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The NIH Director

NIH Efforts to Improve Accessibility and Provide Reasonable Accommodations

July 29, 2009

Purpose

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is making every effort to ensure that our campus and our research activities are accessible to all. The NIH strives to meet and exceed all accessibility standards and to make reasonable accommodations as needed. Reasonable accommodation is defined as a modification or adjustment to a job, the work environment, or the way things usually are done, that enables a qualified individual with a disability to attain the same level of performance available to a similarly situated employee without a disability. If requested or identified, reasonable accommodations are addressed in three aspects of employment: a) in the recruitment/application process; b) in the performance of the essential functions of a job; and c) in receipt of all benefits of employment.

Reasonable accommodations would includen equal access to buildings, conferences, and meetings that are NIH-sponsored services and events.

Recommendations:

  • Ongoing efforts to remove accessibility barriers—Improvements are being made to sidewalks and doors, and we are developing an interactive, Web-based map (plus hard copies at locations such as the Gateway Center) indicating the most accessible way to get to and enter NIH campus buildings. The Office of Research Facilities (ORF) can typically fund facility-related enhancements, such as automated doors in order to provide enhanced accessibility. The ORF point of contact for such facility-related accessibility enhancements is Tracey Johnson-Butler, an architect with specialized knowledge of accessibility. Mr. Johnson may be reached at (301) 402-8494; johnsotr@od.nih.gov.
  • Designation of priority seating in auditoriums and cafeterias—Designations have been placed in our largest conference rooms and will soon appear in the NIH cafeterias. These designations do not preclude the use of this seating by other individuals but should be made available to disabled individuals when requested.
  • Increased enforcement of disabled parking restrictions—Individuals parking in disabled spaces will be randomly asked to provide the State issued disability parking certification in addition to having a disability parking hanger.
  • Parking assistance—Valet attendants are available at lot 31B to assist with disability parking for Buildings 31, 33, and the Building 6 cluster. Attendants at other lots will also assist disabled individuals and others with parking.
  • Utilization of the NIH Police Special Events Unit to assist with parking at campus events—The NIH Special Events Unit (301-402-9133) can assist in obtaining parking for events on campus when given advanced notice.
  • Travel Accommodations—We are seeking to broaden reasonable travel accommodations for employees with disabilities who attend local meetings.

The NIH Disability Employment Committee, chaired by the Disability Employment Program Manager, Office of Equal Employment and Diversity Management (OEODM), serves as a resource for identifying and recommending actions related to employees with disabilities at the NIH. The Committee includes NIH scientists with disabilities who have been involved in the discussions related to the issues under review. This Committee may serve as a resource as recommendations are reviewed and implemented.

For more information on the NIH Disability Employment Program, please contact Carlton Coleman, NIH Disability Program Manager, the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management (OEODM), (301) 496-2906; colemanc@od.nih.gov.

Raynard S. Kington, M.D., Ph.D.

This page last reviewed on April 7, 2011

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