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Freedom of Information Act Office

IC Directors' Meeting Highlights

February 20, 2002

To: IC Directors
From: Director, Executive Secretariat
Subject: IC Directors Meeting Highlights—February 14, 2002

I. Report of the NIH Task Force on Disability

Mr. Poppke explained that there are two major kinds of services needed by people with disabilities: facilities accessibility and reasonable accommodation (RA). He noted that almost 20 percent of Americans have a disability of some kind, and that this group is not only the largest minority group in the country but is also the only one any of us might join at any time in our lives. Mr. Poppke reviewed the objectives of the NIH Task Force on Disability, its history since November 2000 when Dr. Maddox chartered it, the challenges NIH faces, and the recommendations of the Task Force.

Organizational recommendations:

  • Make reasonable accommodation an NIH corporate responsibility.
  • Establish an office in ORS to serve as the focal point for providing RA services.
  • Keep OHRM as the focal point for identifying, recruiting, and placing qualified individuals with disabilities.

Financing recommendations:

  • Establish a centralized funding mechanism based on IC census.
  • Build/lease only fully accessible facilities.
  • Resurvey to identify needed improvements and reassess needed resources.
  • Review procedures for evacuating employees from NIH-owned and leased facilities.

Policy recommendations:

  • NIH should strive to become the model Federal agency in this area.
  • ORS will gather data on requests and related information.
  • OEO will develop training on reasonable accommodation.
  • NIH will assure that employees with disabilities have access to technical support comparable in quality to the support that employees without disabilities receive.
  • OEO will continue to have responsibility for issues regarding discrimination and oversight of the Rehabilitation Act.

Dr. Maddox thanked Mr. Poppke and the Task Force for their work and asked for input and feedback on the report. Dr. Gallin pointed out that he deals with patients as well as employees. He noted that the CC's interpretive services for patients need to be improved (particularly translation rather than interpretation for people with hearing loss). He would like to work with the Task Force to continue to improve the CC's services. A key issue for both interpreters and translators is the need for them to be familiar with medical terminology.

The meeting continued as principals only.

Karen Pelham O'Steen
cc: OD Staff

This page last reviewed on September 1, 2011

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