Disability Awareness 2021

National Disability Employment Awareness Month - Accessibility Matters Now and Always

Message from
the Strategist

National Disability Employment Awareness Month recognizes the vast contributions the Disability Community has made to the workplace. We invite the entire NIH to join us in celebrating this important observance by following our campaign and learning more about how accessibility fosters diversity and inclusion. This year’s theme, Accessibility Matters: Now and Always, holds each of us accountable to our responsibility in creating and maintaining equal access for everyone at the NIH. Each of us can take an active role in cultivating a more inclusive environment for all employees, volunteers, visitors, and others who interact with our beautiful campus, website, and publications. This work begins with a commitment to accessibility.

Steve Ballmer, owner of the LA Clippers, formerly the CEO of Microsoft, offers a great perspective on this:

“Accessible design is good design – it benefits people who don’t have disabilities as well as people who do. Accessibility is all about removing barriers and providing benefits to technology for everyone.”

As we take this time to honor our progress and the People with Disabilities who worked to get us here, my hope is that we continue to grow in our understanding and ability to provide access. Accessibility is not a single destination, but rather a living, ever-evolving ideal that we can continue to improve upon. The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion is counting on you to be part of the ongoing conversation in our journey toward access for all.

Accessibility Matters: How to Have a 508 Mindset.

What is Section 508?

Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act requires federal agencies to make their information and Communications Technology (ICT), such as technology, online training, documentation, and websites, accessible for everyone. Complying with Section 508 means that federal employees with disabilities can fulfill their essential duties on accessible computers, phones, equipment, and other tools. Accessibility is critical to ensure that everyone who works at the NIH has equal access.

Being accessible isn’t just the law, it also ensures that the NIH is inclusive to everyone, including the general public. When we think about Section 508 compliance, we should ultimately consider: how can the NIH be accessible for all?

Who benefits from accessibility?

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Individuals who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing benefit from videos and meetings that provide closed captions and/or an American Sign Language interpreter.

White eye with magnifying glass icon on pink circle

Individuals who are Blind or visually impaired benefit from visual content that is accessible through screen readers or other tools.

White head with question marks icon on green circle

Individuals who have cognitive & neurological disabilities benefit from content that is written in plain language and avoidance of complex navigation mechanisms and page layouts.

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Individuals with physical disabilities benefit from content that provides full keyboard support and both visual and non-visual orientation cues.

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Everyone, regardless of ability, benefits from accessibility. Accessibility allows any user to access content using the widest range of devices and multiple abilities.

NIH Champions and Allies of Disability Awardees

NIH Champions and Allies of Disability Awardees

Awardees head shots are displayed on this image. The awardess are:

  • Dr. Kathy Mann Koepke
  • Dr. Theresa Hayes Cruz
  • Dr. Alison Cernich
  • David Wasserman
  • Lori Stoller-Cruz
  • 7. Ms. Maryann Sofranko

Activities & Events

  • October 2021
    Accessibility Matters

    This year’s theme for National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), Accessibility Now and Always, celebrates the NIH’s commitment to accessibility now and in the future. With the signing of Executive Order 13985, the current administration has made it clear that accessibility is a priority and that everyone is responsible for ensuring the federal government is accessible for People with Disabilities.

    The increase of virtual meetings over the past two years has been especially important in demonstrating why accessibility matters and how we can evolve our strategies to make the workplace more accessible. To spread awareness, you can participate in the Accessibility Matters movement by virtually sharing how accessibility has impacted you.

    Want to join the campaign? Follow the instructions below:

    1. Print or download the "Accessibility Matters" campaign flyer.
    2. Explain how accessibility has impacted you (either at the NIH or in other settings).
    3. Post the flyer on social media using the hashtags #AccessibilityMatters #NIH_NDEAM (you may include an image of yourself holding your flyer).
    4. You can also send it to David.Rice@nih.gov, please send it with the subject line: “Accessibility Flyer — your name, your IC”.
  • 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Event Host: The Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Disability Engagement Committee


    The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is pleased to celebrate October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) as we remain deeply committed to the principles of equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in our research and workplace.

    This year marks the third annual awards ceremony to showcase the theme of Accessibility Matters: Now and Always. This campaign solidifies our commitment to equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility for all.

  • 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

    Event Host: EDI, NINR, and the Clinical Center Nursing Department

    Speaker: Ms. Ryann Mason


    As part of the celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM), the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI), in partnership with the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) and the Clinical Center Nursing Department, will host Ms. Ryann Mason as this year’s keynote speaker.

  • 1:00 PM

    Event Host: EDI, NIEHS

    Speaker: David Rice

    Link forthcoming

    David Rice, Acting Director of the Special Emphasis Program Branch, will give a presentation on Disability Inclusion. He will discuss what the word disability means to the audience and engage in a dialogue to explore the range of definitions. He will also explain some of the laws that have made the most significant impact on the Disability Community and how those laws shaped his life.