RUSH University Medical Center has been named a "Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion" for the fourth year in a row, based on a top score in the 2022 Disability Equality Index.
“This designation is a powerful affirmation of RUSH’s strong commitment to serve all,” said Dr. Omar Lateef, President and CEO of RUSH. “RUSH has a long history of caring for and supporting patients, employees, faculty and students with disabilities and promoting disability rights. Our commitment is reflected in how we provide care, treat one another and design our spaces, and always strive to improve and expand access for people with disabilities.”
“All of us at RUSH feel pride in being recognized for the fourth time and thank the many people who lead these efforts, particularly our ADA committee and our Disabilities Employee Resource Group,” said Lateef.
The DEI, as the index is known, is a comprehensive annual benchmarking tool that allows leading organizations nationwide to self-report their disability policies and practices. This joint initiative of Disability:IN and the American Association of People with Disabilities provides an objective and confidential disability inclusion rating tool to assist businesses.
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.” Participating in the DEI was a natural extension of the Medical Center’s longstanding commitment to accessibility and disability inclusion in its health care services, education, facilities and employment practices.
The DEI measures a wide range of criteria within several categories.
- Culture and Leadership: Organizations commit to and demonstrate a sustained, visible cultural commitment to disability inclusion and demonstrate visible leadership commitment to disability inclusion throughout the organization.
- Enterprise-Wide Access: Organizations commit to and demonstrate commitment to workplace accessibility.
- Employment Practices: Organizations commit to and demonstrate commitment to benefits, recruitment practices, employment practices and accommodation practices that fully incorporate and include individuals with disabilities.
- Community Engagement: Organizations demonstrate public-facing engagement practices that celebrate and support individuals with disabilities.
- Supplier Diversity: Organizations commit to and demonstrate supplier diversity practices that fully include and utilize businesses owned by people with disabilities, including military veterans and veterans with military service-related disabilities.
July 26 marks the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The ADA offers a promise of equal opportunity in many areas of public life, including employment, but it takes employers with a deep commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility to make its promise a reality for the one in five people who have disabilities. The Medical Center established its ADA Task Force within the first year of the law taking effect.
"As a disability rights advocate who has worked for many years on education about and enforcement of the ADA, I’m proud to work for an organization that strives every day to deliver on that promise," says Kevin Irvine, senior talent acquisition consultant for individuals with disabilities, who serves as co-chair of the Medical Center’s ADA Task Force.
RUSH University Medical Center long has been recognized as a national leader in accommodating people with disabilities, a commitment reflected in the numerous accessible design features included in the hospital Tower the Medical Center opened in 2012 and in the new outpatient building it will open at the end of this year.
Since the Medical Center first achieved DEI recognition in 2019, the number of Medical Center employment applicants who self-identify as individuals with disabilities has increased by 83%, and the number of people with disabilities hired has increased every year. In the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2022, 98 new employees with disabilities joined the Medical Center’s workforce in a wide variety of roles.
Beyond the numbers, employees with disabilities are having an impact on the Medical Center community in many different ways. In 2021, members of the Medical Center’s Disabilities Employee Resource Group organized and presented webinars on the experience of people with invisible disabilities in the workplace and on mental health awareness and resources. Employees with hearing loss successfully advocated for increased availability of captioning for online meetings and events, as well as greater use of clear face masks to make communication more effective. When RUSH University students with disabilities expressed a need to be connected to clinical professionals with similar disabilities, many Medical Center clinicians with disabilities stepped up to serve as mentors. 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