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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 23, 2003

Group Honors University Employees For Work With Disabled People

The University of Iowa Council on Disability Awareness has recognized three UI employees for their work with people with disabilities.

The CDA is holding its 7th Annual Achievement Awards ceremony today, Thursday, Oct. 23, and will honor Maureen McCue, Ph.D., an adjunct assistant professor in International Programs; Tsvetomir Ross-Lazarov, a member of the technical staff with the UI Office of Academic Technologies; and Richard Schmidt, assistant to the dean in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.

The awards ceremony and "Circle of Support" information fair are being held in the Iowa Memorial Union and are cosponsored by the CDA, the Office of the Provost and the Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity (formerly the Office of Affirmative Action).

The CDA Achievement Award Program honors individuals and organizations for their efforts and successes in facilitating the integration and inclusion of people with disabilities in campus life or the community at large. The first award was given to Hancher Auditorium in 1997.

McCue has been credited for her work as the lead advocate and chief organizer of a major international conference, "Global Health Studies Conference 2003: Disabilities in Global Perspective," held at the UI earlier this month.

The conference brought together world-renowned specialists who spoke on a variety of topics, including defining disabilities, disability and gender, ethnic and economic impacts on the lives of people with disabilities, the modern search for genetic perfection and the history of people with disabilities and the effectiveness of disability law and legal issues. The conference's aim was to increase public awareness of disability issues, concerns and needs through a global perspective.

"While the entire Global Health Studies Program Executive Committee, staff and founders participated in the planning of the conference, Dr. McCue has been a leading force in making the dream a reality," one letter of support reads. "She has worked diligently on organizing themes, attracting speakers and coordinating details. She should be commended for overseeing a dynamic conference on this important topic."

Ross-Lazarov was credited for his efforts to enhance the accessibility and usability of web resources and other technologies used by members of the university and surrounding community. Lazarov's work to educate campus webmasters and information technology experts on accessibility and usability and the learning styles of people with physical, cognitive and sensory impairments has led to improvements in technology and resources so they are accessible to all visitors.

"He has been an active participant in the UI Web Access Policy Work Group, helping draft policy language, providing technical assistance and tutorials, conducting workshops, evaluating and testing software and technology and contributing in many other ways," wrote his nominator, clinical law professor Len Sandler.

Schmidt is credited with being a chief influencer of, and primary advocate for, the improvement of university facilities for people with handicaps.

Wrote nominator Mary Jo Young, an administrative assistant in the College of Medicine's Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, "I worked with Richard Schmidt on several projects over the years while in the dean's office. Whether it was planning for a new sidewalk, an elevator in a new building, a ramp in an older one, bathroom locations, signage, or ID card swipes, we could count on Rich to inform us, educate us and encourage us to do the right thing."

She added, "I credit Rich for giving me insight into the things that I so often looked at as being insignificant and helping me open my eyes to what life must be like for those who are less fortunate than me."

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACT: Media: Stephen Pradarelli, 319-384-0007, stephen-pradarelli@uiowa.edu. Writer: Becky DeCourcey.