CareerACCESS Takes Over Washington, D.C. in July and Reaches New Milestones

For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C., USA–CareerACCESS has found a federal agency that wants to be its lead agency. Bob Williams, the Deputy Commissioner of the Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living, stated at four different events that his agency will do all they can to help pilot CareerACCESS. At an event with people from CareerACCESS, Bob had ten of his staff learn why CareerACCESS was important. As the keynote speaker at the closing plenary, Bob stated his commitment to CareerACCESS, and at a NCIL board meeting he said that Annette Shea will be our liaison. Right after the board meeting, Bob met with some of us to strategize steps.

Jennifer Sheehy, acting Assistant Secretary of the Office of Disability Employment Policy, also expressed real interest in seeing that CareerACCESS gets piloted. She appointed Andy Arias as the liaison to CareerACCESS.

We had a meeting with members from the CareerACCESS National Advisory Committee including Bob Zdenek, Jack Mills, and Michael Morris to brainstorm how we might begin piloting without engaging SSI. Much more discussion is required.

We met with David Hoppe, Chief of Staff for Paul Ryan, and Ted McCann, legislative analyst. They were happy to hear that Senator Leahy from Vermont included provisions in the Senate Appropriations Bill that would allow a CareerACCESS type of program to be studied. They were very clear that no Appropriations Bill would be approved until next year. They wanted to know that we had consensus from the Developmental Disability Community. Although they made no commitments, they invited us to keep in contact.

A group of seven, six people in wheelchairs, all smiling
Photo (from left to right): Frances Isbell, Andy Arias, Bob Williams, Eric Glunt, Barbara Butz, Neil Jacobson, and Daniel Mellenthin.

More than 100 people attended the CareerACCESS workshop at the National Council on Independent Living’s Annual Conference. Enthusiasm was very high. Andy Arias and Daniel Melthimin did an excellent job leading the workshop. Mary Margaret Moore from Massachusetts and Kathy Hoell from Nebraska did a wonderful job talking about their states’ desire to pilot CareerACCESS. The CareerACCESS workshop followed a dinner the night before that was attended by over 20 young adults with disabilities from all over the country that spoke enthusiastically about working with us to get CareerACCESS implemented.

We spoke with Gene Sterling from the Urban Institute who discussed the need for CareerACCESS in order to create a workers pipeline to fill the workers shortage that they expect will happen in the very near future. We also spoke with Mike Murphy and Corbin Evans from the Center for Responsible Federal Budget. They may be interested in working with us on developing a Return on Investment for CareerACCESS.

We had a good meeting with Yoni Ben Shalom from Mathematica. He recommended we look into the LADDER Act and see where CareerACCESS might intersect with it. We met with two young adults with disabilities interested in the CareerACCESS Project Manager position.

We met with the PolicyWorks Board. One of the Board members noted that CareerACCESS was a revolutionary idea whose time has come. All in all, it was a very productive week. CareerACCESS is clearly on the national radar. We are coming home with a slew of follow-up items. Now is the time to forge ahead and Go! Go! Go!

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WID’s Accessibility Partner JPMorgan Chase Kicks Off New Conference Accessibility Initiative

Increases access to 10 major community development and civil rights conferences for people with disabilities

For Immediate Release

Washington, D.C.–JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM), in collaboration with the World Institute on Disability (WID), today launches its Conference Accessibility Initiative. Through this initiative, 10 of the largest community development and civil rights conferences in the United States, including the NAACP, National Fair Housing Alliance, National Housing Conference, National Urban League and the Corporation for Economic Development, will for the first time, be fully inclusive of people with disabilities and enable them to both attend and fully participate in conference sessions.

“People with disabilities experience economic hardship at rates that exceed the national average. At JPMorgan Chase, we believe that the private sector has both a responsibility and role to play in helping address economic and social challenges,” said Naomi Camper, Head of the Office of Nonprofit Engagement at JPMorgan Chase. “Through the Conference Accessibility Initiative, JPMorgan Chase is excited to create more inclusive advocacy and community development conversations and expand the way people think about diversity and inclusion.”

Highlights of the Conference Accessibility Initiative include:

  • Concierge services for conference participants with disabilities
  • Scholarships provided for people with disabilities, including travel and registration costs
  • Integration into conference plenary sessions, panel discussions and awards (i.e., subject-matter experts on panels, presenters with disabilities and closed captioning)
  • Encouragement of organizations to have panel discussions on disability-related topics

“We are so excited to be part of this Conference Accessibility Initiative,” said Tom Foley, WID’s Deputy Director. “There are civil rights and community development organizations doing some amazing work to help to create opportunity for low and moderate income communities. And we know—we absolutely know—that when we’re talking about these communities, we are talking about people with disabilities. Thanks to the partnership with JPMorgan Chase, people with disabilities will be able to attend these conferences. We will be at the table and part of the conversation!”

Large civil rights and community development conferences help to set the economic opportunity agenda. The conferences that JPMorgan Chase has selected attract key decision makers from the nonprofit, business and public sector communities. The Conference Accessibility Initiative aims to fully integrate disability access issues into the content and enable people with disabilities to fully participate in these critical national discussions of economic opportunity and inclusion.

For more information about the JPMorgan Chase Conference Accessibility Initiative, visit

About JPMorgan Chase

JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE: JPM) is a leading global financial services firm with assets of $2.4 trillion and operations worldwide. The firm is a leader in investment banking, financial services for consumers and small businesses, commercial banking, financial transaction processing and asset management. A component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, JPMorgan Chase & Co. serves millions of consumers in the United States and many of the world’s most prominent corporate, institutional and government clients under its JPMorgan and Chase brands. Information about JPMorgan Chase & Co. is available at

About World Institute on Disability

The World Institute on Disability (WID) is a policy, research and consulting organization committed to the elimination of barriers to full social integration and the development of employment, economic security and health care for persons with disabilities. WID creates innovative programs and tools; conducts research, training, public education and advocacy campaigns; and provides consulting services.

Disclaimer: This press release has been replicated with permission from WID’s accessibility partner, JPMorgan Chase & Co.

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Training & Peer Support

Peer Support Health Access Training Program for Disabled Women

This is a peer counseling training model for disabled women, conducted at a disability organization in 2004, that is appropriate for Centers for Independent Living, disability support organizations, Senior Centers, and other community-based disability rights or elder services organizations. This program provided training in peer counseling skills, health and health access awareness, and a personal growth experience, emphasizing empowerment and self-advocacy skills. The specific skills that were taught and practiced in this group are described in the Support Group Training Guide.

Peer Counseling (PDF)

A Training Curriculum on Improving Access and Quality of Care for Women with Disabilities

This curriculum offers teachers and leaders in the disability community an array of training resources about issues of medical self-advocacy. These resources can be used in classrooms, workshops and staff meetings as well as one-on-one tutoring in self-advocacy.

Training Curriculum (PDF)

Facilitating Support Groups

Support groups are among the best and most popular approaches to empowering and connecting people. In support groups, participants can open up, realize they are not alone, heal old hurts, set new goals, learn new skills, take charge of their lives, and become leaders themselves. For many people, a support group is the best arena for these kinds of changes.

Leading a support group can be a rewarding and growth-enhancing activity. However, it can also be very challenging. This article discusses ideas and approaches to facilitating an effective support group. It addresses the planning process before the group begins, an overview of leadership skills and activities, ways to include people with communication impairments, difficulties and challenges that may arise, and evaluation of the group.

Support groups have changed millions of people’s lives for the better. This structured group interaction is particularly useful for people with disabilities to learn to direct their own health care, become more communicative with providers, understand and assert their rights and become active partners in their own healthcare.

Facilitating Support Groups (PDF)

Empowerment Training Sessions and Events

The suggestions in this article offer ideas and explanations for developing and structuring empowerment training sessions and events. Keep in mind that training needs of populations of disabled people or families will vary, so feel free to make adaptations. We also encourage reading Facilitating Support Groups because training events and support groups can be similar with respect to group dynamics.

Empowerment Training Sessions and Events (PDF)

Disability Awareness Workshop

The purpose of this workshop is to introduce and explore important information about people with disabilities. We will demystify the concept “disability” and offer basic skills for interacting with and accommodating people with disabilities.

The following are the goals of the workshop:

  • Increase participant awareness of disability issues and disability culture.
  • Offer a basic understanding of the barriers preventing people with disabilities from full participation in society.
  • Encourage participants with disabilities to share their knowledge and help educate others.

Section 1 contains activities that introduce participants to basic disability concepts and issues, such as the civil rights of people with disabilities. Section 2 introduces participants to the concepts of access and accommodation and encourages participants to become more aware of their environment with regard to access. Section 3 helps participants recognize stereotyping and familiarizes them with appropriate language, etiquette, and disability culture when communicating and interacting with people with disabilities.

Workshop activities are interactive, hands-on, and enjoyable. Each activity provides many examples of the terms and concepts covered and demonstrates the importance of understanding the information presented. Sections 1 and 2 each contain two activities, and the facilitator may choose one activity or the other to impart the information. Sections 1 and 3 are supplemented with handouts that summarize and reinforce the terms and concepts presented in this workshop.

Trainers can easily facilitate this workshop with people with a range of disabilities. If you or your program does not include people with disabilities, you might consider enlisting a staff person or trainer from a local Independent Living Center, Disabled Students Program, or other disability organization to conduct this workshop. Although these materials and activities are designed so that anyone with some basic knowledge of disability and disability issues can facilitate, the material will be most effectively presented by trainers with disabilities. In order to more effectively present these activities, trainers should also see the Empowerment Training and Support Group Facilitation articles to learn more about approaches to working with groups and difficult situations that can come up during training sessions.

Disability Awareness Workshop (PDF)

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The Last Sisters: Heath Issues of Women with Disabilities

by Carol J. Gill

Women with disabilities may sometimes have complex needs, but failure to acknowledge their commonalities and similarities with other women marginalizes and isolates women who are struggling to see themselves and wish others to see them as women, not as genderless beings. Carol Gill raises critical questions about how to meet the health needs of women whose place in the diversity of womankind has often been neglected.

This article was originally published by Carol Gill in:

Gill, C.J. (1997) “The last sisters: Disabled women’s health” In S.B. Ruzek, V. Olesen, & A. Clarke (Eds.) Women’s Health: Complexities and Differences. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press.

It is reprinted here in PDF form with the author’s consent.
The Last Sisters- Heath Issues of Women with Disabilities (PDF)

Strong Proud Sisters: Girls and Young Women with Disabilities

by Harilyn Rousso

Girls and young women with disabilities encounter substantial barriers to receiving quality medical care. Rousso explores this range of factors, including architectural barriers in health care facilities and policy barriers in public insurance programs, and how they impact health care access of disabled girls and women from birth to age 17. Underlying these barriers are discriminatory attitudes about disabled people as they intersect with attitudes about females. Negative attitudes inform personal interactions and essential communication between patient and health care provider. More broadly, our society does not seem to recognize that the needs of disabled girls and young women deserve attention and resources.

This article was originally published by Harilyn Rousso in:

Rousso, Harilyn, 2001. Strong Proud Sisters: Girls and Young Women with Disabilities. Center for Women Policy Studies. Washington, DC 202-872-1770

It is reprinted here in PDF form with the author’s consent.
Strong Proud Sisters- Girls and Young Women with Disabilities (PDF)

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Access to Medical Care DVD Set & Training Curriculum

“Access to Medical Care” is a DVD set and training curriculum for physicians, dentists, nurses, and other medical staff about key issues that influence the quality of care in outpatient clinical settings. It empowers providers, patients, and families to achieve accessible, appropriate care in compliance with U.S. disability law.

“Full of practical, meaty information, this program demystifies disability, emphasizes that ‘disability’ is not ‘illness.’ The central theme is that the outward manifestations of disability do not mean that there is a diminution of human capacity…Powerful and instructive. ” – Dr. Robert Master, Commonwealth Care Alliance, Boston.

“Access to Medical Care: People with Developmental Disabilities” is a 25-minute DVD that includes closed captions and audio descriptions. Watch a preview:

“Access to Medical Care: Adults with Physical Disabilities,” selected for Brandeis University’s Irving Zola Memorial Lecture Award in 2008, is a 22-minute DVD that includes closed captions. Watch a preview:

Through compelling interviews with individuals, physicians, nurses, dentists, parents, and advocates, the two DVDs introduce and clarify key concepts in treating people with physical and developmental disabilities. Appropriate for students and professionals, they:

  • Explore the views and experiences of people with disabilities and providers in establishing rapport and effective communication,
  • Address cultural competence, access, and communication issues that often arise in the clinic,
  • Identify common myths and stereotypes that interfere with accurate assessment of patients,
  • Explain barriers that result in disparities in health care delivery, including physical/architectural, communication, attitudinal, and social/economic policy,
  • Identify the most common access and accommodation needs of adults with physical, sensory and communication disabilities, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act and explain feasible, cost-effective solutions,
  • Clarify essential principles of quality care in treating people with disabilities,
  • Reinforce key learning points in bulleted graphics (available in printed handouts in the curriculum).

When purchased, the DVD set comes with “Access to Medical Care: Training Tools for Health Care Providers, Disabled Patients, and Advocates on Culturally Competent Care and Compliance with Disability Law.” This accompanying text offers a case-based learning exercise and extensive in-depth reference materials. It provides essential knowledge for appropriate provision of care and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The curriculum emphasizes access and communication as the fundamental components in addressing health care disparities for people with disabilities. It is included free with any purchase of either of the DVDs or can be downloaded here: Complete PDF: Access to Medical Care Curriculum.

Go to the publications page to learn more about purchasing details.

Note: The curriculum was developed by the World Institute on Disability, in collaboration with Nisonger Center, Ohio State University; Center for Health Care Strategies; Kaiser Foundation Multi-Media; California HealthCare Foundation.

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Disability FEAST

Disability FEAST (Food Education, Access, Support, & Training) is an online “cookbook plus” for people with disabilities and seniors. It has several recipes like a classic cookbook, PLUS dozens of tip sheets and external resources.

The disability and senior communities often struggle to get access to good, nutritious food, and thus, they rely on fast food or frozen meals. This causes long-term health problems like heart disease and diabetes.

Disability FEAST offers 50 home-cooked recipes that are healthy, affordable, easy to make, and delicious! The tip sheets and external resources add an extra layer of support to the site, addressing a vast range of different needs for grocery shopping, food preparation, and cooking as a person with a disability.

Click on the image below to visit the Disability FEAST website!

Link to the Disability FEAST website; image of the homepage of Disability FEAST, featuring a bowl of avocado slices
Visit the website for more information!

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