RUSH Raises the Bar Again for Workplace Disability Inclusion

RUSH University Medical Center named a "Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion" for the fifth straight year
DEI Rankings - Score of 90

For the fifth year in a row, RUSH University Medical Center has been recognized as a "Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion" based on a top score of 90 in the 2023 Disability Equality Index — an increase of 10 points from last year’s score.  

The increase was due in large part to RUSH's prioritization of accessibility and inclusion in digital spaces such as websites and other virtual platforms.  

“Being recognized as one of the most inclusive places to work for people living with disabilities reflects RUSH’s strong commitment diversity and inclusion and to lead in digital delivery of health care,” said Dr. Omar Lateef, President and CEO of RUSH.  “Disability rights are front and center when we serve our patients, engage our employees, faculty, and students, and design our physical and virtual spaces, like our website.”  

“All of us are very proud of and grateful to the many people who lead these efforts at RUSH, especially our ADA committee, our Disabilities Employee Resource Group and the media and communications team,” Lateef said. 

In 2022, the AHIMA Foundation and Mathematica partnered to analyze data on the state of accessibility compliance across the website home pages of 106 top U.S. hospitals. They found that only 4.9% of hospitals on the honor roll or the top hospital lists were compliant with industry standards on web content accessibility. Following the publication of their findings, AHIMA reached out to RUSH to commend its commitment to accessibility and learn more about ongoing accessibility initiatives at RUSH.  

The Disability Equality Index is an annual comprehensive benchmarking tool that allows organizations around the nation to self-report and measure disability inclusion efforts. This joint initiative of Disability: IN and the American Association of People with Disabilities creates space for organizations and businesses to evaluate policies that improve the workplace for people with disabilities.  

Each company receives a score, on a scale of zero to 100, with those earning 80 and above recognized as a “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion.” 

Since 2019, RUSH University Medical Center has been participating in the DEI as an ongoing commitment to paving the way for a more inclusive and accessible community in its health care services, education, facilities and employment practices.   

The DEI measures a wide range of criteria within various categories, including culture and leadership, enterprise-wide access, employment practices, community engagement and supplier diversity. 

RUSH University Medical Center has earned national recognition as a leader in increasing the accommodation and inclusion of people with disabilities in its services, education and employment.  

“RUSH’s commitment to hiring people with all kinds of disabilities has been invaluable in assisting us to improve the accessibility and inclusivity of our system,” says Kevin Irvine, senior talent acquisition consultant for individuals with disabilities, who serves as co-chair of RUSH’s ADA Task Force.

“When you have people with lived experience throughout your organization, they might notice things that other people don't because of their own personal insights from their experiences with the health care system or educational system,” Irvine said.

Since obtaining DEI recognition in 2019, RUSH has hired a record number of new employees who self-identified as individuals with disabilities into full and part-time employment. In the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2023, RUSH hired a total of 165 self-identified individuals with disabilities, which is a 68% increase from 2022 and a 92% increase from 2021. 

Beyond the numbers, RUSH’s commitment to supporting and including employees with disabilities has real-world effects on people’s lives in and outside of the workplace.  

“I knew that RUSH was the right place for me to work when I received an overwhelmingly positive response of support and willingness to go out of the way to accommodate my needs, even before hiring me,” says Mary Bucklin, a postdoctoral researcher at RUSH.  

“The Disabilities Employee Resource Group has provided me with many resources for managing a disability in the workplace. I am very grateful to work in such a supportive and inclusive environment, without which I would not be able to succeed in my career.” 

To learn more about the Disability Equality Index and what RUSH University Medical Center and other companies are doing to support disability inclusion, read the full report on Disability: IN’s website.  

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