ADA opens doors for many with disabilities, VR delivers services

By Elizabeth Bishop

Director, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services

July 26, 2014 marked the 24th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  For years people with disabilities struggled to assert their rights and gain independence in their communities.

Their perseverance shined through when President George H.W. Bush signed this landmark legislation into law, proclaiming, “Let the shameful wall of exclusion come tumbling down,” in a ceremony on the south lawn of the White House. 

People with disabilities continue to exhibit the spirit of perseverance and creativity in their everyday lives as they encounter barriers and find ways to overcome them to contribute as productive members of society.

The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, allowing more people with disabilities to enter the workforce and fully use their talents and contribute to the local, state and national economies.

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DHHS Secretary Visits Campbell’s Medical School


By Oonagh McQuarrie, Dunn Daily Record

North Carolina Secretary of Health and Human Services Aldona Wos visited Campbell’s new osteopathic medical school Thursday to speak to Dean John Kauffman about the challenges faced by rural medicine practitioners, and what the state can do to assist Campbell in encouraging more doctors to stay in rural areas.

The school of osteopathic medicine focuses on a holistic approach tohealth care.

“We focus on mind, body and spirit,” Dr. Kauffman said.

Secretary Wos was impressed with the new building, saying her days in medical school were much less aesthetically pleasing.

“I am so impressed. This is such a beautiful facility,” she said.

The secretary went on a tour of the new facility, which includes state-ofthe- art facilities.

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Top 10 - Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)


  1. Equal employment access for qualified disabled people
  2. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforces ADA employment provisions
  3. Protections similar to those established by civil rights laws
  4. Removal of physical barriers in buildings
  5. Access to certain state/local government services
  6. Provides effective communication for Deaf and Hard of Hearing
  7. Universal design changes to curb cuts, ramps; lifts on buses
  8. No discrimination on basis of disability in state and local government services
  9. No discrimination on basis of disability by public accommodation
  10. Defines work and tasks service animals may perform for people with disabilities

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Rural Health is focus of visit by U.S. health policy group


(Left to right) ORHP’s Heather Dimeris and Sahira Rafiullah are led on tour by Benson Area Medical Center CEO William Massengill

The United States Office of Rural Health Policy (ORHP) visited the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Rural Health and Community Care last week.

The Office of Rural Health Policy coordinates activities related to rural health care within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. As part of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), ORHP has department-wide responsibility for analyzing the possible effects of policy on residents of rural communities.

While in North Carolina, ORHP Deputy Director Sahira Rafiullah and Associate Director and Senior Advisor Heather Dimeris visited a variety of collaborating agencies that have been instrumental in linking research, philanthropy, community, and government entities. They also attended a DHHS Initiated Care Steering Committee meeting which is attended by providers from across the state. 

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Heed these tips to prevent overheating this summer



New York Times July 7, 2014

During a heat wave over one week in early June, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 95 heat-related emergency department visits across the state.

Sometimes those heat-related emergencies can be fatal. According to data provided by the department, 43 people died in North Carolina due to exposure to excessive natural heat between 2009 and 2013.

Experts say these deaths can nearly always be averted by taking simple precautions.

Summer heat waves are becoming more frequent and increasingly intense. They put young and old, the physically active and the the sedentary at risk of a heat-related illness and death.

General tips

Prevention starts with preparation. While being properly hydrated is always important, it can be lifesaving in summer heat. The bigger you are, the more time you spend outdoors and the more intensely you exercise, the more you should drink.

• Don’t rely on thirst to tell you how much. A liter or two of water is needed to replace what is lost through sweat and respiration.

• Some salt may also be needed, especially for people exerting themselves. Normally salted food is adequate, but if you sweat heavily or exercise in the heat for prolonged periods, consider a sports drink diluted by half with water (most commercial sports drinks contain too much salt). Do not take salt tablets.

• Before engaging in vigorous activity in hot weather, give yourself a week or more to become acclimated. Start with moderate exercise for short periods, and then build up slowly over eight to 10 days to more strenuous or prolonged activity.

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