Celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month at UCSF

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By Cecile Purtetz and Wendy Tobias. UCSF recognizes October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). NDEAM celebrates the valuable contributions of disabled people in our workplaces, communities, and healthcare workforce while acknowledging systemic employment barriers. Wendy Tobias, Chief Accessibility and Inclusion officer, and Cecile Puretz, Assistant Director, Disability Access and Inclusion, compiled a list of resources, news, and events for the UCSF community and beyond. 

Unemployment rates for people with disabilities

The 2022 Bureau of Labor Statistics report on Labor Force Characteristics reveals the unemployment rate for people with a disability, at 7.6 percent, which decreased by 2.5 percentage points from the previous year. Although this progress is encouraging, the unemployment rate for those with a disability was about twice as high as the rate for those without a disability. This report illustrates a consistent trend: across all age groups, individuals with disabilities faced a substantially lower likelihood of being employed compared to those without disabilities. 

News and resources

  1. Mental wellness resources: Explore resources aimed at supporting both employers and employees with workplace mental wellness, and gain an understanding of mental health disabilities in the workplace. 
  1. NIH announcement: After years of advocacy, the National Institutes on Health (NIH) officially recognizes people with disabilities as a health disparities population. This decision is monumental for addressing exponential health equity barriers. NIH is offering funding for research applications on innovative approaches to the intersection of disability, race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status on healthcare access and outcomes. 
  1. Meet Angela Woon: Angela Woon is an IT Communications Analyst at UCSF, an avid runner, and a writer. She shares her story and experience with Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP), a condition that will eventually cause her sight to fully deteriorate.
  1. Accessible event consultation: The Disability Resource Center (DRC) offers on-demand consultations to UCSF event organizers, aimed at creating more accessible experiences for attendees with disabilities at their events. These 30 minute consultations are open to all UCSF staff, faculty, and learners and cover topics such as event accommodation statements, accessible publicity and presentation materials, and more.
  1. Disability 101 training: The Office of Disability Access and Inclusion offers a 1-hour or 1.5-hour Disability 101 Training designed to provide foundational knowledge about disability and accessibility to UCSF Campus and Health learners, staff, and faculty. 


Cecile Puretz
Assistant Director, Disability Access and Inclusion

Wendy Tobias
Chief Accessibility and Inclusion Officer