Monday, October 27, 2008

HHS Celebrates Contributions to People With Disabilities

HHS today has recognized the significant achievements of five leaders in
science, education, business and entertainment during a ceremony
celebrating National Disability Employment Awareness Month. During the
ceremony, other honorees were also acknowledged for their role in
support of the Administration's commitment for full inclusion in the
workforce for people with disabilities. The honorees have contributed
greatly to advance the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act
(ADA) and President Bush's New Freedom Initiative (NFI).

"Our 2008 award honorees represent models of what all of us, with or
without disabilities, can contribute toward removing barriers that limit
persons with disabilities' ability to participate fully in their
communities," HHS Deputy Secretary Tevi Troy said. "Their contributions
allow us all to build on all efforts that ensure our nation remains a
place of opportunity for all Americans."

Honorees awarded today include the following:

* Dr. Alim Louis Benabid, world renowned pioneering scientist and
mentor in the area of deep brain stimulation that changes the lives of
persons with Parkinson's disease, dystonia and other movement disorders,
received the International Award.
* Dr. Phyllis Magrab, educator, scholar, skilled clinician and
champion for children with disabilities, nationally and internationally,
received the Pioneer for Persons with Disabilities Award. Dr. Magrab is
with the Georgetown University Medical Center.
* Dr. Joseph Rosen, researcher, professor and noted plastic
surgeon who performs facial and body reconstructions at Walter Reed
Medical Center, received the Health/Service Provider for Persons with
Disabilities Award.
* Mr. Kyle Maynard, born with congenital amputation of all four
limbs, a champion wrestler, author, motivational speaker, advocate, and
role model, received the Persons with Disabilities Across the Lifespan
* Ms. Emily P. Kingsley, Emmy(r) award-winning writer for "Sesame
Street" and long-time advocate of kids with special needs, on the
popular children's program and beyond, received the Entertainment
Industry Award.
* Ms. Dora Ricks, HHS employee who instructs, mentors and
motivates young persons with disabilities within HHS to become employed
as productive citizens with disabilities, received the 2008 Certificate
of Appreciation.

Most Americans, regardless of gender, socioeconomic status, race, or
ethnicity will experience a disability at some time during the course of
their lives. Some individuals are born with a disability; others
acquire them through an illness, an injury, genetics, or any number of
other causes. The ADA provides greater equal opportunity protections for
all Americans. The Act allows more Americans with disabilities than ever
before greater assurances of equality of opportunity, full
participation, independent living, and economic self-sufficiency for
Americans with disabilities of all ages.

"The Bush Administration works to provide opportunities for all
Americans, including persons with disabilities," said Margaret Giannini,
M.D., F.A.A.P., director, HHS Office on Disability. "America can be
proud of the progress made toward fulfilling the principles and meeting
the goals of the American Disabilities Act and the New Freedom

"The goals of the New Freedom Initiative are the goals of occupational
therapy -- to enable Americans to live life to its fullest," commented
Penny Moyers Cleveland, president of the American Occupational Therapy
Association. "The NFI charts a vision and provides the means to achieve
the vision of the Americans with Disabilities Act."

The NFI is a public-private effort that eliminates barriers that keep
persons with disabilities from participating fully in community life.
NFI responds to the needs of Americans by promoting the access to
resources, skill development and dignity of full and inclusive

"It is an honor for us to co-sponsor this awards program," said American
Physical Therapy Association (APTA) President R. Scott Ward, P.T., Ph.D.
"People with disabilities face significant challenges that often limit
their ability to have a reasonable level of physical activity. As
experts in the way the human body moves, physical therapists are
dedicated to helping people of all ages and abilities improve their
quality of life through achieving their highest possible level of

During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, HHS recognizes
the talents, skills, and dedication of disabled Americans who are a
vital part of our workforce. With more than 51 million people with
disabilities living in the United States, according to the U.S. Census
Bureau, HHS' 2008 honorees are among those leading our best efforts to
help those with disabilities and their families improve their own
circumstances and take more control over their lives.

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