CHICAGO – Rush University Medical Center was named one of the “Best Places to Work for Disability Inclusion" based on high scores it achieved in the 2019 Disability Equality Index.
The DEI is a comprehensive annual benchmarking tool that allows nationwide leading organizations to self-report their disability policies and practices. This joint initiative of Disability:IN and the American Association of People with Disabilities objectively scores each organization on a scale from 0 to 100, with 100 representing the most inclusive. The Medical Center was among the top scorers, receiving a score of 80.
“This award reinforces for everyone at Rush, with and without disabilities, that we all have a right to expect equity in our workplace," said Kevin Irvine, senior talent acquisition consultant for individuals with disabilities, who accepted the award on behalf of Rush.
“For job seekers with disabilities, or potential employment candidates, this award also signals that they should feel comfortable bringing their authentic selves into a job interview, which makes self-disclosure easier when needed," he said.
The goal of the DEI is to help companies measure their own progress on disability inclusion and challenge them to improve their policies and practices. “Not just because it's the right thing to do, but also because it's also good for business," said Ted Kennedy Jr., disability rights attorney and board chair of AAPD, at the awards ceremony.
Participating DEI organizations have implemented comprehensive efforts that show a commitment to disability inclusion and opportunities for improvement, and Rush is in excellent alignment with these efforts.
“This award recognizes the many disability inclusion initiatives that Rush has already implemented, and the DEI also lays out a roadmap for where we want to go. It also demonstrates that embracing disability inclusion helps Rush achieve the excellence for which we are known," Irvine said.
Indicators of commitment to disability inclusion that Rush already focuses on include the following:
- 93% of companies report having a senior executive who is recognized internally as being a person with a disability and/or as an ally for the community
- 84% of companies have a companywide written statement of commitment to diversity and inclusion that specifically mentions disability
- 92% of businesses encourage employees with a disability to self-identify, and 95% have a confidential process that allows them to do so
Rush is also ahead of the curve when it comes to opportunities for disability inclusion improvement, which include the following:
- While 93% of businesses use a companywide engagement survey, only 36% review the survey results for employees who have identified as having a disability.
- Only 54% of businesses have a diversity council that specifically recognizes disability inclusion as an area of focus.
- Just 30% of businesses have companywide disability focused goals in place for supplier inclusion and diversity.
“As a disabled Rush employee who has HIV and hemophilia B, it's important to me to work someplace where disability inclusion and equity is valued, and I have seen Rush 'walk the walk' in many ways," Irvine said.
“Rush knows that a critical part of improving health equity means having a workforce that reflects and includes the communities we serve, and that means hiring and retaining people with the diverse spectrum of disability, including the large number of us with nonapparent disabilities," he said.
To learn more information about the history, trends, gaps and other insights around disability inclusion go to the 2019 DEI Report.
About the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
AAPD is a convener, connector and catalyst for change, increasing the political and economic power for people with disabilities. As a national cross-disability rights organization AAPD advocates for full civil rights for the 50+ million Americans with disabilities.
Disability:IN, formerly known as the US Business Leadership Network, is the leading nonprofit resource for business disability inclusion worldwide. Partnering with more than 180 corporations, Disability:IN expands opportunities for people with disabilities across enterprises. The organization and 50 affiliates raise a collective voice of positive change for people with disabilities in business. Through its programs and services, Disability:IN empowers businesses to achieve disability inclusion and equality, with the goal of advancing inclusion to the point when the organization is no longer necessary.