Disability Rights and Accessibility Programs

The Rush Office for Equal Opportunity works closely with Human Resources, the University provost, and other key figures across the University and Medical Center to establish programs to achieve a more accessible campus and culture.


The following are among the many programs we have instituted:

Improved access and services

  • Installation of an Induction Looping System into our largest conference room in the Searle Conference Center
  • Rush Universal Design Standards for new Tower that includes over 24 instances of accessibility and service
  • Continued implementation of accessibility audit recommendations
  • Electric doors at major entrances and other high-use locations
  • More parking spaces for people with disabilities and parking garage modifications to improve accessibility
  • Reduced rate valet parking for patients and visitors with disabilities
  • Attendants and wheelchairs in key locations for anyone who needs such assistance
  • More fully accessible restrooms
  • Modifications in elevators, which include installing mirrors to help people using wheelchairs and motorized vehicles
  • New telephone system throughout the Medical Center with volume controls on all phones
  • Teletypewriters (TTY) in key locations throughout the Medical Center and University
  • Sign language and foreign language interpreter programs for patients and their families
  • Sign language classes for Rush employees and students
  • Creation of Rush University Disability Assessment Team
  • Infrared amplification devices in Armour Academic Center classrooms
  • Assistance in the cafeteria
  • The Patients With Special Needs Program (to raise awareness among staff and improve care for patients with disabilities)
  • A policy on service animals for inpatients, outpatients, employees, students and visitors
  • Modifications for the fourth floor Atrium patient information desk to improve accommodations for individuals using wheelchairs or who have have other special needs
  • Implementation of a content management system that makes the Rush website more accessible to people with disabilities
  • Adjustable mammography tables, Hoyer lifts and other special equipment to improve accessibility to health services

Outreach and education

  • The annual Thonar Award to recognize Rush individuals whose efforts turn a disability into a possibility
  • Designated ADA 25 Chicago Program Partner
  • Dedicated Human Resources Consultant to enhance opportunities for people with disabilities and veterans
  • Hosted ADA Employment Forum for the community to encourage the engagement and hiring of people with disabilities
  • Disability Matters Award from Springboard Consultants, for our extensive efforts re processes and programming on behalf of people with disabilities
  • On-line training module for patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities
  • Recognition from the city of Chicago for 15 years of ADA leadership
  • An honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters to Marca Bristo, president of Access Living and past chair of the National Council on Disability
  • Promotion of Disability Awareness Month and Rush Rehabilitation Week
  • Nomination of qualified candidates for external awards, such as the city of Chicago’s August W. Christmann Awards
  • ADA Information Line in Volunteer Services for public and institutional use
  • ADA information and services in Rush publications and on the website
  • A patient services representative to assist with implementation of programs
  • Consultation to Metro Chicago Health Care Services TTY Directory
  • A director for specialized student services in Rush Medical College
  • A Human Resources program to identify more job applicants with disabilities
  • University admissions efforts to identify more student applicants with disabilities
  • New learning disabilities initiatives related to students and employees
  • College of Nursing symposium on Students With Disabilities: Nursing Education and Practices, for officials from U.S. nursing colleges, nursing organizations, regulatory agencies and disability rights groups
  • Acting as a partner of the National Organization of Nurses With Disabilities
  • Serving as a consultant to the Illinois Secretary of State’s Office on brochure Parking Program for Persons With Disabilities: A Guide for Medical Professionals, on the proper issuance of disability parking placards
  • Participation in Chicago’s Annual Mentoring Day for students with disabilities
  • An update of the Rush Emergency Preparedness Plan for people 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

Your input is important to us as we continuously try to improve services. If you have questions or concerns about accessibility at Rush or have a suggestion for improving services for people with disabilities, please contact a member of the Rush ADA Task Force.