The National Institutes of Health (NIH) ABILITIES group is an NIH Employee Resource Group (ERG) established to foster a welcoming, supportive, and respectful workplace that promotes success for all NIH staff, regardless of ability or disability and is open to all NIH staff, regardless of personnel status or hiring mechanism.
Normally, NIH ABILITIES meets bi-monthly and alternates between meeting on- and off-campus, to enable more people to attend; participation is always available; currently, NIH ABILITIES continues to meet exclusively by WebEx. All meetings are real-time captioned and reasonable accommodations are always provided upon request.
Due to COVID-19 and primarily working remotely, though we haven't been able to meet in person, it’s been a great opportunity to share and compare notes on what remote access tools are accessible and which are not and how to incorporate accessibility into remote access for meeting both large and small and into webinar and events. As an organization of and for employees with disabilities, NIH ABILITIES strives to model being as accessible as possible, by design, while recognizing that each person is different and may need unique reasonable accommodations to participate effectively and equally.
The NIH ABILITIES' objectives and strategies are:
- To provide a safe, respectful forum for discussion and information exchange about issues of concern regarding the full inclusion of persons with disabilities of any form at the NIH.
- To increase all NIH employees’ and leaderships’ awareness of the value and unique contributions made by persons with disabilities at all levels of the organization.
- To increase all NIH employees’ awareness of and participation in NIH programs and goals to increase the inclusion of persons with disabilities at all levels of the organization.
- To improve the quality of the NIH workplace for all staff, but in particular for employees with disabilities, including work, technologies, communications and interactions, recruitment, hiring, retention, training, and promotion.
- To make recommendations to NIH, its leaders, and components, and its employees for addressing identified problems and gaps in NIH's work environments, technologies, communications and interactions, recruitment, hiring, retention, training and promotion, policies, and programs.
- To sponsor workshops, forums, and other scientific and/or education events in support of the NIH ABILITIES mission, and
- To serve as a resource for and participate in NIH working groups, committees, and other relevant activities, representing employees with disabilities and their concerns, like other ERGs.
The NIH ABILITIES listserv provides the NIH ABILITIES community with a means for information sharing and discussion between meetings, as well as announcing upcoming meeting dates, times, and locations.
Please note that only NIH email addresses can subscribe to the ABILITIES listserv.
- To join the NIH ABILITIES online listserv: send an e-mail message to LISTSERV@LIST.NIH.GOV with the following text in the message body: Subscribe ABILITIES your full (first and last) name
- Questions about NIH ABILITIES? Contact Kathy Mann Koepke, ABILITIES Chair, ABILITIESfirstname.lastname@example.org.
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