and C6 vertebrae as a child, when a young boy picked up a gun and it discharged. At 9 years old Chanda was thrust into the traditional medical model. She was told all of the secondary conditions she might experience as a spinal cord injury survivor, given medications, given a wheelchair, and ushered out the door. In her words, “The over-utilization of that very rigid, non-proactive, non-preventative model resulted in me getting very very sick when I was 21.” She had been experiencing chronic pain in her chest, lower abdomen and lower back, and was given opioids without any effort to uncover the root of her pain. Her health deteriorated until she was bed-bound in constant agony, weighing only 59 pounds.
At that point she discovered integrative therapies like acupuncture, chiropractic care, massage and physical therapy, and her life completely turned around. No doctors had thought to integrate movement and body work into her care, which made all the difference in the world. Chanda then devoted herself to gaining access to these services for others. She went to the Colorado legislative body and convinced them that providing integrative therapies to medicaid patients would actually save state dollars, since individuals would be healthier overall and require fewer services. This legislation was passed in 2009, and expanded in 2021 due to it’s success.
In this episode of the Major Pain podcast we sit down with Chanda to discuss her incredible journey and advocacy. She describes reaching out as an adult to the person who accidentally shot her, looking to find peace from the horrific accident that so deeply affected both their lives. She also tells us about the Chanda Center for Health, a 6000 square foot facility in Colorado where people with disabilities get disability competent healthcare.
Visit the Chanda Center online at https://chandacenter.org/
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This episode of Major Pain is supported by a creator grant from the Stimpunks Foundation. This is a nonprofit organization providing mutual aid and human-centered learning for neurodivergent and disabled people. Check them out online at https://stimpunks.org/