Making Strides at Rush University Medical Center


Rush ADA Task Force
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires all public facilities be accessible to people with disabilities. Rush University Medical Center takes this mandate very seriously and has commissioned the Rush ADA Task Force to oversee efforts to make the medical center more accessible. The many Rush programs supporting disability rights in health care consist of the following:
Improved Access and Services
  • Incorporation of universal design into all aspects of Rush Transformation Program
  • Additional accommodations in renovated Rush University lecture halls
  • New emergency notification plan
  • Strategic planning and training for adults with development disabilities
  • Older Adult Program focusing on health and aging
  • Accessible doors at major entrances and other high use locations
  • Redesigned accessible entrances to Professional Building and parking garage
  • Parking and Transport modifications to increase accessibility during construction
  • Reduced rate valet parking for patients and visitors with disabilities
  • More immediate transport assistance and wheelchairs at major entrances
  • New family, disability accessible restrooms in key locations
  • Telephone system throughout medical center with volume controls on all phones
  • Teletypewriters (TTY) throughout the medical center and university
  • Sign language and foreign language interpreter programs for patients and their families, coordinated through Volunteer Services
  • Rush University Disability Assessment Team to assist with accommodations [www.rushu.rush.edu/about/oeo.html]
  • Infrared amplification devices in classrooms of Armour Academic Center
  • Assistance in the cafeteria
  • Incorporation of Patients With Special Needs Program into EPIC Project
  • “Yield” sign at Harrison Street crosswalk
  • Policy on Service Animals for all patients, employees, students, and visitors
  • Special considerations for people with disabilities in the Rush Emergency Preparedness Plan
  • Automatic External Defibrillators [AEDs] positioned throughout the medical center
  • Implementation of Content Management System (CMS), making the Rush Web site more accessible to people with disabilities
  • Driver Rehabilitation Program in the Department of Occupational Therapy
  • Adjustable mammography tables, Hoyer lifts, and other equipment to improve accessibility to health services

Outreach and Education
  • Annual Thonar Award to recognize Rush individuals whose efforts “turn a disability into a possibility,” 1991-present
  • Participation in Chicago Business Leadership Network sponsored by disabilityworks and the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce
  • Collaboration with the Hubbard Street Dance Theatre to help patients with Parkinson’s Disease
  • Collaboration with the IL Disability and Health Partnership to promote improved healthcare for people with disabilities
  • CAN TV show with ADAPT Productions on the Thonar Award and other Rush programs
  • Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters to Marca Bristo, President of Access Living, Past Chair of the National Council on Disability, and Rush Trustee
  • Presentation to National Council on Disability at 2007 Chicago meeting
  • Recognition of the City of Chicago for 15 years of ADA leadership, 2005
  • Participation in City’s Mentoring Programs for Students with Disabilities
  • Promotion of National Disability Employment Awareness Month and Rush Rehabilitation Week
  • Nomination of qualified candidates for external awards, such as the City of Chicago’s August W. Christmann Awards
  • Participation in CDC Breast Cancer Screening Campaign for women with disabilities
  • University effort to identify more student applicants with disabilities
  • Faculty Representative in university and each college to assist students with disabilities
  • Learning disabilities initiatives related to students and employees
  • RCON Symposium on Students With Disabilities: Nursing Education and Practices for officials from U.S. nursing colleges, nursing organizations, regulatory agencies, and disability rights groups www.rushu.rush.edu/nursing/disable/full.doc.pdf]
  • Partner with National Organization of Nurses With Disabilities
  • Participant in City/Chamber of Commerce/Disabilityworks study on the economic impact of employing people with disabilities.
  • Consultant to Illinois Secretary of State’s Office on brochure, “Parking Program for Persons With Disabilities, A Guide for Medical Professionals, for the proper issuance of disability parking placards. [www.cyberdriveillinois.com]
  • Consultant on Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics educational module on the treatment of women with disabilities

Work in Progress
  • Improved signage throughout institution
  • New employee orientation and training and development programs
  • Improved training on use of teletypewriters and Illinois Relay System
  • Listing of relevant disability resources and products on Rush intranet for quick referral
  • Further mammography improvements



In recognition of these and other efforts, Rush has been honored with the U.S. Department of Labor’s EVE [Exemplary Voluntary Efforts] Award and the Henry Betts, MD, Award from the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, and has been cited as “setting the standard of excellence in America” in a major report, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, on the crisis of healthcare for people with disabilities.


If you have questions or concerns, please contact:
Rush Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) Task Force Task Force
Beverly B. Huckman, CHAIR, Associate Vice President for Equal Opportunity, (312) 942-7093

Committee Members
Sarah Ailey, PhD, RN; Karen Batty, MS, RN, ANP; Paula J. Brown, MBA; Tony Burda, RPh; Anne Burgeson; Joe DeVoss, AIA; Sheila Dugan, MD, PT; Robyn Golden, LCSW; Jane Grady, PhD; Lois Halstead, PhD, RN; John Hinko; Paul J. Jones, MD; Robert Leven, PhD; Dianne Meyer, PhD; Angela Moody-Parker, RN, BSN, CNRN; Carlos Olvera; Nipa Pandya, MS; Richard Peach, PhD; Joanne Schupbach, MS, MA; Eugene J-MA Thonar, PhD; Marvel Vena; Eva Wimpffen; James Young, MD